What started out as simple plates of meats and cheeses has exploded into full-blown artistry. In the French tradition, charcuterie (pronounced "shahr-ku-tuh-ree") is the art of preparing and assembling cured meats and meat products. The idea became very popular outside of France as curious culinarians added a variety of foods to these boards – cheese, nuts, fruits, olives, crackers and more.

The rise of Pinterest has allowed for an exchange of ideas on countless topics, especially when it comes to food. As charcuterie boards have grown in popularity, they have become the new avocado toast – the trendy food item that people can’t wait to photograph and share online.

According to the Pinterest Predicts 2021 trend report, we haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to charcuterie creativity. “Millennials and Gen Z will think bigger than salami and crackers as the new snack to share,” the report states.

Unconventional versions of charcuterie boards, featuring breakfast foods, candy and desserts, will wow our eyes and our taste buds in 2021. The Pinterest report finds that all of these sweet treats are being searched for more often in relation to charcuterie boards:

  • Breakfast charcuterie boards +5x
  • Candy charcuterie boards +2x
  • Dessert charcuterie boards +3x
  • Fruit charcuterie board +2x

“Gen X Pinners are the foodies on Pinterest, driving the searches behind “Epic charcuterie,” but Millennials and Gen Z will get into the charcuterie creativity with dessert, breakfast and even taco boards,” says Aya Kanai, head of content & creator partnerships, Pinterest. “Since we can't go out to restaurants, when we have small groups of people over, we want to make as big and beautiful a presentation as possible. The charcuterie boards dazzle and bring the beautiful restaurant "spread" right to your home.”

You can offer charcuterie at your bakery or bakery-café to appeal to brunch crowds or those looking for a to-go pickup for a get-together. For instance, Kodiak Cakes, a brand of waffle and pancake mixes, suggests a sweet waffle board with accompaniments such as peanut butter, Nutella, yogurt, assorted fruits, chocolate chips, marshmallows, honey and maple syrup.

Another interesting variation would be a hot chocolate board, with a cup of the beverage in the middle surrounded by marshmallows, chocolates, cookies and wafer straws.

You can even create a theme around your charcuterie, like for Valentine’s Day. Creative charcuterie can give your bakery a stellar reputation among the social media savvy generations who are looking to enjoy the taste of their food and have fun with it at the same time.

Kanai sees more charcuterie featured in foodservice in the coming year, especially with the varieties that can appeal to different tastes.

“Restaurants have always done cheese and meat boards with honey, jams and nuts,” she says. “People love a good spread and presentation, so we anticipate charcuterie boards being popular in restaurants and catering.”