Do you wanna build a charcuterie board? If you’re a parent and have watched Frozen I’m pretty sure you sang that on key. So, you have a function coming up and want to do something more captivating than the usual deli meats tray. I have to say excellent choice! Charcuterie boards, pronounced “shahr-kyu-tuh-ree” have become increasingly popular in the past few years as a brunch crowd favorite. When I decided to attempt my first board at Easter brunch with my family, I knew there were a few concepts that would make the perfect board. Read below for the amateur’s guide to the perfect charcuterie board that will be the center of any function.
They say you eat with your eyes, therefore when picking out the items for your board presentation is everything. You can have wonderful ingredients but if they aren’t placed well it won’t give you the look you’re going for. A trick I like is when “stacking” items together are having variety in the “lines”. Meaning if I’m lining something up horizontally I will put the next item next to it slightly perpendicular. This makes the “puzzle” pleasing to the eye. For my first board, I used a glass cutting sheet but feel free to get more creative using stone, wood, metal, or other decorative platters.
The placement is of your items is an integral part of a solid board. It should look like “organized chaos” waiting to be eaten. I choose to include some arugula on my board to create an eye-catching border that was tasty too. The best part of this organized chaos is bringing your creativity and style. It is very easy to get carried away with pairing all of your favorite items together, but when placing items keep in mind the spacing and the overall look of the board. No two boards will be the same, make yours stand out!
Pick items you actually like
Nothing is worse than putting an eye-catching item on your board that isn’t the most tasty choice. Also don’t think you just have to use deli items. People even make boards out of their favorite sweets. The whole point is to make it fun, think of your board as your edible art project. Come to think of it, our food is art. In my opinion, the best boards feature items that are different but mesh, an example would be sweet gherkins and gouda cheese. Also, keep in mind that the tastes of the items need to complement each other so this comes with practice. You wouldn’t put lemons and tart jam together, right?
How I did mine
1. I chose a couple of items at the store that I knew I would enjoy. Crackers, soft and hard cheeses, cured meats, two fruits, some veggie, gherkins, and of course olives. I don’t feel any board is complete without olives.
2. Picked my board. I didn’t have anything fancy so I used my cutting board. Here’s another option that would look great.
3. Start from the outside in with placement. I find when you do it this way it’s easier to figure your “puzzle” and add that separation where needed. Some easy ways to separate the items are bowls or if you don’t have use some item with good borders like a strawberry or arugula.
4. Once items are placed you can add a garnish such as rosemary or parsley, tidy up any loose ends adding, or taking away items for that picture-perfect board.
Meats- Prosciutto, Salami, Pepperoni, sausage
Cheeses-Gouda(amazing) Brie, cream cheese, Sharp Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Manchego,
Crackers- Plain table cracker, buttery crackers, pretzels
Nuts- Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts
Fruits- Raspberries, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, pomegranates, apples
So, with these tips in mind go to your favorite grocery or farmers market, pick up some items and design your own board. Tag me on my instagram to be featured. My favorite wines to pair with more savory boards would be red blends, Pinot Noir, or Cabernets. If you’re going lighter or more sweet I love a Pinot Grigio or Riesling. My all-time favorite would have to be a mimosa, but for the champagne, I would recommend a Brut and not a dry because they have a bit less sugar. Also, make it ahead of time and put it in the fridge, so when you need it all the items are ready to go. As always Winefam I hope these amateur tips helped you and best of luck on your new charcuterie board. Happy dining and may your wine be stronger than your kids.