How To Build The Perfect Holiday Charcuterie Board

21, December 2021 11:41 AM

Charcuterie boards are one of our favourite food trends right now. They require minimal effort but deliver big on flavour, making them perfect for parties and events or a casual night at home. There’s something for everyone on a board packed with cured meats, cheese, fruit, crackers, and so much more. Plus, the no-cook factor means you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time socializing and eating!

The problem with charcuterie boards is that they look simple, but they aren’t always easy to put together. It can be difficult to know what to add to a board when you’re making one for the first time, there are so many options, how do you know what to choose?

Meinhardt Fine Foods is here to help! We’ve put together the ultimate guide for building the perfect charcuterie board. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be making picture-perfect boards in no time!

Here are our favourite tips and tricks to make your next charcuterie board stand out:

Start with cheese

The best platters offer an assortment of different textures and flavours of cheese. From sharp firm cheeses to soft and aromatic types, a good platter will have it all. For extra variety try using cheeses made from different kinds of milk such as cow and goat. Brie, soft goat cheese, extra old cheddar, smoked gouda, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Emmental, and blue cheese will give a variety of tastes and textures.

For a smaller board pick 3 kinds of cheese with different textures and flavour profiles. First choose a hard cheese such as manchego, asiago, or pecorino romano. Once you’ve decided on your first option choose a soft cheese such as brie or camembert, burrata, or goats cheese. Make sure you’re selecting a soft cheese with a different flavour profile from your hard cheese. If you’ve chosen a hard cheese with a strong flavour, select a milder soft cheese such as brie. Try using either blue cheese or a firm cheese such as gruyere or cheddar for your third option.

Select your cured meats

Try adding a wide range of different proteins such as pork, beef, duck, smoked meat, and pâtés to your board. For a large board, you’ll want at least 5 different types of meat, for a smaller board choose 2-3 options. Similar to selecting cheese, try to find cured meats that will bring different textures and flavours to your charcuterie board. Prosciutto, hot Soppressata, salami, and a smooth duck pâté are perfect for bringing your charcuterie board to life.

If you’re looking to make a vegetarian board (or a vegan one with vegan cheese) simply skip the meat and go heavy on the accompaniments. We suggest adding chopped veggies and a hearty dip like hummus to the board for extra variety.

Add accompaniments

Once you’ve chosen the main elements of your board it’s time to work on the accompaniments. These are elements on the board that can be paired with your meat and cheese or eaten on their own as a snack. Use a contrast of sweet and savoury items with different textures that will pair well with your selected meats and cheeses. Jams, honey, preserves, mustard, fresh or dried fruits, toasted nuts, and a selection of olives and pickled vegetables are perfect for finishing off any board. You can also try adding macarons, sugar cookies, or chocolate-covered strawberries for an extra sweet element.

Choose your vessel

The final addition to your charcuterie board is the bread and crackers. Try adding a variety of soft bread and crackers to your board so you can play around with different charcuterie combinations. Sliced baguette, focaccia, whole-grain buns, crostini, breadsticks, and flavoured crackers are perfect. For a small board, we recommend using a french baguette and crackers flavoured with herbs or dried fruit and nuts.

Let’s put it together

Now that you’ve selected all your charcuterie board elements it’s time to put it all together. First, make sure you choose an appropriately sized board. You want it to be large enough to hold everything but not so large that you’ll have a ton of extra space. Once your board is selected start by arranging the cheese on the board. Space out the cheese and try cutting some of them into different shapes. Try cutting a small triangle out of the wheel of brie, or cut cheddar and asiago into small cubes or strips. This will not only help with presentation, but it’ll also make it easier to serve and eat.

Once your cheese is laid out it’s time to place the cured meat on the board. This is a great time to get creative! Try folding or rolling the meat to create patterns as you place it. This is a great way to catch people’s eye and make your board photo-ready.

Next, lay out your bread and crackers. We like to just add a few crackers and slices of bread to the board because they can be bulky and take up a lot of space. If you’re working with a smaller board try stacking 6 or 7 crackers on the board along with a few slices of bread, then place the rest on a smaller plate beside it.

Finally, add your accompaniments. Start by deciding which items will need a bowl or dish and place those on the board, then just have fun! This is when your board will really come together. You can fill in any gaps with fruit or nuts and you can add a lot of colour and exciting elements to your board. Feel free to get creative and add edible flowers or herbs to decorate your masterpiece.

Now that you have our favourite tips, it's time for you to show off your new skills! We want to see your charcuterie boards - don't forget to tag us when you share them with your friends on social media. We can't wait to see all your creations!

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