Tips for Putting Together A Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie boards are all the rage right now—and for good reason.
They allow you to customize your hors d’oeuvres with minimal cooking and maximum impact. Ideal for a snack, appetizer or full meal, the perfect charcuterie board offers up much more than a choice between Gouda and goat, which means there’s something for everyone!
Ready to take your charcuterie game to the next level? Follow these tips to create an impressive board for any occasion.
WHAT ARE THE BEST CHEESES FOR A CHARCUTERIE BOARD?
You don’t have to be a cheese connoisseur to choose the best ones for your charcuterie board. A varied selection of colors, textures and flavors is the best way to offer something that everyone will enjoy.
While it isn’t necessary to serve every type of cheese, ideally, you should aim to have one choice from each of the following:
- Firm: Gruyère, Manchego, cheddar or Colby
- Aged: Parmesan, Asiago or aged Gouda
- Semisoft: mozzarella, Havarti or Muenster
- Spreadable: goat, port wine cheddar or burrata
HOW DO I CHOOSE WHICH MEATS TO ADD?
While cheese is certainly hearty, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Give the people what they want and beef up your charcuterie board—literally—with a selection of cured meats!
The trick? Keep it simple. Pick up a variety pack of salami or some prosciutto from your local market and add it to your charcuterie board.
You can even buck the “meat and cheese only” idea for more satisfying options. Intermix some warm finger foods such as crostini with homemade fig jam, baked olives or stuffed mushrooms for some hearty variety.
WHAT ELSE CAN I PUT ON MY CHARCUTERIE BOARD?
Select Something Sweet
There’s something about the savory creaminess of cheese that just pairs so well with the juiciness of fresh fruit.
Whether it’s a bunch of crisp grapes, a bowl of ripe berries or the tangy, stickiness of dried apricot, you really can’t go wrong adding some fresh fruit to your charcuterie board.
If you’re looking for something with a little more “oomph,” opt for syrups, dips, and fruit jams to complement the cheeses’ flavors and textures. You can even sprinkle some chocolate chips, candied nuts or shaved coconut around your charcuterie board for a little extra sweetness.
Pair It with Pickles
You could create an infinite number of charcuterie boards with pickled items alone, as there are so many varieties to choose from.
Dill pickles and cornichons are a popular choice for that more traditional pickle flavor. You can also pickle your own vegetables, like peppers or onions, for a surprising tang and crunch.
Make It Seasonal
The beauty of charcuterie boards is that you can dress them up however you wish—and there’s nothing that screams “host with the most” like a charcuterie board that’s been dressed up to match the season!
Roast some chickpeas and scatter some seasonal snacks, like pomegranate seeds and dates. Decorate with some mini pumpkins for fall or intersperse some rosemary for a wintry feel.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE YOUR CHARCUTERIE BOARD
There are plenty of options for presenting your charcuterie board.
The most obvious choice is to use, well, a charcuterie board! These come in a variety of materials, from marble to wood and even slate. The best part? The natural elements of these serving platters can elevate your charcuterie board and make it feel more elegant.
In a pinch, use a few large plates or platters—this option is great for entertaining as you can place them around the room for easy access.
For a casual but decadent display, consider creating a countertop or tabletop spread. Cover the surface with clean butcher paper, then display the food items in an aesthetically pleasing way. Use cake stands and cloches, appetizer plates and bowls to add levels and interest. And don’t forget the cheese knives!
The easiest way to build your charcuterie board is to start with the largest items. Put out large blocks of cheese and bigger bowls. Then, fill in the smaller spaces with crackers, bread, rolled meats and salami slices. Place small bowls, nuts, and other items in the remaining nooks. If you still have empty space, fill it with fresh, green herbs such as rosemary and thyme.
Keep these tips in mind for your next soirée. Whether you’re hosting a fancy dinner party or a movie and wine night with a few close friends, nothing can top a beautiful charcuterie board.
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