Hosting a party? Go with a large charcuterie board. It is a great way to please all of your guests. I find that people are eating less heavy dishes and focusing on finger foods. Plus, it works well with different beverages and people can be as diet-conscious as they choose to be.
Gather some different ramekins or small serving bowls, a large wooden cutting board, and get started. You can’t go wrong.
Think of this as your canvas. It can be a beautiful work of art.
Pick out a few favorite kinds of cheese, pickled vegetables, cured meats, jams/jellies, crackers, toasted bread, fruit, and nuts and start filling in your plate.
To help set up your plate:
First, set up your cheeseboard. Be creative. This can be a wooden cutting board, marble cheese board, a large serving tray, or even a lazy Susan.
Second, spread out the ramekins so that they are not together. Start with two, you can always add more if you feel it’s necessary.
Third, set out your cheeses, separating them across your display. My suggestion is to have at least three types of cheese. Examples: a soft cheese like Brie or goat cheese, hard cheese such as an aged cheddar or a smoked Gouda, and a Blue cheese or other stinky cheese.
Fourth, add a few rows of cured meats. For example prosciutto, salami, or summer sausage.
Fifth, place a couple of different crackers around your board strategically – for example: place a hearty cracker next to the Brie so that it can be smoothed on top to eat.
Next, fill in gaps with lots of fun. Add in pickles (bread and butter, or dill, or spicy), jams and jellies (fig preserves, jalapeno jelly), honey, fruits (grapes and strawberries are popular choices or dried apricots), fill ramekins with jellies, dips, or nuts (consider different types from walnuts to candied pecans). Olives are another option. They have many different kinds from Kalamata to jalapeno stuffed.
Finally, stand back and admire your creation!
Perhaps you might add a few sprigs of rosemary or basil for garnish. Seasonally, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, apples, or cranberries would be a great addition.
Don’t forget: small jars/ramekins with small toothpicks, and place knives for spreading cheeses/toppings.
If you need some inspiration, one of my favorite Instagram pages is @cheesebynumbers. They build beautiful charcuterie boards and help you set them up step by step.
Many of our local restaurants have delicious charcuterie plates. POUR is the first that comes to mind, they make a great bacon jam that is made in house, and I love their pickled beets!
If you are short on time, we have a few local companies that sell custom charcuterie boards: Graze and Nosh.