When entertaining guests, one of our favorite dishes to feature is a charcuterie board. A charcuterie board is more than just cheese and crackers - it's an art and a science. Here are our simple tips to assemble them.
Charcuterie boards are incredibly versatile; you can mix and match colors, flavors, and textures. Before you begin building your charcuterie board, consider a few questions:
- Do you want to feature food from a specific region of the world or do you want to mix and match flavors from around the globe?
- - Do you have any guests with dietary restrictions?
- Do you have access to all of the items you want to feature or will you have to shop at a specialty grocer?
What to Include on a Charcuterie Board
#1 Select a Serving Board
When choosing a blank canvas for your culinary masterpiece, choose a large, flat, wooden surface such as a large cutting board or butcher block. Consider additional surfaces if separating cured meats for any Vegetarian or Vegan guests.
#2 Fill Your Serving Board
Fill your charcuterie board with the following items:
Tip: If you have specific elements you want to showcase on your charcuterie board, set them on the board or butcher block first and build around them. For instance, if you want to feature cheese blocks, dips, homemade hummus, olives, and spreads, splace them on separate plates or small bowls so they stand out above the other accent pieces.
- - Something Pre-Sliced. These elements bring savory, salty goodness to the charcuterie board. Think of things like cured meats.
- - Something You Slice. Cheeses and hard meats all add a chewy texture to your charcuterie board.
- - Something Spreadable. Meat-based pates, or a vegetarian equivalent, all provide a richness and a smoothness to guest's palates.
- - Accents. After the main foods have been featured, add some accent pieces like bean or veggie-based spreads, breads, crackers, fruit, homemade spreads, hummus, jams, mustard dips, pickles, preserves, seasonal items, and soft cheeses. These all add a pop of color and various types of nutritional value to your charcuterie board.
#3 Select Perfect Pairings
If you are looking to add a specific flavor or texture to your charcuterie board, try these charcuterie board pairings:
To Add Creaminess:
- Bean Dips
To Add Saltiness:
To Add Spiciness:
To Add Sweetness
- Seasonal Fruit
To Add Tanginess
To Pair With Cheese or Meats:
#4 Make Mindful Selections
Depending on your guest list, you may want to consider more mindful selections for your charcuterie board to please all palettes and dietary restrictions alike. Today, more dairy-free and meat-free meat options are available than ever before.
- - Vegan Cheeses. Since some people can be sensitive to dairy and traditional cheeses, include a Vegan cheese on your charcuterie board. Vegan cheeses come in three major consistencies- hard, spreadable and soft, so be sure to include at least one on your charcuterie board.
- - Grass Fed Meats. When selecting meats for your charcuterie board, look for grass fed options. Animals living with higher standards of welfare are known to be healthier, so stick with meat products that are free of antibiotics and other artificial fillers or preservatives.
- - Meatless Meats. For all of your Vegetarian and Vegan guests, include a variety of meatless meats. From deli slices to sausages, there are many animal-free ready-to-eat meats available today, so look for options made from plant-based options like beans, beets, chickpeas, mushrooms, and olives.
- - Natural Sweeteners. Sweeten your charcuterie board smartly with natural sweeteners like 100% pure organic maple syrup, dates and raw honey. If entertaining Vegan guests, be sure to select a bee-free honey.
#5 Create Labels - Optional
Add small labels or tags with descriptions of each food item, where it comes from and any important dietary information.
The next time you host a formal dinner or a casual gathering, build a one of a kind charcuterie board that everyone will enjoy by using these tips.
Tag us @simplemills so we can see your own homemade charcuterie boards.