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Are you wondering how to make a charcuterie board? I remember when I couldn’t even pronounce charcuterie! Turns out – my mom has been making these epic boards since long before charcuterie was cool. They’re super easy to put together, always pleasing to the eye, and you may already have most of what it takes to put together one of these appetizer boards!
What is a charcuterie board?
A charcuterie board is a board or plate of different small bites that guests or family can take and create a plate of their favorites. Famous in tapas bars and across the globe for years, they’ve really only become super popular here in recent years. Even when I first started out entertaining I was technically making charcuterie boards. I did what my mom always did. Little did I know – I already knew how to make a charcuterie board! Gathered some of our favorite cheeses, meats, fruits, and nuts and put them together on a pretty plate. Always a hit and always empty by the end of the evening. Technically, a charcuterie board is named for a “pork” board. It’s traditionally an appetizer where cured meats and cheese are served. Nowadays, charcuterie is an art form – and wait for it – not limited to use an an appetizer!
What to use for your charcuterie board:
I’m sure you’ve seen the beautiful boards that people use for charcuterie. However; you don’t necessarily have to have a large array of boards to put together something amazing. Before I put together a mass collection of all different boards (it’s an addiction), I often used a pretty china plate from my grandmother. Feel free to use any vessel you like! Cutting boards, platters, glass dishes, serving plates, wooden trays. Whatever you like!
What foods make up a charcuterie board?
I’m not someone who will tell you that you can only include meats and cheese, but they are the base for a traditional charcuterie. Here’s what to include:
- Sorrano Ham
Make sure that you ask the deli to slice prosciutto paper thin. Choose a mild and a spicy salami to provide more of a range of taste. Present some of your meats sliced and some as “logs”.
Using one type of cheese no matter if it’s hard, soft, crumbly, or aged would make for a boring charcuterie. Here are my favorites:
- Goat Cheese
There are so many different types of cheese you can add. For instance, during the holidays I often use a cranberry covered goat cheese. In the spring I’ll still use goat cheese but it may be covered in dill. Stick with what is fresh and in season and you can’t go wrong!
I’ve never put together a charcuterie without nuts. Generally, I use a combination of salted almonds, pecans, walnuts, and cashews. Cashews and blue cheese together has always been a favorite as well as walnuts with cheddar. The combinations are endless, really. Another surprising treat I like to add to my boards are dark chocolate covered almonds.
Fruits – dried & fresh
There are standards that I go with for fruit – and they are seasonal. In the fall and winter I always add fresh figs to my board. Red seedless grapes are also a go-to for me during the holiday season because I enjoy the color. Dried apple chips are a really interesting addition to a fall board. To follow are some addtional ideas to add to your board to add a sweet bite:
- Fig & Meyer Lemon Spread
- Fruit Jam
- Dried Apricots
- Green grapes
- Sliced honeycrisp apples (they don’t brown)!
- Sliced pears
- Cherries – fresh or dried
Try this recipe for a prosciutto and fig appetizer that would make a lovely addition to your charcuterie board!
Crackers & Bread
Personally, I like to add at least a couple of different crackers and one bread. Crusty french bread sliced for schmearing with jams or tapanade, a whole wheat cracker, and a thin rice or rosemary flavored cracker. Bread sticks are also a lovely addition to your board.
- Olive tapanade
- Mini gherkin pickles
- Small bowl of homemade dip
You don’t need to stick with a traditional charcuterie! Experiment!
For instance, I’ve made the following “charcuterie boards” which are far from traditional:
- Halloween Candy
- I built a board around a gingerbread haunted house last year. Kids were able to just grab all sorts of candy – it was a big hit! You don’t even need to get that fancy – just artfully place candy around any board you have – festive, right?
- Breakfast Charcuterie
- Perfect for weekend guests – and kids love it!
- Themed Boards
- Take the idea of a charcuterie and use it to make a board that goes with ANY theme! I’ve done this with chili, nachos, hamburgers…..
Call it charcuterie – call it a food board – call it whatever you like! Bring some of your favorite tastes together and make it your own!