One of my favorite and easiest appetizers to prepare is a charcuterie and cheese board. They look like a lot of effort, but they’re really not! This is a great appetizer to include for Thanksgiving because there is usually something for everyone on it. Plus, it doesn’t take a lot of prep. You are just basically shopping for the ingredients. Today I’m going to walk you through how I organize a charcuterie and cheese board.
Let’s get started. Below are the following items to consider when putting together a charcuterie and cheese board.
Cheese: You want to have an assortment of textures and milk varieties on your board. This post really helped me figure out what cheeses to include. Since I was serving about 16 people (including kids) I decided to have 4 different types of cheese. I tried to keep in mind something sharp (white cheddar), something creamy (brie), something nutty (aged gouda), something fresh (goat cheese), and something funky (blue cheese).
Meat: Again you want to have some variety here. You want to keep in mind the textures, heat level, and thickness of the meats you include. I try to have an array of salamis on hand as well as prosciutto. I had about 4-5 different meats when serving about 16 people. Since kids were eating this as well I kept all the meats fairly mild.
Fruit: When selecting fruit I try to picture what the board will look like. I want to include colors that will go well together. Also, since children were also partaking in this appetizer I included items that they would like. This included grapes, apples, and oranges. Dried fruits and fruit spreads are also great to have on hand. I always like to have a fig spread since it pairs so nicely with so many cheeses, but an apricot spread would work nicely too.
Nuts/Olives/Spreads: I’m not a huge olive fan, but they do add a great briny flavor to a board. Raw, roasted, and candied nuts add a nice component to a charcuterie board too. Other items to consider would be mustard, hummus, and tapenade.
Crackers/Bread: Here I try to have an assortment of crackers including gluten-free options. A sliced baguette or two also works well with a charcuterie and cheese board. Just make sure the crackers and bread you select are mild in flavor. You don’t want them to overpower the meat and cheese.
Other tips to consider:
- Line your cutting board with brown parchment paper if using it as a tray. This will leave you with easy cleanup and the food won’t be in contact with the wood.
- Start by laying out your cheeses first in different directions.
- Next, place your meat on the board. Then, fill in the extra spaces with the fruits, nuts, and spreads.
- Last, label your cheeses. I use these cheese markers.
- Keep your crackers and bread on a separate tray so they don’t overcrowd your board.
I hope this is helpful and you consider creating your own charcuterie and cheese board for your next gathering!