I love putting together unique and tasty charcuterie boards when friends and family come over. In my opinion, there is no appetizer more impressive and with so many nibbles to choose from, there is usually something everyone can enjoy. While there is no perfect formula, I want to walk you through the process I use to make a charcuterie board that usually impresses my guests! Bonus…there is no cooking involved in making these beautiful works of art!
Get On Board
You’ll first need to determine how many guests you are serving and then determine the size board you will need. There are SO many options for shape and size and chances are you already have a cutting board or tray you can use. For large gatherings (OK, someday there will be large gatherings again!), I like a HUGE board so I can really pack on the goods. For a smaller crowd, this cherry wood cutting board etched with a favorite family recipe is so unique! When you scan in your recipe card on their site, the exact ingredients and instructions are captured in your loved one’s handwriting. This would be a great gift for yourself or a foodie friend.
Make sure you have some small ramekins or bowls on hand to “accessorize” your board. These are perfect for nuts, jams, dips, pickles and olives. I just purchased these cute Christmas tree ramekins and I also have plain ones in various sizes. You will also need a coordinating set of cheese knives.
Time to Shop
This is the fun part! For a traditional charcuterie board, use a variety of savory and sweet options, and pops of color and texture.
- Cheese- I recommend a mix of soft cheeses (like brie, blue cheese, or burrata) and hard cheeses (like Dubliner, manchego, or gouda). Use some that have a more bold flavor and some that are mild.
- Meats- varieties of salami (spicy, peppered, there are many!), pate, prosciutto, mortadella, and other cured meats
- Fruit- thinly sliced apples, figs, apricots, black berries, raspberries, grapes, tomatoes, melon, strawberries, mango—whatever is in season
- Veggies- carrots, celery, bell peppers, sweet peppers, cucumber, artichoke hearts
- Crunch- crackers, crusty bread, mixed nuts, pickles, truffle popcorn, pita chips, veggie chips
- Dips- hummus, tzatziki, dill dip, honey, fig jam, spicy mustards
- Something Sweet– dark chocolate squares, caramels, yogurt covered pretzels, gummy bears, shortbread cookies, licorice
- Garnish- rosemary sprigs, cranberries, chives, thyme, small flowers, mint and other fresh herbs
With the exception of the cheese blocks, try to keep your food items bite sized and easy to grab. Start by placing your bowls and ramekins on the board and fill them up with spreads, dips, pickles, olives and nuts. Now add your cheese blocks, leaving room for the cheese knifes, then add sliced and/or cubed cheeses. Next, add the meats by stacking, fanning, or rolling. You can make salami “flowers” by pinching the center and bringing the sides upward. Place crackers and bread around the perimeter and then sprinkle in your other items. Try not too place similarly colored items too close together. There really is no science to it, just be creative and think about the presentation. Fill in all the nooks and crannies so it looks full and delicious! Finally, add your garnish and Voilà!
Not So Boring Boards
I recently started following @AintToProudToMeg and she is an amazing resource for board inspo! She takes the charcuterie board NEXT LEVEL with her breakfast boards and dessert boards. Check out her amazing creations at ainttooproudtomeg.com and on Instagram. I’m especially fond of her Avocado Toast board and her Movie Night candy board. She also shares lots of holiday themed boards for special occasions.
Breakfast Board Ideas
Try a breakfast board of oatmeal with toppings, pancake or waffle board, bagel board with cream cheeses, locks, capers, onion and all the fixings.
Dessert Board Ideas
Desert boards are great for sharing. Try a gummy candy color themed board, smores board, or plain cupcakes with lots of fun toppings–this is a great one for kids.
Do you have any unique items you like to include on your charcuterie boards? Do share your ideas with us in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by!