Preparing charcuterie boards is an art form that almost every foodie can appreciate. First off, what is a charcuterie board? It’s basically an appetizer platter filled with cured meats, cheeses, olives, mustards, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or if you’ve never made one before, no need to worry because we’ve got some great charcuterie board ideas and tips to help you out.
It may look difficult but trust us, it’s one of the easiest and most impressive dishes you can serve at your upcoming party or gathering. And even if there’s no party it can be an easy and simple dinner when you don’t feel like cooking.
9 Great Charcuterie Board Ideas to Make Yours the Best Yet!
1. Give Guests a Lot of Options
While cheese, meats, and grapes are the staples of any good charcuterie platter, there’s nothing wrong with pushing the envelope a bit. Honestly, the sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can put on your board.
Here’s a list of suggestions that La Jolla Mom shared regarding options and charcuterie board ideas you can try out for future charcuterie platters:
- pickled onions
- nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.)
- dried fruits
Again, the options are limitless and only make things more enticing for your guests to experiment with. Just remember, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated, it just has to be delicious.
2. Keep It Bite-Sized
Even with all those options, it’s generally a good idea to keep your selections bite-sized. Imagine having to gnaw on a huge chunk of meat or cheese while still trying to converse with other guests. Not a good look, right?
As much as possible, do your best to keep your selections properly portioned. This way, your guests can keep their options, and plates open, with easy-to-grab items they can munch on over glasses of wine while mingling with others. Plus, it would be a shame to miss out on all the great meat and cheese board options because you got full on your first round.
3. Choose Savory and Sweet
A lot of charcuterie trays are meats and cheese and sadly, not much more. If you’ve never experimented with mixing some sweet elements into your charcuterie board ideas, you’re totally missing out!
I’ll never forget the first time I tried the combination of blue cheese and honey, absolutely mind-blowing. Jams, dried fruits and even seasonal fresh fruit can work wonders to give your guests different accents to your board. Not only that, these options can help refresh one’s palate after consuming lots of salty, fatty, and rich flavors.
4. Purchase the Right Amount
Cured meats aren’t cheap, so you don’t want to overbuy. According to Wine Country Table, the recommended amount to purchase is 2-3 ounces per person per meet for an appetizer portion or 5-6 ounces per person if it’s a cocktail reception. Like my mother always told me before throwing a function at our house, “it’s always better to have leftovers than to not have enough”.
On the bright side, even if there are a lot of leftovers you won’t have to worry too much about spoilage due to the higher salt content in the meats. Most cured meats can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks, especially if unsliced. So just be sure to get them in the chiller as soon as you can. For cheese, a good estimate is about 1 ounce per cheese per person.
5. Homemade Goodness
While most of the items we’ve mentioned so far can be purchased at your local grocery store, don’t underestimate the impact of homemade dishes for your charcuterie board ideas. Whether it be hummus made from scratch or honey-roasted peanuts fresh from your oven, this is a chance to show off your culinary skills.
This Pork Rilletes With Cherry Compote recipe is simple to prepare and is perfect for wine pairing. Don’t forget to serve it with crusty bread and crackers and garnish with cherry syrup.
6. Fill the Empty Spaces
There’s just a different aesthetic and feeling that comes over me when I see a tightly-packed charcuterie board of meats and cheeses. Also, less empty spaces means there’s more goodies that people can eat. However, it doesn’t mean you have to unnecessarily overload your board with food.
This is where some arugula or some microgreens can come in hand and help you let out your artistic side a bit. Not only can it be used to fill up negative space on your board but it adds a nice pop of color to the overall presentation.
7. Cut the Cheese but Roll the Meat
As much as possible, you want to make serving as easy as you can for your guests. For the harder cheeses, such as cheddar, gouda, parmesan, cut them in half or quarters and spread them around your charcuterie board. For the softer cheeses, like brie, feta, gorgonzola, keep them whole and let your guests do the cutting to preserve freshness.
When it comes to the meats, it’s much easier to grab them when rolled up rather than trying to peel them off each other in a staggered layer. Also, try to keep your meat cuts generally the same size. It keeps the presentation of your board neat and makes sure everyone gets a fair taste of the selections.
8. Don’t Forget the Drinks!
More specifically, beer and wine pairings. The right glass of wine or beer can take your meat and cheese selections to a whole new level. According to Steele House Kitchen, here’s a list of suggestions to plan for your next charcuterie and cheese board.
- White wines: Pinot Blanc, Alsace Riseling, Champagne
- Red wines: Cotes-du-Rhone, Barbera, Cru Beaujolais, Syrah/Shiraz
- Beer: Saison, Farmhouse, Pale Ale, Czech or Bohemian Pilsner, Vienna Lager
- Whiskey Cocktails: Boulevardier, Old Fashioned, Whisky Sour with Red Wine Syrup
9. Slice Meats Cold and Not Too Far in Advance
Cured meats are much easier to slice cold than at room temperature. You can slice your meats 1-2 hours in advance and cover them with saran wrap to chill in the refrigerator. Remove them 15-20 minutes before your guests arrive to allow them to get back to room temperature, which will accentuate their flavors.
And there you have it, hopefully we’ve armed you with some tips and ideas to make your next charcuterie the best ever! Remember, these are just suggested charcuterie board ideas, so trust your palate and keep experimenting until you find your very own perfect charcuterie board set-up.
What are some of your favorite charcuterie board recipes to serve? Did we miss any important tips? Tell us in the comment section below!
- Red, White or Rose;Which Wine Should You Choose?
- How To Make Cheese Course | All About Goat Cheese
- Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
Don’t forget to keep in touch, foodies! You can also WRITE FOR US and share your delectable recipes!