How to make a good charcuterie board

I can tell you straight up that I am not the hostess with the mostess. When it comes to cooking and creating, I’m golden, but if I’m asked to host something sweet and swanky, I just don’t do that well. I don’t like to plan parties, and I typically just make a mess of everything. When I do get to become a host, my best efforts are usually in my charcuterie board, and I’m going to teach you how to make a good charcuterie board that any party guest will fawn over.

Charcuterie is the best way to show off your tastes, but also show your guests that you are in tune with what they like. This board is usually a love letter to my friends, most of whom are from completely different places. I also like to take a little liberty with my boards and make them fun and eclectic.

  1. Flavors should complement one another
    1. Your board may seem like a bunch of random pairings, but stop that thought, IMMEDIATELY! It sounds so cheesy, but your charcuterie board should take you on a journey. What you place there should be complementary to everything you decide to add to the board. When you decide on your pairings, think of things that really bring out the best in each other. Sweet meets salty. Tangy meets fragrant. Soft meets crunchy. It’s all about making pairs that raise some eyebrows.
  2. Don’t be afraid to do something unconventional.
    1. I once made a charcuterie board that I called “the southern mess.” It had pickles and fried chicken on it. My friends laughed, but it became a really interesting part of our conversation. I have foodie friends, so of course, we talked about our favorite Fried Chicken, and they loved making mini sandwiches with mustard, coppa and fried chicken on rosemary toast.
  3. Cut things into shareable pieces so your guests don’t have to do much work
    1. One thing I hate to do with charcuterie boards is any work. If I’m grazing one at a party, I don’t want to have to do much work to put my plate together. Get things into bite-sized pieces ahead of time, so your group can graze without too much effort.
  4. Consider your drink pairings
    1. Your drink pairings are a highly important part of your charcuterie board prep. Are you serving red, or white wine? Bubbles? Sparkling water? Your choices should be in synch with what you’re serving. Granted – you won’t be able to make everything work together, but you can get multiple pairings out of a board.



The Anatomy of my favorite charcuterie board.

charcuterie-board

My favorite board is pretty eclectic. I start with toasted rosemary french bread, with a little bit of dijon mustard. Then I place some Marcona almonds, McClure’s Pickles (this brand specifically). Some crispy fried chicken breast, sharp Cheddar Cheese cubes, coppa, prosciutto and salami, and some blackberries. There’s something for everyone here! To me, it pairs best with light wines to balance out the richness of some of the items on the board. But it’s the most fun board I build, and it reminds me that I make a MEAN fried chicken.

The one in the photo above has a mix of flavors and textures: salty, crunchy, sharp, garlicky, fragrant, fancy, fruity, and french. Totally doesn’t follow any true rules.

What’s your favorite way to make your board?

 

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