When talking about holiday entertaining or just gathering with friends throughout the year, hosts have used the trend of having charcuterie boards on their tables. Charcuterie boards are commonly loaded with sliced cheese, fruits, olives, nuts, crackers, dips/jellies and sometimes veggies. Really, there is no fixed and fast rule about what to include. Part of the fun is coming up with your own creation!
Let us show you a few samples of what to put on your board. Use your creativity in making your first charcuterie board!
What Is A Charcuterie Board?
A charcuterie board is the art of preparing and assembling cheese, crackers, and other products on a beautiful wood slab. They are absolutely delectable, both for the eyes and taste buds. Charcuterie displays range from small to large, and are often arranged enthusiastically – that's why charcuterie is so very Instagram-worthy!
The technique in creating the best charcuterie board is finding the perfect mix of various textures and tastes which will, of course, depend on the preferences of your guests. You don't have to be artistically inclined to make a memorable one, just one that you know they will thoroughly enjoy. Start with a beautiful board or platter. Any serving board you have is fine, even a cutting board will suffice! You can also look for charcuterie boards in your local grocery store. Boards come in various materials, shapes, and sizes.
Next, pick small bowls to hold jams, spreads, olives, nuts, and other small food items. Place them in the middle of the board or in-between your chosen foods. Your other items will be laid out around them. Serving utensils are a must as well. You can use specialized serving forks and knives or use your typical butter knives and salad forks to complete the setup.
What We Suggest Putting On A Charcuterie Board
Choosing the ingredients to put on your charcuterie board might appear daunting, but it doesn't need to be that way. It can actually be quite fun! A perfect charcuterie board is an eye-catching appetizer, snack, and main dish if you incorporate enough assortments. It's one of the most preferred ways to indulge and amuse since it's hassle-free and pretty easy to conform to many different appetites and diets.
Take a look at our list to have a couple of impressive charcuterie board ideas for your next get-together with friends or reunion with your family. And yes, vegetarians and vegans can enjoy these suggestions too!
- Fresh or Dried Fruit: Fresh fruit goes well with salty snacks. Choose fresh fruits like grapes, fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries), cherries, and figs. Add dried fruits like dried apricots.
- Sweet spreads: Apricot jam, fig butter, blackberry jam, orange marmalade, or other spreads such as our cranberry orange and vodka jelly, balsamic onion jam, or spicy ice wine jelly are huge hits and pair well with anything.
- Chocolate: a few pieces of quality dark chocolate, chocolate-covered nuts or chocolate candies make great additions.
- Nuts: Candied nuts, candied pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts are always safe choices.
Pickles & Preserves
The acidity of pickles is acceptable amongst the plethora of cheese. Likewise, preserves add an incredible punch to the board and blend well with any ingredients. Get creative with marinated olives, sweet gherkins, gingery carrots, dill pickles, or artichoke hearts.
As far as picking out the best cheeses for your cheese platter, choose cheeses that deliver a variety of textures and flavours. There are also delicious vegan cheese selections available. Whether you slice or cube the cheese, it’s entirely up to you. Here are some popular options:
- Aged cheddar, gruyere or Grana Padano
- Hard cheeses such as chunks of parmesan, smoked gouda, asiago, manchego, romano
- Creamy or spreadable cheeses like brie, cottage cheese, or even cream cheese for crackers
- Crumbly cheeses like feta or goat cheese
- Soft cheeses such as burrata, mascarpone, ricotta, chevre, pepper jack, or gorgonzola
Vegan cheese is typically made from plant-based ingredients like soybeans, peas, cashews, coconut, or almonds. Popular ones include vegan cheddar, gouda, parmesan, mozzarella, and cream cheese and can be purchased at nearly any local grocery store now.
You should opt for both soft and crisp combinations like sliced baguettes and a few varieties of crackers, most of which should be vegan-friendly. Try offering the following along with your bread:
- Golden rounds
- Pita crackers
- Water crackers
- Rice crackers
Spreads and dips are a great way to touch up your board. Some of the most hand-picked dips to compliment your presentation include:
- Olive tapenade
- Cheese Dip (cream cheese, feta, basil, and sweet peppers).
Additional Charcuterie Board Tips
- Don't pressure yourself. Start by making a small board first. You can also start with parchment paper laid on your table to help plan your arrangement before placing it on the board.
- Add Colour and Texture. Use a mixture of textures since variety is delightful to the eye and the palate. Be sure to select vivid colours on your board, like bright red and green.
- Experiment with contrasting flavours. Surprisingly, pickles and cheese go great together!
- Accommodate dietary restrictions by asking your friends and family if they’re vegetarian or vegan.
- Finishing touches will change everything like olive oil and fresh herbs.
- Choose seasonal fruits and veggies for the best results from your local market.
Now that you (hopefully) have some ideas on what to include on your charcuterie board, you can begin experimenting with those ingredients. Practise placing them in visually delectable ways. When you are pleased with your charcuterie plate, share it with your family while you celebrate the holidays or just a friendly gathering. Paring your charcuterie board with some wine won’t hurt either! Eat up and enjoy!