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Creating Irresistible Charcuterie & Cheese Boards

We love charcuterie and cheese boards for so many reasons. First, you can make them as simple or as elaborate as you like. Secondly, they are the perfect party food because everyone can just pick and choose what tickles their fancy, and thirdly, it allows us to get creative with food. Really, what’s not to like? You can create one to fit every budget and aesthetic.

Learn How to Make Exceptional Charcuterie & Cheese Boards

Top down image of a charcuterie and cheese board.
Image credit JeniFoto via Shutterstock.

Are you eager to recreate those mouthwatering charcuterie and cheese boards flooding your social media feeds? Look no further! We are here to show you how to curate visually stunning and palate-pleasing boards. Whether you’re hosting a soirée or indulging in a cozy night in, our tips ensure there’s something for everyone at the table.

The Essentials

Charcuterie-and-Cheese-board-on-coffee-table.
Photo credit: Dédé Wilson from FODMAP Everyday®.

Let’s delve into the heart of the matter – what constitutes a quintessential charcuterie and cheese board? Traditionally, charcuterie encompasses an array of cured meats, while cheese adds a creamy, indulgent touch. However, our approach embraces versatility, allowing for a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Charcuterie Selection

Assorted charcuterie in a pile.
Image credit Rawpixel.com via Shutterstock.

When selecting charcuterie items for your board, consider traditional favorites like prosciutto, salami, and mortadella. Remember, the focus is on quality over quantity, so choose a few well-curated selections to tantalize taste buds without overwhelming.

We often like to consider texture and choose a soft item, like prosciutto, and then a hard salami as well, such as genoa. You could also add pâté, which also come in ultra-smooth as well as coarse textures.

Cheese Assortment

Assorted cheeses.
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Ah, cheese – for many this is the crown jewel of the offerings. Look to firm varieties like cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Swiss, alongside softer options like brie and camembert. If you have a specialty cheese shop near you, or a market with a great cheese section, don’t be afraid to be bold.

Soft Cheese, Hard Cheese, Cow’s Milk, Chevre and More!

Cheeses, wine and fruit. Marble round board.
Image credit Anna_Pustynnikova via Shutterstock.

Sometimes we like to offer a little bit of everything, from hard cheeses, semisoft and soft, to various dairy sources, like a cow’s milk cheese, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk.

Or, you could do a comparative goat’s cheese tasting from fresh soft goat cheese, to aged, hard goat cheese. We have also had success highlighting regions. For instance, you could have a board focusing on the foods of Italy or get even more specific and choose cheeses of the Loire valley, or of the small artisanal producers in the United States! So many possibilities.

Accompaniments and Add-Ons

Honey drizzled on cheese.
Image credit NatalyaBond via Shutterstock.

Elevate your board with an array of tantalizing accompaniments and add-ons. From tangy olives and pickles, to zesty mustards, honey and fruit jams, the choices are endless. Don’t forget to incorporate fresh herbs, dried fruits, and nuts for a symphony of flavors, textures and colors that captivate the senses. Any of these can be purchased, or you can continue to DIY and make marinated mushrooms, or a cheese ball.

Bread & Crackers 

Stack of French baguettes.
Image credit Philippe Ramakers via Shutterstock.

We are very fond of thinly sliced French baguette with many of our cheeses, but don’t overlook the amazing array of crackers and cracker-like offerings, such as breadsticks. We like to include something neutral, like the slices of French bread or a very simple cracker, and we also like to include something more complex, such as an olive oil rosemary cracker, or similar. You could even make tiny cheese crackers.

Crafting the Perfect Presentation

Pate on a board.
Image credit Natalia Van Doninck via Shutterstock.

Now that you’ve curated an exquisite selection of charcuterie, cheese, and accompaniments, it’s time to turn your attention to presentation. Aesthetics play a pivotal role in enhancing this dining experience, so embrace creativity and attention to detail.

Choosing the Right Board

People enjoying a cheese board.
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Select a large wooden board, or even a silver or ceramic platter as the canvas for your culinary masterpiece. Make sure you have ample space to showcase your offerings, ensuring an abundant and visually appealing spread. Consider incorporating smaller boards or dishes to accommodate a diverse selection of ingredients. Small wooden bowls or ceramic ramekins work wonderfully. 

Small spoons, forks, and toothpicks (either disposable or decorative) are welcome. We like these, which are sort of half fork, half toothpick; very versatile.

Arranging with Flair

cheese, fruit and nuts.
Image credit New Africa via Shutterstock.

There really is no wrong way to arrange your ingredients. Looking at the images here and at other photos on social media will offer inspiration, but there’s no need to stress about it.

Start by placing larger items like meats and cheeses strategically, then fill in gaps with smaller accompaniments. We are fond of asymmetry and abundance but use your own creativity and aesthetic to guide you.

Serving and Enjoying

wine and cheese party.
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A charcuterie and cheese board is best enjoyed at room temperature; the cheeses and meats will be at their best, as cold temperatures mute their flavors and texture. Do not underestimate the amount of time it can take cheese to come to room temperature. There is a huge difference on the palate between a cool ripe brie, and one that is at room temperature and the perfect runny texture.

Provide small plates, napkins, and utensils and encourage guests to explore and savor each component. Pair with a selection of wines or non-alcoholic beverages to elevate the tasting experience further.

The Takeaway

Cheese board and wine at water's edge.
Image credit nblx via Shutterstock.

The best charcuterie and cheese boards begin at the market with your selection of ingredients, and in your imagination. Think about color and texture, as well as perhaps the type of dairy milk used to make the cheese, or the origin of the item. Remember, the idea of a charcuterie and cheese board is for it to be fun to make and present; let your creativity soar! It’s a great opportunity to try new foods.

The Best Tasting Hot Dogs Across America: From All Beef To Vegan Options

Couple enjoying a hot dog.
Image credit oneinchpunch via Shutterstock.

Few foods stand out amongst the American culinary landscape quite like the hot dog. From the bustling boroughs of New York City to the windy streets of Chicago, and out to the sunny shores of California, hot dogs have secured their place as a beloved staple, gracing cookouts, backyards, ball games, and dining tables nationwide. Let’s look at the regional variations that define the best tasting hot dogs in America – including some vegan picks, for those so inclined. Read: The Best Tasting Hot Dogs Across America: From All Beef To Vegan Options

Author

  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

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