Once a staple of holiday parties and weddings, the humble charcuterie board is now all the rage during summer BBQs, game days, and birthday celebrations.
Beyond being a delicious snack, they're the epitome of chic and have become a food trend that will be sticking around.
People are now serving up this sophisticated version of a cheese board year-round. Today, there are no rules when it comes to putting together a charcuterie board. The more variety, the better! So feel free to get creative with your ingredient choices.
When it comes to building an impressive charcuterie board, the possibilities are truly endless! If you want to wow your guests at your next get-together, consider putting together a charcuterie board.
Read on to learn more - and get inspired with some creative charcuterie board ideas for any gathering!
What Should Be Included On A Charcuterie Platter?
When most people think of charcuterie, they usually associate it with holiday gatherings or special occasions. And while those occasions are the time when a charcuterie platter is typically served, there's no reason to limit them just to the holidays.
"Charcuterie" is derived from a phrase meaning "cured meats" and can include a variety of meats, poultry, and fish.
Salami, prosciutto, and bacon are just a few examples of common charcuterie fare - taking the platter itself far beyond just a cheese board!
The platters typically consist of sliced meat and soft cheese served with bread or crackers and wine or served as an appetizer before dinner.
Serve these delicious morsels with the fixings at parties and gatherings. They're sure to be a hit with guests!
What is on a traditional charcuterie board?
A charcuterie board typically consists of meats, cheeses, crackers, and other accompaniments.
Traditionally, a charcuterie or cheese board includes a variety of cured meats, such as salami, ham, and bacon.
It may also have pâtés or terrines, which are meat dishes that are often served cold. The platter will also feature a variety of cheeses and some type of bread or crackers.
Other accompaniments that can be included on a charcuterie board are olives, nuts, and dried fruit. Some people also like to include jams, honey, or chutneys.
How to Set Up a Charcuterie Board
There are no specific rules for setting up a charcuterie platter other than having an assortment of meat and cheese.
If you want to have some organization to your cheese board, try adding elements to your charcuterie plate in this order:
- Sliced meats
- Sliced cheeses (soft cheeses and hard cheeses)
- Crackers, pita crackers, or bread
- Fresh fruit
- Other accompaniments
Once you've gathered your ingredients, it's time to start assembling the platter.
Start by arranging your meats in the center of the platter.
You can either lay them out flat or form them into a pyramid.
Next, add your cheeses to the board.
Again, you can either lay them out flat or stack them in pyramids.
If you're using a large charcuterie board that offers plenty of room, you can add some extra cheeses too.
What Do You Serve with a Charcuterie Board?
While charcuterie boards were traditionally an appetizer before dinner, they can also serve as a light meal. In fact, the best accompaniment to charcuterie is bread or crackers because it gives you something to soak up all those delicious flavors.
So what should you serve alongside the bread or crackers? It depends on what is on your board, as well as the occasion!
If you are serving a vegetable board, try serving hummus or another type of dip.
You can also consider adding fruit to your charcuterie platter.
If you are serving a meat-heavy board, you can serve mustard and Dijon to complete the meal. Get creative if you add cured meats or other unusual ingredients to your board.
If you plan to serve charcuterie as an appetizer, you might want to include olives, cheese cubes, or something else that can stand alone as a light bite.
Don't forget the drinks! Wine is the traditional drink to serve with charcuterie, but beer or other cocktails are also an excellent option for those who don't drink wine.
What are Good Spreads for a Cheese Board and Charcuterie Platter?
Many spreads can be used on charcuterie boards, though some are more traditional than others.
Cheese is usually the most common option, but you can get creative with a variety of different spreads:
A rule of thumb with spreads is to use something contrasting with the cheese.
For example, a tapenade spread would be a good option if you're using creamy brie cheese.
Or, if you're using goat cheese, try something with mustard or garlic. Want some cream cheese as well? Try adding some honey!
The spread options are endless, so be creative and have fun with it!
What About Cured Meats?
Cured meats are an excellent addition to any charcuterie board. Sausages, salami, and cured ham are all excellent options.
