Chacuterie Board

How to Create a Charcuterie Board | Everything you want to know about Charcuterie Boards

charcuterie board

What is a Charcuterie Board? More than likely you have seen or been served from one at some point. They are becoming more and more popular. A charcuterie board is seen on menus pretty much everywhere these days. What was once thought of as a plate of appetizers, a Sampler platter, or a cheese and sausage tray is now being raised to a new level and used as the center of entertaining and dining.

The History of Charcuterie Boards

Let’s start with how to pronounce charcuterie {shahr-koo-tuh-ree}. These fancy platters are not a new thing. They have been around for hundreds of years. Charcuterie is rooted in the belief that nothing should be wasted.

Whether you can pronounce it or not, assembling one is the perfect way to easily enjoy a variety of nibbles with your family and friends. A charcuterie board is a perfect addition to any romantic night at home, a fun evening with family and friends, or a must for any romantic staycation.

Charcuterie Boards
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What is a Charcuterie Board?

I was first introduced to charcuterie boards years ago when a customer came into Pier 1, where I was the assistant manager, and asked if we had any of the boards. We did but I wasn’t aware of what they were used for. That night I went home and started doing some searching. I was sold and loved the idea. I realized I had also put together many of these boards at different times without even being aware of what they were called or the fact there was an art to it.

A typical charcuterie board consists of mainly meat and cheese. But it is common for most charcuterie boards now a day to consist of a variety of finger foods, meats, cheeses, nuts, fruits, pickles, olives, crackers, and dips. Yet this is only limited to your creativity.

This is all about preference. Making sure what you are putting on your board pairs well. By using a variety of meats and cheeses it is easy to assemble many additional items that will all compliment each other.

The combination and variety of flavors, textures, and colors create a beautiful display. Almost a work of art. While at the same time this easy to assemble meal can be budget-friendly and will definitely cause your taste buds to water.

A charcuterie board can be any size you choose, small for a personal romantic night at home. Medium size for an intimate evening with another couple or even extra-large for that family gathering.

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Charcuterie Board

How to Prepare a Charcuterie Board

It is easy to prepare a charcuterie board. You are going to want to start by finding a beautiful food grade board. Keep in mind you don’t need to buy anything special. You can use a cutting board, a slate board, a serving tray, or even a marble board. You have so many choices, again it is only limited to your imagination.

You can find one to go with any occasion and can get as creative as you want when it comes to using something for the board. Even just a simple platter or charger will work. You can find a lot of great options, here are just a few we found. Click on the pictures to see the information.

Everything you need to fill your board can be found at your local grocer or deli. I find the deli is a great place to start. Many of the items you want can be bought in small amounts through the deli. It is also a good way to use up a lot of those little extras you already have.

Keep these things in mind when choosing the ingredients for your board.

Start by choosing your meats and cheese.

Any cured meat will work on a charcuterie board ~ prosciutto, salami, summer sausage, landjaeger, or any other meats you prefer. You will want a nice variety.

On one of our recent road trips, we discovered Nueskes Smoked Meats and fell in love with their products. You can order their products online. Check out our adventure Nueskes ~ Unexpected Pleasure.

Choose your cheese by color and texture, you will want them to compliment your meats. Yet it is okay to have some stand-alone cheese that are cut into cubes or wedges. Blue cheese or cream cheeses can be served in individual dishes with serving knives. I love to include mozzarella balls on my boards.

You will want to add a combination of crackers and mini slices of bread. This sounds like a minor part of your board but it plays an important role in allowing your guests to nibble. Again think textures and flavors. Making sure what you choose is sturdy and not flimsy.

Add a few vegetables into the mix, baby carrots, red or yellow pepper slices, and tiny broccoli florets. This gives my tray a nice start with color.

You are also going to want to add a variety of fruits. These can be fresh or dried. For fresh fruit use self-contained fruits like strawberries, grapes, or blueberries. For dry fruit think dates, apricots, or raisins.

You will also want nuts, think savory, sweet, or spicy. Again the nuts will add an additional element to your board.

To make your board complete you will want small dishes of sauces, dips, jellies, pickles or olives. This will add a little zing and excitement to your board.

Chacuterie Board

Assembling your Charcuterie Board

When it comes time to assemble your charcuterie board, I find it easiest to do all of my prep work first. Wash the board and the small bowls you will be using. I recently picked up a bunch of small white bowls that came in different shapes. They make the perfect contrast for my board. Any small dipping dishes will work great. Think of different shapes and sizes. Now let’s get to the fun part!

  • Wash any of your fruits and vegetables and either put them in little bowls or set them aside for later placement.
  • Decide what sauces, dips, pickles, or olives you will be using and put them into the bowls.
  • Start by placing any bowls you will be using onto your charcuterie board.
  • Add the meats and cheeses onto the board next. The meat can be rolled, folded, or standing up to give your board depth.
  • Use crackers and slices of bread to fill in any of the larger open spots. Use creative ways to place them on the board. You want the board to be fun.
  • Now start filling in the empty spots with the vegetables and then the fruit. Being sure to use the fruits and vegetables in ways to randomly add color to the board.
  • Finally fill in any leftover spots with nuts, sprigs of herbs, and even mini bites of chocolate, cupcakes, or cheesecake stuffed strawberries.

Now step back and admire your work of art. No two will ever be the same. Each personalized for the event and the company. Yet each one more satisfying than the last.

Uncork the Wine

Don’t forget to check out our blog post about Door Peninsula Winery.

One last thing to make things complete. The best pairing for a Charcuterie Board is a glass of wine. Most wines will go well with your board. A sparkling wine that’s chilled is a good choice. The little sweetness balances well with the salty on the board. But you can never go wrong with a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet or a Merlot. Enjoy!

Gary and Michelle

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  1. Ryan Rockmeyer says:

    I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a charcuterie board for entertaining. Thank you for posting this!

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