How to Make the Perfect Charcuterie Board
Today we're talking all things charcuterie! With this simple template, you'll learn how to make a charcuterie board that will impress all of your guests!
Here at Fed & Fit we love a good meat and cheese board. They're naturally gluten free (as long as you use GF crackers!), a huge crowd-pleaser (there's something for everyone!), they pair great with wine, and a well thought out board is sure to earn you a few fancy hostess points. We know that if you're not sure how to make a charcuterie board it can feel super intimidating. First, you have to navigate the cheese aisle, then you have to try to select the dried meats, fruits, and condiments that pair best together, and then you need to arrange it to make it look good. If you're in the “yep, that's WAY too much work and I'll just put out a veggie tray instead” camp, we've got good news for you – making a killer charcuterie board doesn't have to be complicated! In fact, with just a few rules of thumb, you'll be putting together cheese boards for every occasion like a pro!
The Anatomy of a Charcuterie Board
- The Cheese: AKA the most important part! The cheese possibilities are virtually endless, but you'll want to narrow it down to just 3-4 different kinds for your board. Just pick one from each of these categories:
- Soft: these are going to be your creamy, fresh, spreadable cheeses. Some of our favorites are Brie, Burrata, fresh mozzarella, and fresh goat cheese or chevre.
- Blue: you either love 'em or you hate 'em, but no cheese board is complete without a staple stinky cheese! Our favorite options here are Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton.
- Firm: There are a wide range of cheeses in this category, but a few favorites are Manchego, Parmesan, Swiss, and Gruyere.
- Aged: Gouda, Cheddar (we love a good white Cheddar with salty crystals), and comte.
- The Meats: We recommend choosing 2-3 different types of cured meats for your board to pair with your cheeses. We love prosciutto, capicola, salami, pepperoni, and Spanish chorizo.
- The Crackers: Here you'll want to have two types of crackers on hand – one for the crowd that loves a little extra flavor in their crackers, and one for the crowd that just likes them plain. Simple Mills, Mary's Gone Crackers, and Glutino are all great brands to choose from!
- Fruit: Grapes are a no-brainer for any cheese plate, but any seasonal fruit will work! Here we went for a combination of fresh grapes and seasonal pomegranates. You can also opt for dried fruit like figs, apricots, or cranberries!
- Nuts: Nuts add a great crunch factor to your charcuterie board. Your guests will rave over olive-oil fried Marcona almonds paired with another sweet or spicy glazed nut!
- Something Sweet: Finally, you can round everything out with a few sweet touches. Good quality honey (we used Beeotic honey for a little extra immune-boost!), jams, preserves, or even cranberry sauce around the holidays are all wonderful accompaniments.
- Extras: If you want to make your charcuterie board even more epic, you can add on a few different flavors with some extras! Add something salty like marinated olives or capers, something acidic like grainy mustard or pickles, something savory like marinated red peppers, or even a good-quality dark chocolate.
Assembling Your Cheeseboard
Now that you've got all your ingredients, it's officially go-time! First off, you'll want to grab your favorite cheese board or cutting board and a few knives (we've linked a few of our favorites below!). Next, you'll want to start with the items that will take up the most space first. Start by laying out the meat slices, then the cheese (you can either lay it out pre-sliced or in wedges for your guests to cut themselves), fruit, crackers, and any bowls of condiments. Once you've finished with that, you'll fill in the blank spaces with your extras – nuts, jams, honey, olives, etc, until you have a full cheeseboard. Just cover and refrigerate then pull out when your guests arrive.
We hope you'll enjoy this charcuterie board how-to all holiday-season long!