Charcuterie Boards are so fun to put together, here’s our best tips and tricks.
How to Make a Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie Boards aka cheese boards are the perfect no fuss party appetizer. They are so easy to put together for a party at your house, or to bring to a party, family gathering, picnic or barbecue anytime throughout the year. They are so fun to make and there are so many different combinations to make it fun, it’s all a matter of choices. You might be wondering how to put a charcuterie board together and we have some great tips and tricks to make it beautiful.
What is a Charcuterie?
First, let’s talk about just how to pronounce the word Charcuterie? It’s pronounced: (shahr-cute-uh-ree).
Charcuterie is the art of preparing cured or smoked meats such as salami, ham and bacon. It’s a french word that also means delicatessen. These days we are seeing charcuterie boards everywhere even on menus at restaurants, they are typically called or seen as appetizer platters. A typical charcuterie board is an assortment of meats paired with an assortment of cheeses, fruits, crackers, berries and even sauces or dips. If you want to put together a charcuterie board for your next party there are a few basics to understand first, from identifying the most popular charcuterie options, to what makes a beautiful charcuterie board.
How to prepare a Charcuterie Board?
The first thing you need to create these gorgeous delicious platters is a board. The board can be any type of board from a simple piece of sealed wood to a meat and cheese board or a round wood serving dish similar to the one we used. We really like more of a tray to keep things contained like a run away berry. You can purchase these anywhere from TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Amazon, Target and Walmart.
As you start to think about your charcuterie board think about colors, textures and pairings that complement each other. Remember, we tend to eat with our eyes first so make it vibrant and appealing. The use of blueberries, raspberries, grapes, different nuts and veggies as well as cheeses and meats in varying colors and sizes makes for a very pretty platter. You can also add some crackers, pretzels and dips or sauces. You want to make sure that your pairings compliment each other; for example, pair salami with a rich and creamy smooth cheese, compliment spicy meats with sweet fruits. The basic goal while creating your charcuterie board is to create contrast. Don’t be afraid to pile it on, you can use measuring cups to contain smaller things like nuts and olives. The goal is to make sure that the board looks full and colorful.
What should I include on my charcuterie board and how much?
Portion sizing is important because you want to make sure that you have enough for all your friends and family. Here is a general breakdown of portion sizes for your cheese board:
Cheese: When planning your board, start with the cheeses. The cheese can sometimes be the most expensive, so selecting the kind of cheese to add can help you decide what to spend less on in the other categories. You’ll need about 1-2oz of cheese per person. Be sure to include both hard and soft cheeses ranging from mellow to sharp. Pre-sliced cheese is very easy to serve and makes a great grab and go option for feeding a crowd.
Meat: About 3-4 slices of meat per person would be a good place to start when making your board. You want to be sure to include a variety of meats like salami, prosciutto and even a pretty pile of ham. You can choose to use one type of meat per board or include a variety. You don’t need to add it all at once, just replenish it throughout the party.
Fruits & Nuts: This is where you can add color to your board. You can use fresh or dried fruits in varying colors and also provide lots of flavor as well. You can serve the nuts with or without the shells. You can serve and portion these in measuring cups. When it comes to smaller things like berries, nuts or seeds, we like using measuring cups to help keep them contained and grouped together.
Breads and Crackers: This is another area where variety matters. Things like pretzels, buttery crackers and even thin sliced breads like a toasted baguette are all fun to add.
Pickles, Olives and Dips: Adding pickles and olives adds to the variety of flavors offered on a charcuterie board. They can be served in little bowls or measuring cups as well to add another dimension to your board, Dips are a great way to introduce another level of flavor that pairs well with your other options.
Leafy and Green: It helps visually to add a little leafy green to your cheese board. It’s almost like a decorative garnish. Something like a few sage leaves can add a little color.
Remember there is no right or wrong way to put a charcuterie board together. Just have fun and make your board vibrant, visually appetizing and make sure that the pairings complement each other. Enjoy the creative process of making your next cheese board!