An epic charcuterie board laden with meats, cheeses, fruit, crackers and preserves is the ultimate appetizer to feed a crowd.
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How to make a charcuterie board
A good charcuterie board is the ultimate easy appetizer, snack with drinks and even main dish if you include enough variety. It’s one of our favorite ways to eat and to entertain because it’s fuss-free and very easy to cater to a variety of different diets and preferences. Grab your largest serving platter (or lay parchment paper directly on the table) and let’s get building. For a more visually appealing board, slice the cheeses into different shapes and use pretty cheese knives for serving. The meat can be rolled, folded, sliced or casually laid onto the board. Preserves, pickles and olives can be added in small bowls for easier serving.
What should be on a charcuterie board
There are no rules but in my opinion, a charcuterie board is different to a cheese board. A cheese board is focused on the cheese and includes ingredients and elements that complement the cheese. Similarly, a charcuterie board is all about the meat. The ingredients paired with the meat are there to complement and make each bite a delicious one.
- Charcuterie: Charcuterie is a broad term given to prepared meats. Bacon, cured meat, sausages, pâtés, ham, etc. I like to include a variety of different meats. Salami is a must and as there is such a vast selection out there, you can include a few different types. I like to include a whole chorizo sliced into coins. Parma ham/Prosciutto is also a great addition. Chicken liver pâté, Coppa, Jamón, Gypsy ham, etc. are all good options too. A balanced charcuterie board will have between 3 and 5 types of meats, depending on the amount of people it needs to serve.
- Cheese: Not essential on a charcuterie board but a natural addition. I like including a strong blue cheese (gorgonzola is my favorite), a soft cheese and a firmer cheese. Gruyere, Havarti, Gouda, Manchego, Appenzeller, Raclette, Cheddar and Parmesan are all good options for hard cheese. For soft cheese, brie, camembert and goat cheese are delicious and work with a variety of meats.
- Fruit: I like including fresh fruits as well as preserved/dried fruit. Cherries, berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries) and grapes are some of my favorites. Slices of pear and apple are also great with cheese. Melon is a great idea if you’re serving Parma ham or Prosciutto. If you love dried fruit, I would suggest dried or preserved figs, apricots or dates. Fruit goes well with the saltiness of the meat and it’s good to have a fresh element on the board.
- Crackers/bread: Sliced baguette, breadsticks and crackers of all kinds are welcome on a sharing board like this. You need a vehicle for the meat and cheese, right?
For interest, taste and texture
- Pickles and preserves: The acidity of pickles is very welcome amidst all the richness of the cheese and meat. Similarly, preserves, jams or honey add great sweetness to the board and works incredibly well with both the cured meat and cheeses. Olives, cornichons or pickled cucumbers, pickled onions, etc are all good choices.
- Others: Adding elements like nuts and dips like mustard, hummus, etc. adds a bit more interest to your board. Fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary also make your charcuterie board visually appealing.
Can I make this ahead?
Most of the elements are best served at room temperature so the board can be assembled up to an hour in advance and kept covered until you’re ready to serve. Alternatively, assemble the ingredients (except for breads and crackers) and cover well then refrigerate for a day before serving. Add any crackers or bread right before serving to prevent them from drying out or getting soggy.
Ideas for sharing boards
Easy Charcuterie board
- 200 g (7oz) salami
- 200 g (7oz) Parma Ham / Prosciutto I wrapped the prosciutto around the breadsticks but you can also just add to the platter as is.
- 200 g (7 oz) Coppa
- 200 g (7oz) chorizo sliced into coins
- 100 g blue cheese Gorgonzola, Stilton, etc.
- 100 g Brie
- 100 g Hard cheese Gruyere, Havarti, Parmesan, etc.
- 3 cups fruit of your choice berries, cherries, grapes, melon
- 2 cups pickles I used Cornichons but pickled onions will also work.
- 1 cup olives I used Castelvetrano olives as well as marinated olives but any olive will be delicious.
- preserves of your choice
- 1 baguette sliced
- breadsticks/crackers of your choice
- Place the ingredients onto a large serving board or platter.
- Pile each ingredient together to create a more visually appealing end result. Place fruit in between for color and texture.
- Add serving knives or spoons and serve immediately.