Whether you’re serving your charcuterie as a snack between meals, the main course for a date night, or an appetizer to guests before dinner, charcuterie boards are truly the Swiss army knife of the food world. Perfect for any occasion!
By following a few pointers, you can make your charcuterie board a real crowd pleaser. Keep in mind these are just guidelines, as there are no rules when it comes to charcuterie. Make it your own and serve what you and your family love.
Tip 1: Find the Right Mix of Meats
Use a variety of cured meats like pepperoni, salami and prosciutto, all of which are familiar to your guests. But don’t be shy about adding more exotic meats like coppa (cured pork shoulder), serrano (Spanish ham), spec (smoked prosciutto), and mocetta (cured beef tenderloin). Choose about 3 or 4 meats for your board.
Rather than buying pre-sliced meat which can be on the thicker side, have your deli slice it thin. It will be easier to present (rolled, folded, etc) on your board, and easier for your guests to pick up each slice.
Tip 2: Choose Your Cheeses
Cheese comes in so many delicious flavors and textures. Choose a mix of soft, spreadable cheeses (brie, camembert, boursin, chevre), semi-hard cheeses (smoked gouda, gruyere, aged cheddar), hard cheeses (parmesan, aged cheddar, manchego, romano, etc) and blue cheeses, if you like them (gorgonzola, stilton, roquefort). Pick your favorite 3-4 cheeses, perhaps one from each type.
Tip 3: Pick your Perfect Pairings
Meats and cheeses pair beautifully with so many savory and sweet items, many of which you already have in your fridge and pantry. Find a blend of dried fruits, fresh fruits, pickled items, and some spreads like honey, mustard or jelly. Find better crackers near the deli and fine cheese case in your market.
- toasted crostini
- thin breadsticks
- marinated olives
- roasted red peppers
- marinated artichoke hearts
- pickled onions
- pickled okra
- pear slices
- apple slices
- nuts (almonds, cashews, macadamias, candied pecans)
- dried fruit of any sort (apricots, pineapple, etc)
- jelly/preserves (red pepper, raspberry, blueberry, etc)
- honey (highly recommend truffle honey)
- assorted dips or spreads
Tip 4: Assembling Your Charcuterie Board
- Spread your meats, cheeses and crackers/bread around the board with some space between each type. Fold or roll the meats so guests don’t have to peel them apart.
- Use small bowls or jars for any dips, spreads, honey or mustard. Include little spoons or knives if needed for serving.
- Use your other pairings to fill in the spaces between the meats, cheeses and breads. Little piles of each are fine, or use small bowls for items like olives that might roll around the board.
- Consider some greens like arugula or sprigs of thyme and rosemary to help fill any gaps and add a pop of color.
Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to include something sweet. A few sweet bites can help round out a charcuterie board and make it feel more like a meal. Dark chocolate broken into bite sized pieces, yogurt covered pretzels, cubes of fudge or small truffles, etc.
PS. Want to take your charcuterie board experience to the next level? Pair your board with our sensational Holtkamp House Wine, an amazing cabernet grown and bottled in Napa Valley.
For a $100 donation to the Holtkamp Family Foundation that supports local nonprofits, you’ll get a bottle of this fine wine presented in a glossy black box with a magnetic enclosure. The perfect gift for friends and family!