Breaking news! Charcuterie boards can be used for more than just the starting course at your party. In fact, they can be the center of your whole celebration.
The great thing about charcuterie boards is that they can please just about anyone, and your guests can create all sorts of combinations to keep their experience enjoyable. Plus, you won't have to turn on the stove if cooking isn't one of your strongest skills.
While putting together a charcuterie board may seem overwhelming at first, it's actually pretty simple and enjoyable. That's why we have put together all sorts of tips to create the ultimate charcuterie board that is perfect for your party.
What You Need
- Serving board
- Wine glasses
- Spoons and knives
- Small plates (optional, charcuterie is typically served without plates)
What Goes On A Charcuterie Platter?
Charcuterie boards are platters that have all sorts of meats and cheeses, along with other accoutrements arranged in a variety of ways. How you put your platter together is totally up to you! Follow some of our suggestions to help you get some meat and cheese tray ideas.
Meats & Cheeses
When it comes to charcuterie board meats and cheeses, you'll want to hit three notes:
Add a unique look to your meats and cheeses by cutting them into different shapes such as triangles or cubes. Also, vary their thickness so your guests have options and can fully enjoy every bite. Change up the style of your charcuterie platters by arranging slices horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or a combination of all. If you're using a circular platter, set up your meats and cheeses in a clockwise direction from mild to bold. With a rectangular or square board, align mild to bold meats and cheeses from left to right.
Be sure you have options available for everyone. Don't be afraid to have plain meats on your plate, these types of meats are perfect for guests who are unfamiliar with cured meats. If you're not quite sure what types of meats and cheeses you plan to serve, visit a specialty grocery store where they'll allow you to sample meats and cheeses so you can see which pairings you like best. You can also ask your guests what they prefer beforehand to prevent any food from going untouched.
Here's a great cheese board idea - add nuts! Nuts offer a great contrast to the texture and taste of your cheeses. These are some of the most commonly used nuts:
- Pistachios complement the texture of creamy cheeses
- Almonds and walnuts add flavor to aged cheeses
- Pecans add sweetness to salty cheeses
You can place bowls of nuts on or near your charcuterie board, or use them to fill in the gaps between meats and cheeses.
Like meats and cheeses, you should also have different types of jams available for your guests. Jams add flavor and sweetness to balance out the dry and salty meats and cheeses.
Place jams in the center of your cheese board so that all of your guests have access to them. Also, add a small spoon or knife alongside your jams for guests to easily add a dollop of sweetness.
While the main attraction of a charcuterie board and cheese platter should be the meats and cheeses it is always smart to include fresh fruit to add a refreshing flavor to the salty and to change up the experience. Keep in mind that the types of fruits you select should not only complement your meats and cheeses but also match the aesthetic and color scheme you are going for.
You can confine fruit to a certain section of the board or have them beautifully spread out. It's up to you!
Pickled vegetables, such as onions, pickles, olives, or jalapeños can be easily paired with bold meats to add a tangy layer of flavor. They can be paired easily with bold meats to spice up the flavors.
Like jams, brined items can go in the center of the platter, but you can also have them just outside the platter if their containers are too big.
Bread & Crackers
While your guests can get along perfectly well without crackers or sliced baguette, bread and crackers can be great for pairing a variety of ingredients and can serve as vessels to make things less messy.
Since they'll most likely be the first thing your guests pick up, bread and crackers go best along the edges of the board.
Wine & Beer
Depending on how formal your event is, wine or beer are typically served as the refreshments to charcuterie and cheese. Pairing the right wine and beer with meat and cheese can enhance your overall tasting experience. An easy way to make sure you're correctly pairing these items is by pairing bold-flavored meats and cheeses with bold-flavored drinks and mild-flavored meats and cheeses with mild-flavored drinks.
Before You Dig In...
Before guests begin to dig in, take a minute to explain each type of snack and beverage you've laid out. A general rundown of each cheese, meat, and accoutrements will take a little bit of the guesswork out of making selections. Your guests will love figuring out which flavors and combinations they like best.
One of the best parts about having a charcuterie board party is that everyone will inevitably end up discussing their favorite combos. Simple conversations like these are the most relaxing and best parts about having a party centered around charcuterie and cheese, so enjoy!