It seems like this time of year is all about FOOD! Besides counting your blessings, what else is Thanksgiving for than eating everything in site!
When I host, I always like to have something out for the guests to snack on throughout the party. Having a charcuterie board is the perfect option. Not only is it a great talking point, but it keeps guests happy and snackin’.
In the past few years, I have recently enjoyed putting together charcuterie boards. And I always get questions on how I assemble them. I didn’t take a class, learn from my mom, or anything of the such. It is just a skill I have acquired through pure enjoyment. So, I have put together a how-to on charcuterie board assembly.
First, I determine what “board” I will use. Depending on how many people I am serving determines the size of the board, or if I even use a board at all. What is great about charcuterie boards is that you get to be completely creative- there is no right or wrong way of doing it. For a small board, I like to use a serving tray as pictured below. It is easy to assemble and carry to your destination. For mini boards, you can even use a wood or marble cutting board if you are serving 2-4.
What I have recently enjoyed creating are charcuterie displays. Using butcher paper (or brown shipping paper) rolled out onto the serving table makes for a rustic, yet classy medium that accommodates a large crowd. Plus, it makes me a SUPER easy cleanup. I get mine from the Dollar Tree for only $1 in the shipping section, but you can also get them HERE and HERE.
I like to use a wide variety of cheeses. Believe it or not, I actually don’t like cold cheeses. And I honestly don’t know a lot about cheeses at all. So I try and get a wide variety when I go. I will eat pepper jack cheese (as most people do), so I will always get cubes or a block and cut it up into cubes. Cheddar or Colby Jack is also another safe option. While you’re getting a wide variety of flavors, don’t forget to get a wide variety of colors and shapes, too. Brie is a popular soft cheese, and typically comes in a pretty slice. I always get a flavored cheese ball. Gouda is also a great option. And encrusted goat cheese logs are a pretty option as well to add some color.
FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Cheese pairs well with fresh produce, so I like to incorporate some into my boards. Grapes are a good space filler, so keep them on the stems and place in several spots throughout your board. I also like adding blackberries for elegance and carrots for a crunch. Depending on the time of year, you can also do strawberries, blueberries, apple slices, celery, etc.
BREADS & CRACKERS
You have to have crackers and breads as a vehicle for the snackin’. I like using a variety of crackers, sliced baguettes, and even pretzels thins. Fan them out for a sophisticated look that takes little effort.
I will always add some sort of protein to the boards. My go-to is pepperoni, but you can also use a summer sausage, prosciutto rolls, etc. and layering them on top of each other.
Adding dips, jellies, and sauces is a great final touch to every bite. My favorite is the Pineapple Red Pepper Jelly from Kroger. It is sweet, yet has a kick and is a big hit every time! You can also do hummus (of any flavor), spinach-artichoke dip, beer cheese, jams, or any other type of spread you prefer.
I like to mix sweet and savory, so adding a combination of each makes for a well-rounded board. Pickles, dark chocolate bites, assorted nuts, chocolate covered goodies, etc. are all good options to add to your boards to curb every craving.
To get festive with it, I like to add seasonal items. For Halloween, I added in some mini pumpkins and candy corn. For Thanksgiving, I did some mini pies and some eucalyptus, as pictured. You can add pinecones and evergreen twigs for a fun Christmas look. For a non-themed boards, use rosemary stalks as your greenery.
- Start with your larger items, like cheese balls, cheese blocks, jars of dips and jellies, and decor pieces. Then you can fill around those pieces.
- I like to get all my items from Kroger, Aldi’s, or Trader Joe’s. They have the best options for great prices.
- Make it colorful! Be sure to get a wide variety of items and space out the color tones throughout the board so you are not clumping the same color groups together.
- To break up some common color themes, like yellows and browns, add in your floral pieces or greenery for a pop of color.
In all, when making my charcuterie boards, my number 1 tip is this: get creative with it. It doesn’t have to look perfect and you don’t need the most elegant ingredients. Use what you have and like and just add in some fun, festive decor, florals, candies, and whatever else your heart desires.