Nothing truly brings me more joy than a beautifully executed charcuterie board. You can literally put whatever you want on it and it call it a day….OR you can completely geek out (like me) and get really into the design of it, flavor combination, and color scheme. (lol) Typically at a restaurant, you’d see these boards with things like cured meats and fancy cheese–but honestly that is just the beginning! There’s so many different things you can do.
First, let’s start with the board…
There are plenty of options when it comes to your charcuterie canvas…most commonly you’ll see a wooden board–but you could also use marble, slate, or even a colorful dish! If you are transporting your board, bringing it to a party or whatnot, a board with handles will be extra nice! (Not to mention, it would also make an EXCELLENT Christmas gift for a foodie friend…hint hint ;) )
Here’s a few that I’d recommend…
Next, lets talk about the main attractions…Meat&Cheese!
A rule of thumb: Match up your meats and cheeses. If you are using three cheeses, use three meats as well!
MEATS: it is important that you have a little something for everyone! I always like to try and balance out different flavors and textures, making sure the different components compliment each other. You simply cannot go wrong with prosciutto…a velvety, melt in your mouth, cured ham. I also like to add something with a punch such as soppressata or capocollo…often times a little spicy, packed with flavor! Lastly, a trusty salami will do the trick to please even the pickiest eaters! ***You can certainly decide to do a vegetarian board as well and ditch the meat completely and substitute with fresh veggies such as carrots, cucumber, and peppers***
CHEESES: Variety is key! When choosing cheeses, I usually pick two hard or semi soft cheeses and one funky cheese. Some ideas for hard/semi soft cheese would be things like parmesan, cheddar, or gouda. Those are all cheeses that will go over well at your dinner party! Being a chef, I love strong flavors. I always like to add on a cheese that may not please everyone but will add a little excitement to the board…examples would be: blue cheese, goat cheese, dill havarti…the list goes on!
And all the rest…
DIPS/SPREADS: You can definitely do sweet or savory here, just depending on what else you’ve picked for the board. Remember to keep a nice balance of flavors! Ideas: hot pepper relish, fig jam, bacon jam, apricot jelly
CRACKERS/BREAD: The easiest thing to do here would be to toast up a baguette. However, you can certainly experiment with different crackers…making sure they are sturdy enough to hold up all your toppings! Some of my faves are: Mary’s gone crackers, Simple Mills, and Breton’s
NUTS: Again, savory or sweet would work great or you could even go basic and just do roasted & salted
FRUITS: A nice fresh element to add… and visually appealing! blueberries, grapes, raspberries, figs…
SOMETHING PICKLED: A nice added bonus to the board! keeps things interesting and pairs nicely with both the savory and sweet items. You can pickle pretty much anything, but my go to’s are cucumbers, carrots, onions, and peppers
GARNISH: Always, Always, Always, add some fresh herbs to your board. It completely elevates your board and makes it look even more put together. Fresh rosemary, sage, basil…
UTENSILS: But what will your pals use to spread the cheese?! Make sure you have a small knife and fork to help pick up ingredients/spread. You can find super cute utensil sets online or at your local boutique shop!
There are SO many different variations when making a board–don’t limit yourself to the basics, get creative and do whatever you want! Hopefully this guide gives you some inspo ;)
Until next time,