What is Charcuterie?
Charcuterie is a display of cured meats. It has gained popularity in recent times and now includes meats, cheeses, and accompaniments that pair well with meats and cheeses such as fruit, olives, nuts, spreads, etc). When people think of charcuterie boards, they are essentially referring to a cheeseboard.
tools for Making a Cheese Board:
You don’t need fancy equipment to make a gorgeous spread. You can even serve them directly off a clean kitchen counter. Here are some tools that make displaying and serving easier.
- A serving board – a rimmed board (Try Home Goods, Target, or any fine retailer) helps contain everything but any cutting board, rimmed baking sheet, or serving platter will work.
- Serving utensils – you can use specialty cheese serving knives and forks or use normal salad forks and butter knives to serve.
- Ramekins – or any small dishes work well for messy or moist items like jam, honey, olives, pickles, etc.
What to Put on a Charcuterie Board:
To make the best Cheeseboard, focus on 3 things: variety, taste, texture. Variety makes a great board – add items that are sweet, salty, crunchy, fatty, savory, carb-rich, pickled, and brined. See the full list of items and quantities that we used in the print-friendly recipe below.
The Best Cheese for a Charcuterie Board
We highly recommend a combination of cheeses ranging from creamy spreadable cheese to hard cheeses. These are our favorites.
- Spreadable Cheese– “Triple Cream Cheese” is super creamy. Some great options include Saint Andre (Trader Joes) or De Bourgogne (Costco). These are perfect for spreading on toasts and crackers. Less expensive options include making herb-flavored cream cheese, or you could even make a Cheese Ball.
- Soft Cheese – My favorite for a cheeseboard is Brie. It is mild in flavor, creamy, and wonderful served with honey, walnuts or pecans, and water crackers. Flavored goat cheese such as blueberry or cranberry goat cheese is great for the holidays. Another inexpensive option would be marinated mozzarella balls.
- Hard Cheeses – One of the most popular picks for a cheeseboard is Manchego because it pairs really well with fruit, crackers, and cured meats. It’s mild, nutty, and pleasant. A less expensive and very tasty option is a Vermont white cheddar which I love to dice for added texture on my board.
How to Build a Charcuterie Board
To make a charcuterie board, arrange things so they are easy to grab – fan out the slices of cheese, cut grapes into small segments.
- Cheeses. Arrange them around the board. Pre-slice hard cheeses and cut a few wedges into the brie.
- Meats. Fold them in a variety of patterns. Watch the video to see how to fold meat for a cheeseboard.
- Pickled Items. Add items that require a dish so you can gauge your space.
- Condiments and Spreads. Place condiments near cheeses that pair well. (i.e. honey next to brie). Keep condiments in jars and ramekins.
- Fresh Fruit. Cut grapes into small portions and pre-slice apples, rinse and pat dry berries. Arrange fruit with cheeses they pair well with (see notes below).
- Nuts and Extras. Place pecans or walnuts and pistachios next to brie or soft cheeses. Also, add chocolate squares.
- Arrange crackers and toasts in remaining spaces or serve them in a separate platter.
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