An epic charcuterie board laden with meats, cheeses, fruit, crackers and preserves is the ultimate appetizer to feed a crowd.
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 board or platter (or lay parchment paper directly on the table) and let’s get building.
What to put to 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 variety 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.
- Fruit: I like including fresh as well as preserved/dried fruit. Cherries, berries and grapes are some of my favorites and I love preserved figs. Melon is a great idea if you’re serving Parma ham or Prosciutto. Fruit goes well with the salty meat and it’s good to have a fresh element on the board.
- Pickles and preserves: The acidity of pickles is very welcome amidst all the richness of the cheese and meat. Similarly, preserves add great sweetness to the board and works incredibly well with both the cured meat and cheeses.
- Cheese: Not essential on a charcuterie board but a natural addition. I like including a strong blue cheese, a soft cheese (like Brie or Camembert) and a firmer cheese. Gruyere, Havarti, Appenzeller, Raclette, Cheddar and Parmesan are all good options.
- 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?
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 at room temperature. 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
- 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.
- 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.