The charcuterie board is a classic appetizer cuisine. But it requires more than just slapping some meats and cheeses on a cutting board. Making charcuterie boards that are appealing to sight, smell, and taste is truly an art. They make such a great idea for any entertaining situation or special occasions.
Part of the appeal of charcuterie boards is how seemingly simple it is to make. It does not require any complicated recipes or the mixing of countless ingredients. Yet, while it may be easy to make an okay charcuterie board, Carnivore Club is dedicated to helping you create great boards that express a variety of flavors and textures and help your guests express their creativity. Here are some great starter charcuterie board ideas!
Six Essentials to Elevate Your Board:
- Include an assortment of flavors to add variety and ensure that every guest finds something they enjoy. Make sure to include salty, spicy, savory, and sweet elements. Flavor variety is important when assembling cured meats, cheeses, etc. Consider the flavor variety you can get from adding things like smoked gouda, brie cheese, or a jalapeño summer sausage.
- Keep things interesting by embracing diverse textures. Think crunchy, smooth, crisp, and creamy. For example, goat cheese or cream cheese make for great soft cheeses to switch up the texture variety. Play around with soft cheese, spreadable cheese, and corse cheese textures by adding some blue cheese into the mix!
- Do not overlook the appearance of the board. Look for ingredients that will add pops of color like reds, greens, or purples. The last thing you want is a dull board of all brown items. Consider the color pops that dried fruits or fresh fruits could add.
- Put a label next to everything so people know what they are eating. Including names can also spur conversations between guests about which cheeses or meats they liked the most.
- Every item needs its own serving utensil so that flavors do not mix haphazardly. Do not make guests use the same serving spoon for multiple spreads!
- Décor. Add a small decorative touch. Sprigs of fresh herbs can bring a more natural element, or twinkle lights can brighten the table and draw attention to your board.
Presentation is everything with a perfect charcuterie board. The last thing you want to do is cram everything on a tiny board and have all of your flavors mix, while food falls off onto the table. Use as many boards as you need to comfortably fit everything. Mix and match boards of different sizes and shapes. It adds personality. If you want to be really unique you can even combine boards of different materials or colors.
With a few simple tips, you can make your presentation clean and polished rather than scattered and sloppy. Presentation is a vital part of creating the best charcuterie board. First, serve spreads in small bowls or dishes rather than their plastic containers. Make your guests wonder if you made it yourself. Nothing ruins an impressive charcuterie board like the cheap packaging and eye-catching labels of store-bought spreads.
Incorporate accents. This is the step most often overlooked when making the perfect charcuterie board set. Your board should not only be sliced meats, cheeses, spreads, and crackers. Add accent foods to add more depth to your flavors. Pickled vegetables like green olives or marinated olives add a wonderful pickled flavor. Raw nuts like almonds, pistachios, and peanuts add a much needed crunch. Dried fruit or fresh fruit such as grapes can add sweetness. You can also venture into the dessert charcuterie!
With these simple tips and some attention to detail, you can turn an okay charcuterie board into an epic charcuterie board. Remember to play around with flavor and texture combinations, incorporate pops of color, and add accent foods on your first charcuterie board. These guidelines are designed to help you get creative when designing your next charcuterie boards.
Learn more about how charcuterie around the world varies from the types of cured meats and types of spreads.
For help selecting specific cured meat and cheese combinations for your cheese platter, see our article on charcuterie meats, cheeses, and crackers here.