just clued into something rather important - when asked what's one meal I couldn't live without, I am not sure why my answer has never been a charcuterie board. That's a meal, right?! I think it is. You get all of the food groups - meat, dairy, carbohydrates, fruits and veggies. My goodness! A charcuterie board might be one of the more complete meals I obsessed over and would be one I could not live without. Although the food is a critical component of a charcuterie board, part of why I love them so much is because of the creativity that goes along with laying them out and the uniqueness of each completed board. Although I'll eat a charcuterie board basically no matter what, I find they taste even better if they look good too. That said, if you're here, you're ready to learn how to pull together a beautiful-looking charcuterie board each time. Luckily today I'm sharing my how-to tips below which should help you succeed every time you're making a grazing board.
Something for Everyone on a Charcuterie Board
The first thing you want to do to make a super epic charcuterie board is to think about what vibe you’re going for and what you want on it. A few years ago, I made a desert grazing board and a regular meat and cheese board for Christmas. The possibilities are endless for what you can put on these: you could have a breakfast board, a kids’ board, a fruit board, a holiday-themed board – anything you can think of, you can make.
For the sake of this, post, I’ll give you my examples in terms of a good old fashion charcuterie board. Not everyone eats meat and not everyone eats cheese. With that, I also like to consider a few fruits and vegetables. Not only does it add much-needed pops of colour, but it also adds some nutritional value. I also like at least three different cheeses – a cheddar, a soft cheese, and something more unique. Similarly, I like at least three salamis – I typically do a genoa, a prosciutto, and a buffalo salami for those that aren’t pork eaters.
Other items I love including are:
- Two cracker types
- Tapenades and dips
Honestly, get as creative as you like. But judge the quantity and variety of each item on the size of your board
Over Stuff Your Charcuterie Board
The longer board I made here is just under 3 ft long but just under 1 ft wide (ps – I made this board! If you want to learn how, I have all of my step-by-step instructions here). I knew I needed a lot of items to make this board come to life, feel visually interesting and keep people eating. For this board, I ended up with four types of salami, four types of cheese, raspberries, strawberries, kiwis, cucumber, carrots, blueberries, olives, cherry tomatoes, fig spread, olive spread, grapes, and two types of crackers. Overkill? Perhaps but, did the variety make it beautiful? Sure did! I also ensured I bought enough of each item to over-stuff my charcuterie board. Empty/white space doesn’t serve you well on these boards. Stuff it to the brim.
The Key to Laying Out Your Charcuterie Board
- Start with the main items – crackers, meats, cheeses – and lay those out throughout the board. I like to group like items together as much as possible – all of the same meats I place into the same section. I do the same with cheese.
- Next, I move to the secondary items: anything I put into a mini bowl (tapenades, olives, etc.), carrots, and cucumbers. Again, I keep those items in larger groups together.
- Finally, I move on to the smaller “stuffable” items that can fill in any holes you have on your board. Little fruits are great for this. You have an extra 1/2″ opening between the crackers and cheese – a perfect little hole for your blueberries to go. This is the most important step to creating the most visually appealing charcuterie board. Don’t underestimate the power of stuffable items.
Now you’re fully equipped to make your epic boards whether it be charcuterie, kids’ board, dessert boards, Halloween or Christmas boards, the same principles apply. Hostess with the mostess, here we come!