How To Make A Charcuterie Board with cheeses, cured meats, crackers, fruits, nuts, spreads, and dips. A feast for the eyes and palate.
I have been wanting to create a Charcuterie Board for sometime now and I finally did when we had an early Christmas gathering recently. Before this we have been enjoying all kinds of cheeses, cured meats, crackers, and spreads during our afternoon tea. There are all kinds of goodies out there that you can purchase for your board. The possibilities are literally endless.
The most important thing is to pick the things that you like to eat despite whatever “rules” people may have for their boards. Just remember that it is your board, your kitchen, your home, and you rule. 🙂 The board that I am showing you today is merely a suggestion. Please pick and choose your favorites and add on more goodies that you prefer.
What is Charcuterie?
Before we continue, let’s revisit the meaning of charcuterie which I briefly touched on in my Christmas Dessert Board. The word originated in France and the traditional art of charcuterie involves preparing cured meats and meat products. This means that the board should have at least some cured meats. Today, cheeses, crackers, fruits, nuts, spreads, and dips are added to the board to create a feast for the eyes as well as for the palate.
The Charcuterie Board
First and foremost, you have to select a suitable board or tray. The size of the board you choose will depend on how many people you are serving. I recently purchased two boards that are approximately 18 inches long by 10 inches wide. These narrower boards are perfect for the sitting area around my kitchen island. One of the boards is made of acacia wood and the other is made of walnut wood with a beautiful live edge. I purchased this second board from a local vendor here in the city.
For the purpose of this demonstration, I put the two boards together to create a wider board because I am not constrained by a narrow ledge as that on my kitchen island. You can find links to similar boards and food items I purchased for putting together this board. Do check them out.
When it comes to cured meats, favorites like salami, summer sausage, and prosciutto often appear on the board. You can buy these precut and prepackaged or you can go to the deli and get them to slice the meats to your exact specification. You can then fold and arrange them artistically on your board.
I made two salami roses by folding slices of salami in half moons over a drinking glass. Then, overturn the glass to release the rose. It really is not difficult at all and it keeps the slices of salami in one place on the board.
As for the summer sausage, I simply cut them into thin slices and overlap them in two areas on the board. They are too small and stiff to be folded.
When it comes to cheeses, there are lots of choices. You may want to pick one or two kinds of soft and hard cheeses. Favorite soft cheeses include blue cheese and brie. Hard cheeses can be cheddar, edam, gouda, and parmesan. Then, there are semi-soft and firm cheeses. Pick what you like or what you think your guests will like. I find placing the soft cheeses on the outside more practical so that people do not have to reach over the entire board to cut off sections for themselves.
Breads and Crackers
As for the breads and crackers, what you see on the boards are the ones we enjoy regularly. We like the mini naan dippers and crispy sea salt baked crackers. You can find the links below. We also like regular saltine crackers which you can easily purchase at any grocery store.
Spicy Jellies and Spreads for your Charcuterie Board
For greater flavor, do not omit the myriad of spicy jellies and spreads you can find out there. Seen here is the delicious hatch chile and jalapeno jelly. A little combined with some soft cheese on a cracker is so, so good.
This is an eggplant and red pepper spread that comes in a low jar that you can simply open and place on the board. Very popular are artichoke and sun dried tomato spreads. There are just so many varieties to choose from. The jar in the next picture is a delicious hot and smoky bacon chutney. Go ahead and experiment to discover what you like. 🙂
Black Seaweed Pearls
We also found these black seaweed pearls that look like caviar but without the expense. They are delicious combined with some chopped onions and green onions. These seaweed pearls come in little jars and a little goes a long way.
To balance the creaminess of the cheeses, offer some pickles. Unfortunately, I am not much of a fan of olives. I prefer grilled and marinated artichoke. I came across these beautiful slanted shallow bowls which are perfect for the pickles. These bowls are made by a local craftsman.
Another pickle that we found are these dolmas or stuffed grape leaves with rice. They come in cans but you can make your own if you wish to do so.
Fruits and Nuts
Finally, don’t forget the fruits and nuts to fill in the gaps on your board. Grapes are always a good choice. Out of convenience, I purchased a bag of salted and roasted mixed nuts for this purpose. You can also prepare your own flavored or caramelized nuts. On this board I also added some window pane pretzels.
Similar Products Used in How To Make A Charcuterie Board
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Live Edge Acacia Charcuterie Board With Handle, 17.72″L x 7.87″W
Acacia wood Charcuterie Board with handle, 17″ x 10″
22 Pieces Charcuterie Board Accessories and Toothpick Flags
Milton’s Baked Crackers 3 Flavor Variety Bundle
Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads Naan Dippers
Cucina & Amore Bruschetta Artichoke
Cucina & Amore Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta, 7.9 OZ
Season CAVIART® Black Seaweed Pearls 1.75 oz
Artichokes, grilled and marinated, 14.5 Ounce
Emirelli Dolmas Stuffed Grape Leaves with Rice in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8 small shallow bowls
- ½ lb salami (in thin slices)
- 1 lb summer sausage (in thin slices)
- 1 wedge blue cheese (4 oz / 113g)
- 1 log spreadable sharp cheddar with almonds (6 oz / 170g)
- 1 piece smoked cheddar (6 oz / 170g)
Breads and Crackers
Spicy Jellies and Spreads
- 1 jar hatch chile jalapeno spread (11.7 oz / 332g)
- 1 jar hot and spicy bacon chutney (5.4 oz / 153g)
- 1 jar eggplant and red pepper spread (7.9 oz / 225g)
Fruits and Nuts
- ½ lb mixed nuts (225g)
- ½ lb green grapes (225g)
- ½ lb red grapes (225g)
- A handful pretzels (optional)
- Fold 10 to 12 slices of overlapping salami in half over the rim of a drinking glass. Then overturn the glass to release the salami rose. Repeat with remaining slices of salami.
- Place salami roses in two corners of the board. Also, arrange overlapping slices of summer sausage in two separate areas of the board.
- Place blue cheese wedge nearer to the edge of one side of the board and spreadable cheddar on the opposite side.
- Cut smoked cheddar into cubes. Divide the cubes into two and place them on opposite sides of the board.
- Arrange crispy sea salt baked crackers, naan dippers, and saltine crackers close to the cheeses.
- Place spicy jelly and spread jars next to the breads and crackers.
- Transfer pickles into small shallow bowls. Place bowls next to the spicy jellies and spreads.
- Transfer mixed nuts into two shallow bowls and place them onto empty spots on the board.
- Finally, fill remaining empty spots on the board with grapes and pretzels.
I hope I have given you sufficient ideas on how to create your own beautiful and delicious Charcuterie Board. Start with a small board and continue working your way to larger and more elaborate boards. Most of all, have fun and be creative.