Charcuterie Board 101

Dec 26, 2021, 11:00:00 AM

Transport yourself on a trip across the world with these Charcuterie Board basics. Your creation will have your guests screaming “Brie mine” as soon as you place it on the table. The diversity of cheeses, meats, spreads and more will take your taste buds on a glorious ride of creating the perfect bite. Not only will it be the essential photo op to swoon over once it’s all gone, it will inspire your friends and family to challenge themselves with reinventing their own version for your future tasting pleasures.

First things first, cheese.

Your cheese choices are the foundation to the perfect charcuterie board. We recommend challenging yourself with as many cheeses as you desire, but at minimum 3-4 kinds will give you the combination to start things off right. Taking one from each of these categories will hit the cheese palette necessities:

  • Firm
    • Your choice of firm cheeses can potentially be the most overwhelming with the variety we offer, but also the most recognizable to most cheese lovers. Providing your guests with something familiar is the base for the cheese portion of your board.
    • A few favorites that will please all cheese lovers are Parmesan, Manchego, Swiss or Gruyere.
  • Soft
    • Soft cheeses will be the fresh, creamy and easily spreadable types. Easy to eat on a cracker or bread, these types prevent the prolonged effort of slicing while everyone else waits their turn.
    • Select from crowd favorites like Brie, Fresh Mozzarella or Burrata, or change things up with Goat Cheese or Chevre for a tangy flavor.
  • Blue
    • Regardless if you love stinky cheese or not, the blue cheese family is a charcuterie board staple.
    • For the blue cheese lovers, we recommend Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Stilton.
  • Aged
    • The final category we recommend are of the aged and matured variety. The ripening of these cheeses in controlled conditions allows for a texture and flavor that stands apart from the others.
    • We recommend the classics like Gouda, Comte, and White Cheddar.

Next up, meat.

Cured meats are an addition you can’t leave out. Nothing compares to the pairing of a delicious meat and cheese, a favorite across all ages. To ensure you hit the mark on pairings, include at least 2-3 different types of cured meats.

  • Popular choices are Prosciutto, Salami, Capicola, Pepperoni and Chorizo.

Insert Carbs Here.

While the cheese and meats are the star of the show, nothing completes the perfect bite without the crunch of a cracker or fullness of a bread. Gluten free individuals included, crackers lay a foundation for the perfect stack of charcuterie ingredients. We recommend hitting a few categories for ample satisfaction:

  • Plain options for the simpler folks, such as a French Baguette or natural flavored crackers. Adding the option of types infused with herbs may inspire some to venture outside of their comfort zone.
  • For those wanting to mix things up, options of a variety of crackers can challenge the palette. Cinnamon, Sweet Lemon, or Chocolate and Vanilla. We challenge you to try something new, and we promise you’ll discover a new favorite mixture of taste you never expected to love.
  • And for those who are unable to eat the above, a variety of gluten free crackers are welcomed on your board and are similarly delicious to their counterparts.

Fruitful Flavors.

Not only will fruit add a much-needed color boost to your board, but the sweet flavors will complete the charcuterie family. Stick to traditional choices for those who will sway away from the bolder flavors, but pick from a variety of others to continue the exploration of your taste buds.

  • Grapes are a clear choice in our opinion, but the addition of seasonal fruits will work to most of your liking's. Pomegranates and cranberries are a wonderful choice.
  • Don’t forget your dried fruits like figs or apricots.

Go Nuts.

An additional crunchy factor helps break things up with a bite between the richer choices. Mixing in familiar tastes is always a smart choice. But these additions continue to challenge the palette with some of the following options.

  • Classics like almonds, cashews, walnuts and more are always welcomed.
  • To adjust tradition, incorporate new flavors like sweet and spicy nuts or olive oil fried almonds.

Sweeten Up.

No charcuterie board is complete without a touch of sweetness. A drizzle of honey here, a dab of jam there, the choice is yours. We recommend a few choices to satisfy many palettes, such as:

  • Jams and spreads like raspberry, peach, blackberry and pomegranate help break up the taste.
  • Quality honey for those with a classic sweet craving help emphasize the cheese, in particular the Brie (the drizzle isn’t hard on the eyes either)!

Final Touches.

In case you don’t have enough on your plate, we have a few extras for the ultimate charcuterie fixings. Salty, sweet, and acidic flavors are the final touch. A few last recommendations for your pleasure:

  • Salty needs like marinated capers and olives add color and bite to your board.
  • Acidity like mustard and pickles are another classic staple.
  • Add some savory goodness like marinated red peppers to mix things up.
  • And of course, what is a charcuterie board without some dark chocolate shavings?

Make each charcuterie board your own, incorporating your favorite combinations of flavors. Challenge your friends and family with blends that may seem odd or outside the box. The never-ending board of beauty and flavor are perfect to start your gathering off just right. Happy plating!