The Best Ever Charcuterie Board

This impressive Charcuterie Board is the essence of easy entertaining! Piled high with cured meats, cheeses, crackers, fruit, nuts and more, your guests will be wowed by this gorgeous and delicious spread. My favorite appetizer for a party!

There is no appetizer more impressive than a charcuterie board. Loaded with a variety of cured meats, cheese, nuts, fruit, crackers, and spreads, there is something here for everyone.

What Is Charcuterie?

I first fell in love with charcuterie (pronounced [shar-koo-tuh–ree] boards a few years back when I accidentally made one for a garden party. (pre Covid)The reaction I got to this easy to prepare appetizer was epic to say the least. Charcuterie is the art of preparing cured or smoked meats. Charcuterie boards are essentially meat’s response to a cheese board, and boy are they good.

What is Charcuterie

Charcuterie Boards: Where To Begin?

I like to start with the board choice. Charcuterie boards can be as big or as small as you want them to be. Charcuterie for two is super fun for date night or picnics. When I have really large events, I always create more than one board to ensure my guests have plenty at hand.

You don’t need to buy a special board. Use a wood cutting board, slate board, serving tray, etc. Any flat surface you have will work.

Adding Color and Texture

  • When you are selecting items for your board, make sure to choose some that will “pop” on your board. Bright reds (strawberries, cherries, tomatoes), bright greens (grapes, apple slices, herb garnish), etc. There are too many brown foods out there and if you’re not careful, your board will look bland, not brilliant.
  • Make sure you’re not placing too many like colors directly next to each other. This will help with presentation.
  • The same goes with texture. Variety is key. You want some smooth, shiny surfaces like dates. You want some rough, edgy surfaces like the Triscuit crackers pictured above. Some should look wet or moist like the jams and spreads, and others super dry, like the pistachios and almonds.

Tips for Charcuterie Board Assembly

It may seem like a no-brainer: just toss some meats, cheeses, and crackers on a board and voila! Not so my friends. While charcuterie boards are the essence of easy entertaining, it takes a little thought and strategy to build a charcuterie board that will wow your guests.

Start With Bowls.

Your charcuterie board should include a variety of jams, preserves, mustards, or dips. This could be some of my favorites like fig spread, marionberry habanero pepper jelly, pesto, coarse ground mustard, apricot jam and the list goes on. Give your guests some variety.

Start With Bowls.

Your charcuterie board should include a variety of jams, preserves, mustards, or dips. This could be some of my favorites like fig spread, marionberry habanero pepper jelly, pesto, coarse ground mustard, apricot jam and the list goes on. Give your guests some variety.

Meats and Cheese

After the bowls are in place, I like to add the meats and cheese. Some cheese can be cubed or sliced, some cheese can be added on the board as a wedge. Wedges of brie or blue cheese look really impressive and along with a set of serving knives, guests can really dig in and help themselves. Place larger items like sliced meats and blocks or slices of cheese on the board first.

Salame is a personal favorite of mine  has so many great varieties. All their meats, spices, and ingredients are carefully sourced to enhance the flavor of the high quality meat they start with. And you can tell just by tasting them – so good!

Any cured meat will work on a charcuterie board. I love serving a variety of Columbus® Craft Meats on my boards: Genoa Salame, Italian Dry Salame, Peppered Salame, Prosciutto… lots of variety is a good thing.

Crackers and Bread

You will want to add crackers and/or bread to your charcuterie board. Super important. This is a critical building block when you guests start to layer all the flavors. You want something sturdy and you want a couple different options – think 2 to 4.

think crackers

Fruit & Garnish.

Fill in gaps on your board with fresh and/or dried fruit. There is no wrong answer here. Use fruit that is in season and is easy to pick up. That’s really the only rules. Grapes are an obvious choice as well as pretty much all berries. Apple slices are a nice touch and go particularly well with brie and cheddar.

Dried fruits are easy and accessible year round. I like to go with larger varieties like dates, apricots, plums, etc.

Add some fresh herbs for garnish and you’re done!

4 S’s: Sweet, Savory, Salty, Spicy

Charcuterie boards should generally incorporate sweet, savory, salty, and spicy items for a truly balanced experience. Here are some examples:

  • Sweet. Fruit (fresh and dried): grapes, strawberries, dates, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, figs, etc. Your spreads can also be sweet like the apricot jam, fig spread, jellies, etc.
  • Savory. The cheese and meats take charge here. I like to have at least 3 varieties of each.
  • Salty. Because the meats are cured, they are also salty. Cheese, nuts, and crackers are other sources of salty items.
  • Spicy. You don’t need to go overboard here – maybe one or two items. The orange cheese you see is a habanero mango cheddar. And the dark purple jelly is a marionberry habanero pepper jelly. Just make sure you let your guests know where the heat is on your charcuterie board

What To Serve with Charcuterie Boards

Pairing meats and cheeses with wine is always a good choice.

About Me

From a very you age food has been part of everyday life. Even today I try to discover new ingredients, tastes and ways of cooking.

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