When it comes to adding cured meats, your best bet is to add them in small quantities so you have a good range of flavors.
You can also add in some seasonal ingredients such as figs, persimmons, or pecans. Pickled vegetables can work well if you're going for a tangy taste!
Creative Charcuterie Board Ideas for Your Next Gathering
Now that you know all there is to know about charcuterie boards, it's time to get creative.
Here are a few charcuterie board ideas to help get you started:
1. The Traditional Charcuterie Board
If you are hosting a get-together, you'll probably want to go with the classic charcuterie board.
Your best option is to use two or three different cheeses topped with sliced meats and accompaniments like olives, nuts, and dried fruit. Feel free to get creative with a bit of olive oil, summer sausage, or fresh raw veggies on your plate.
2. Fruit Charcuterie Board
Who said the perfect charcuterie board had to have only cheese or meat? Fresh fruit can be added to any charcuterie board, but it really shines on its own board.
Try using various fruits like grapes, strawberries, melon, and figs. You can also add some cheese and nuts for added flavor and texture. You can even add some dried fruit to give it a little more sweetness.
3. The Vegetarian Charcuterie Board
A vegetarian charcuterie board is perfect for people who don't eat meat or for people who are simply looking for a lighter meal.
You can use traditional cheeses topped with vegetables like cucumbers, zucchini, and olives. This can make an excellent appetizer for a party, or you can even have it as a light meal with some bread.
4. The Mediterranean Charcuterie Board
The best charcuterie board ideas are those that add in a flair from other cultures. Mediterranean food is delicious, so why not have a charcuterie board that evokes this region of the world?
Some great options are feta cheese, grape leaves, hummus, and olives. You can also try adding some stuffed grape leaves to the board for an extra burst of flavor!
5. A Meat Lover's Charcuterie Board
If you are hosting a manly get-together, this might be the way to go.
Try using harder cheeses like Parmesan or aged cheddar and cured meats like pepperoni and salami. You can also add cooked meats like chicken wings and ribs for a more substantial meal that will fill up your guests.
6. The Fall Charcuterie Board
You can have a little fun with your charcuterie board in the fall by adding some seasonal fruits and veggies.
Some good options are pears, apples, figs, and butternut squash. You can also add some cooked meat like chicken or turkey if you want a heartier board.
7. The Deconstructed Charcuterie Board
Another creative charcuterie board idea is to go with a deconstructed version.
Instead of serving meats and cheeses on the same board, you can serve them apart from one another along with some bread and crackers for dipping. These are perfect for people who have some dietary restrictions or allergies.
8. The Holiday Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie boards are great for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and any other holiday you can think of!
Try adding some cranberry sauce to your board, along with a variety of cheeses and meat options that go well with the holidays. Some examples are ham, turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.
9. The Chocolate Charcuterie Board
Try a chocolate lover's charcuterie board for the ultimate sweet and savory experience.
This board is perfect for chocolate lovers who also enjoy cheese and meat. Try using dark chocolate, brie cheese, and salami. You can also add some honeycomb or nuts for extra crunch.
10. The International Charcuterie Board
If you are looking for a truly global charcuterie board, try using ingredients from all over the world. This can be a bit more challenging, but it is definitely doable. Some great options are curry paste, sushi rice, naan bread, and chutneys.
The sky is the limit when it comes to creating a charcuterie board, so get creative and have fun with it! And most importantly, think about what your guests will enjoy. There is no one perfect recipe for a charcuterie board, so be sure to personalize it to your liking.
Shop Charcuterie Boards and Cheese Boards at Michael Aram
Of course, the foundation of a good charcuterie is the board on which it sits. If you're looking for a great board to start your charcuterie journey, check out the selection of cheese boards and charcuterie platters from Michael Aram.
Hand-crafted and designed with elegance in mind, these boards are the perfect way to serve charcuterie and cheese at your next event. Inspired by exotic cultures across the globe, these marble and granite charcuterie boards will make your guests swoon.
Shop online today to see the entire catalog of cheese boards and learn more about Michael Aram's latest designs.