For a tasty, fast, simple party appetizer you can use to feed a large group, there's nothing like a charcuterie and cheese board. It's an easy way to make a beautiful appetizer that takes minimal effort on your part.
To make a gorgeous charcuterie (shaa-koo-tuh-ree) board, you'll need a large serving platter, some small ramekins or bowls, and a good selection of cured meats, fruits, cheeses, bread, and spreads. The trick to making the perfect charcuterie board is to have a variety of eye-catching colors and textures for your guests to mix and match. Ready to learn how to make the perfect charcuterie platter? Here's everything you need to know.
Charcuterie comes from the French word for pork butcher. However, charcuterie doesn't just refer to pork meat. It covers pates, sausages, cured meats, and brined meats.
A charcuterie board is an appetizer featuring various cured meats and pates, served with jams, jelly, chutney or mustard, pickled vegetables, fruits, nuts, and bread or crackers.
There are endless ways you can build your charcuterie and cheese board, and the exact ingredients you include are up to you. You could focus on meats or cheese, adorn your board with various fruits and nuts, or use bread, crackers, or toast.
Most charcuterie boards are served with meat, cheese, or both, plus fresh or dried fruit, nuts, olives, pickles, and a few spreads – either savory or sweet. Some of the top picks are listed below.
Cured meats like prosciutto, salami, jamon, cured chorizo, soppressata, and mortadella are all excellent choices to serve. Try a mix of spicy and regular cured meats to mix things up and offer your guests a wider variety to choose from. You can also serve up pate or terrine which is always delicious.
You'll want a mix of soft and hard cheeses on your charcuterie board. Soft cheeses like brie, mozzarella, and blue cheese are always popular options because they taste and look great on a cheeseboard. For hard or semi-hard cheeses, you can't go wrong with sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or gouda.
Fresh or dried fruit adds the perfect pop of sweetness and acts as a wonderful contrast to all the salty, savory items on a party platter. For fresh fruit, opt for grapes, berries, and fresh figs. Dried fruits like apples, cranberries, and dates are also fantastic.
No charcuterie board is complete without bread and/or crackers – your guests need something sturdy to layer their meat, cheese, and spreads on! If you're serving bread, pick up an artisan loaf. Slice it then half the slices. For crackers, a sturdy cracker that doesn't crumble easily is best.
Serve your cheese and charcuterie board with a variety of spreads. Jams, jellies, chutney, and mustards are all fantastic options to add sweetness, spice, and savory elements to your board.
There isn't too much involved in making the perfect charcuterie and cheese board. Once you decide on the types of meats, cheeses, fruit, and so on you'd like to add to it, it's simply a matter of arranging it on the platter.
Start by putting your spreads into small bowls and placing them on the platter. Next layer your meats and cheeses on the board. Place the crackers and bread next to the meats, then dot the board with fresh and dried fruit, olives, and cornichons.
Finish it off with some decorative sprigs of fresh herbs, then go ahead and serve up your cheese and meat board.
Adjust the amount of ingredients you need based on the number of guests you're entertaining. This recipe is for 10 to 12 servings.
Your charcuterie board should serve as an appetizer for the main meal. Set it out on the table and let your guests graze before sitting down to eat dinner.
Meat and cheese boards are wonderful with wine. Because there will be an array of different flavors on your charcuterie board, the best option is to offer your guests a few different wines to choose from. As a general rule of thumb, wines with higher acidity are a good choice.
Absolutely! You can make your charcuterie platter up to 1 day in advance. Keep it covered and in the fridge until you're ready to serve it. Leftovers should be consumed within 3 days.
Put any jams or spread into small individual bowls. Set the bowls on the board.
Arrange the meats and cheeses on the board.
Place the crackers and bread on the board next to the cheese and meats.
Arrange the fruit, olives, and pickles around the board.
Garnish with fresh herbs.
Feel free to customize your charcuterie board to include the ingredients you think your guests will enjoy the most!