Whenever I’m hosting a gathering, I typically put together a charcuterie board for my guests. It’s an easy, festive centerpiece for a table, and perfect for snacking on while chatting with friends and family. If you’re doing any entertaining this holiday season, I highly recommend creating one of your own. Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve used when assembling my charcuterie boards.
- Buy what YOU like to eat. Chances are, you’re going to have some leftovers after assembling your board. Therefore, I usually buy ingredients based on my personal preferences. Don’t like olives? Swap them out for cornichons (those tiny, sweet cocktail pickles). Personally, I love creamy, soft cheeses, so I usually stick to Brie and Goat cheese, along with a block of Sharp Cheddar or Manchego for variety. You will never find Gouda on one of my boards… (Sorry Gouda lovers!)
- Use a serving tray instead of a board. This is crucial if you’re going to be transporting your charcuterie. I’ve made numerous boards to take to parties, only to have half the ingredients slipping and sliding off the board by the time I got to my destination. The tray also allows you to create a nice, full look by piling things up like nuts and berries, without them falling off.
- Line your tray with parchment, wax, or kraft paper before assembling your ingredients. This will help to protect your serving tray or board and make cleanup a little easier. Certain berries can stain wood surfaces, and the meats and cheeses tend to leave behind a greasy residue. If you're assembling your charcuterie exactly where you plan to enjoy it, you don't need a tray or board at all! Just roll out a bit of kraft paper and assemble your ingredients right on the table.
- Have a variety of small bowls handy. If you think you might be entertaining any guests with nut allergies, it’s best to keep any nuts quarantined to a bowl versus mixed in with everything else. I’ll also use a bowl to incorporate some fruit preserves or jam. (My favorite is fig jam - it is delicious with some goat cheese and prosciutto!)
- Start by placing the larger items, like blocks of cheese and bowls, and work your way down to the smallest items, like nuts and dried fruits. The photo above shows an exact progression of how I assemble my charcuterie boards. Also, don't be afraid to rearrange things as you go!
- Don't forget serving utensils. Cheese knives, cocktail picks, tongs, and small serving spoons will allow guests to enjoy your creation, and it can also be a great way to add some bling to your board. Check out this Pinterest Board for a few beautiful options.
- Try to incorporate every color of the rainbow. I've provided a list of ingredient options categorized by color at the bottom of this blog post. You can use this chart to easily make sure you have at least one item in each column. Don't be afraid to get creative with it! I often find myself raiding the fridge or the pantry for last minute ingredients to add some extra color.
Keep in mind that charcuterie boards aren't just for parties. One of our favorite easy, inexpensive date nights is to open a bottle of wine, assemble a quick charcuterie board, and enjoy it by a fire in the Solo Stove. If I do have to make a really large charcuterie board for something, we often use any leftover ingredients to make pizzas in our Ooni Pizza Oven, so nothing goes to waste. Not in the mood for pizza? You could make "adult lunchables" a reality and assemble yourself some snack packs for the week. Garnish your lunchable with a little sprig of fresh mint or rosemary if you're feeling fancy, and bon appétit!
Ingredients List by Color
|Red||Orange||Yellow||Green||Blue / Violet|
|Cured Meats||Cheeses||Cheeses||Green Olives||Blueberries / Blackberries|
|Cherry / Grape Tomatoes||Carrots||Crackers, Mini Toasts||Cocktail Pickles||Dried Berries|
|Strawberries||Dried / Fresh Orange Slices||Nuts||Fresh Herb Garnishes||Fruit Preserves or Jam|
|Raspberries||Dried Apricots||Yellow Raisins||Cucumbers||Red Grapes|
|Pomegranate||Mini Bell Peppers||Grainy Mustard||Green Grapes||Figs|
|Sundried Tomatoes||Cherry / Grape Tomatoes||Mini Bell Peppers||Celery||Purple Carrots|
|Red Apple Slices||Raw Honeycomb||Pineapple||Green Apple Slices||Sausage|