Hi guys! I am super excited for today’s post because Staci, one of my oldest friend’s (we met in kindergarten!), is guest writing. She is a master when it comes to making beautiful charcuterie boards and I thought it would be fun to have her give us her top tips! Needless to say she helped me with this board I made and just a few of her suggestions took this board a long way 😉 Alright guys, I’ll let her jump in! PS. If you live in the Seattle area, definitely reach out to her to have a custom board made!
Wanting to host a party or a get-together but unsure of where to begin, especially food-wise? Entertaining can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be!
I’m Staci and one of Claire’s oldest friends. I run the IG account, @thesaltycravings, where I share dinner/meal ideas and especially my charcuterie board masterpieces!
My favorite way to impress a crowd is to have a homemade cheeseboard, ready to go! They’re really not as difficult to put together, as one might think, and I have a great list of tips to make the process feel much less overwhelming 🙂
First, you’ll need your board materials (example links are provided)
Second, board accoutrements:
1. Cheeses: 2-3 types – you’ll want a mixture of soft and hard cheeses. Textures are very important!
Soft cheeses include brie, St. Andre, Boursin, camembert, etc. Hard cheeses include extra aged gouda, Pecorino Romano, aged cheddar, etc. **Pinterest has many soft-hard cheese example grids! There are also tons of tips on how to cut/slice each type.
2. Charcuterie: 1-2 type – often times, people think of “charcuterie” as the board, itself, in all of its prepared glory! Charcuterie is actually a branch of cooking involving prepared meats, such as ham, sausage, bacon, and other pork products. You can choose anything from peppered salami to beef summer sausage! There are so many options.
3. Crackers: Endless possibilities! Try and choose 2 varieties. 1 plain (water, artisan, rice) and 1 sweet/savory. Trader Joe’s has fantastic specialty crackers like fig & olive or pumpkin cranberry (for fall).
4. Seasonal Fruits & Veggies: Anything colorful and in season will look beautiful on a board. My personal favorites are green and/or red grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and cucumbers. I always like to incorporate a dip for the veggies, as well! A ranch or hummus never disappoints. This is, of course, optional.
5. Specialty Items: Cornichons, olives, spiced or candied nuts & fruits, jam, & honey. To me, it’s especially important to have pickles or olives to provide a tart, briny flavor because it pairs so well with rich meats and cheeses! Everyone loves the addition of a flavorful and crunchy nut, too. I consider the addition of a jam or honey to be an extra WOW factor! So many flavor combinations are possible.
6. Garnish: For another WOW factor, I consider garish a crucial part of any board, especially to elevate it to the next level! Placing fresh herbs or colorful dried fruit around everything really brings a *pop* to your edible masterpiece.
Third, board arrangement:
I think it’ very important to mention that not everything has to go in one direction on your board. Have fun with the placement and direction of all your items! Also, space out your colors! Don’t put an orange cheddar next to your dried apricots 😉
1. I always place my ramekins out, first. In these, I put anything small (nuts) or anything that has juice (pickles or olives).
2. I add the most important part… the cheese! Always arranged in a fun way.
5. Specialty Items
Add cheese knives next to their respectable cheeses and extra crackers on the side and you are all set! Hopefully these tips help as a guideline for your next charcuterie board. My most important piece of advice is to not stress over it, but to have fun “painting” with your food and impressing your guests!