Creating the Perfect Charcuterie Board
By Emily Comos
If you’ve never heard of a charcuterie board before, it’s possibly the simplest yet most elegant appetizer you can serve to impress your friends and family when hosting a dinner party. It’s nothing more than a compilation of your favorite meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts and other small snacks. Whether this is your first attempt at creating a charcuterie board or your 100th, here are some helpful tips for making this beautiful and delicious appetizer.
The first step to creating the perfect board is your selection of the serving tray. The best type of tray to use it typically something simple, like wood or marble, because it really helps allow the bright colors of the meats/fruits to pop on their own. Often times, you can find serving trays that come with matching serving utensils like forks and knives which really help to elevate your board altogether.
The next addition to the board is your selection of meats. You want to include a variety of both thinly pre-sliced meats like prosciutto and mortadella, as well as cured meats you’ll slice on your own like hard salami and smoked sausage. There should be enough space in between all the different meats so that you room to fill the board with the other items and make sure it’s evenly balanced between textures and flavors.
You can then choose the different cheeses you want to include. Just like meats, you should include different consistencies and types of cheeses, such as spreadable versus block cheese you can slice. Some spreadable cheeses that work well on boards are brie and herbed goat cheese. Sharper block cheeses like parmesan and gruyere compliment those softer cheeses as well. The best charcuterie boards have a wide variety of the same elements, so don’t be afraid to get crazy and include 3-5 cheeses. More is better!
Once you have the cheese and meat on the board, it’s time to fill in the holes with accents. Some popular accents include small fruits such as blueberries, grapes and apples. Other accents you can include are olives and mixed nuts like walnuts or pecans for sweetness. Another accent to consider is sauces/dips such as hummus, stone ground mustard and fruit jams. The whole point of this board is to promote mixing and matching of different items that people may have not tried before so get creative and watch the awesome combinations people come up with.
Lastly, you can’t forget to place some sort of bread or cracker on the board for everyone to try the meat and cheeses with. A rustic baguette can provide a more filling look to a larger board, but if you have the entire thing already pretty jam-packed you may want to stick with a variety of different crackers and skew them around the different items.