Categories: Food & Drink

How To Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board For Your Next Holiday Party

Making the perfect charcuterie board is much easier than you might think because it literally requires zero cooking skills. So, if you aren’t exactly a master chef in the kitchen and you consider making boxed mac and cheese an accomplishment, this is the ideal dish to prepare for your next holiday party! You can make these dishes as small or as large as you’d like, and you can get really creative with the presentation too!

This is obviously not a foolproof recipe, but a guide to getting you started with your masterpiece. I’ve laid out some steps and tips below!

1. Begin By Gathering Your Ingredients

A long-time friend of mine has created some beautiful, mouth-watering charcuterie boards so naturally, I just had to get her input. She says that when choosing your ingredients to keep these things mind:

  • Cheeses – Include a variety of cheeses (hard and soft) such as provolone, fresh mozzarella, fontina, gorgonzola, parmesan or asiago, brie, goat cheese, and aged cheddar.
  • Nuts – Include a variety of nuts such as almonds, cashews, and pistachios ( Make certain that nobody at the party has a nut allergy!)
  • Fruit– Add a variety of fruits but be mindful of the season. For a holiday party in the Winter, you’ll be safe with adding citrus fruits such as grapefruit, oranges and tangerines. Berries, figs, grapes, and kiwis also add a nice assortment to the collection. Pomegranate is one of my favorites!
  • Dried Fruit– Don’t forget your dried fruits! Dried fruits such as apricots, mango, dried lemons and oranges, dried figs and dates add a nice sweetness to your board too!
  • Veggies – Vegetables like carrot sticks, celery sticks and cucumbers are quite popular. Some other fun options are artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, and roasted garlic if you want to go for a more Mediterranean theme.
  • Crackers– Pretty much any cracker will do but keep in mind, variety is key. Try to use a combination of flaky buttery crackers, grain crackers, herbed crackers, pretzels, and bread twists!
  • Meats– Most charcuterie boards include several cured meats. Your meats could include salami, prosciutto, sliced and rolled up deli ham, and pepperoni.
  • Olives – My favorite olives for a cheese board are kalamata olives (try to get them pitted if you can). Black and green olives are a great addition as well because they add a bit more color.
  • Hummus and Other Dips– You could put your dips in some of the small bowls across your board OR you could spread your dip out directly onto the board! One of my favorite kind of dips is actually a kalamata olive spread. You can find a delightful kalamata olive spread recipe here! It pairs wonderfully with crackers or bread!

2. Arrange Your Board

You can use an old cutting board, a large serving platter, or even a large round drink tray to create your delicious work of art. Start by placing ramekins, or small bowls, around your board. Those will be used for your nuts, olives, fruits, dips, etc. Space them out nicely and evenly on your board. As you do this, you’ll be making almost a blue-print of where all of your other food items will go. The goal is to fill in your entire board!

3. Add Your Cheeses

Place your cheeses around your board. Use large wedges of cheese or blocks. Some cheeses might be cubed, and you can place a toothpick in them for easy and neat access. Fan out any sliced cheeses you have to take up space on your board. Again, try to space your items out evenly. This is how you create that nice, full aesthetic. The cheese, like your bowls, will act as an anchor that you’ll place everything else around.

4. Add Your Meats

Charcuterie is actually the French term that is used for cold cooked meats. Some people say to go with the same number of meats as you did for your cheeses. So, if you have three different kinds of cheese, you would also have three different types of meat to accompany each cheese. Just like with your cheese, your meats will continue to fill in the board by being placed around your bowls and cheeses. Fan out any slices of meats in order to take up more space!

5. Add Your Crackers

You’re going to need a vehicle for your meats and cheeses. Add your crackers, while being mindful of your spacing. Fresh sliced bread or pita bread might also be a nice addition to your collection. Some people get really into this project and make home-made crackers. I, on the other hand, go for store-bought. A great cracker that pairs well with everything is Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Crackers.  

6. Add Your Fruits And Veggies

You can place your fruits and veggies in a small bowl, like your dips, or you can place them directly onto your board. My friend will literally slice a pomegranate in half and place them ever so carefully on her board (as shown in the image below).

See Also

7. Fill In Your Board With Nuts And/Or Dried Fruits

Finish up by filling in any empty spaces with nuts or dried fruit! 

8. Other Yummy Additions

Below is a list of some other accompaniments that you might play around with when putting your board together. Notice that with any charcuterie board that you make, there will be a variety of tastes (sweet, salty, and savory) as well as a variety of textures. Also, keep in mind the season that you’re making your board in!

  • Dark Chocolate pieces
  • Pickles
  • Seeds
  • Homemade Dips
  • Jelly/Jams
  • Honey
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Sliced Melon
  • Decorative Pumpkins (depending on the season)
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves
  • Pirouette Cookies
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette and Olive Oil
  • Edible Flowers
  • Dried Rosemary and other herbs for decoration

Just Remember…

The awesome thing about charcuterie boards is that the possibilities are endless. You can create boards around different cultures or themes, like the hot chocolate charcuterie board (as shown below). Charcuterie boards may also be a fun way to use up any food that you’ve been meaning to eat up. Amp up your board a bit more by pairing it with some wine (if you’re of age of course)! Bon appetit! 

Have some great charcuterie board tips to share? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BNNIjILl68XefqOJViAdePF0Tbm-Fjye3O9voA0/
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Victoria Diamond

VICTORIA IS A CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENT EARNING HER MASTER'S DEGREE IN JOURNALISM AT EMERSON COLLEGE IN BOSTON, MA. SHE LOVES TRAVEL, FOOD, ANIMALS, DANCE, ART, AND MUSIC! WHEN VICTORIA ISN'T STUDYING OR WORKING IN THE CITY, YOU CAN FIND HER HOME ON CAPE COD ENJOYING TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

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