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How to Make a Simple Charcuterie Board

 When you are hosting a dinner or family gathering a simple charcuterie board can be the answer to the question about what to serve as an appetizer. 

Assembling a simple charcuterie board is easy and fun and your guests will love the variety of snack options on your board. Charcuterie boards are a fun way to start your holiday or New Year's parties.

Making A Simple Charcuterie Board

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You can easily assemble a charcuterie board.
Traditionally charcuterie boards are made of meats and cheeses but I like my platters to include an assortment of meat, cheeses, olives, pickles, fruits, nuts, dips, bread, and crackers.

Tips for Simple Charcuterie Boards

The key to a great charcuterie board is VARIETY.

First, choose a platter or board for your charcuterie display. Platters can be a preferred choice because they often have a lip around the edge that will help contain the charcuterie's ingredients. Keeping a supply of boards like these on hand means you'll always be ready for a tasty charcuterie.

Choose the board size to fit your need. You’ll need a large board for a large gathering of friends and family or you can use a salad or dessert plate for your personal charcuterie board.

Consider a board like this that includes serving tools and you'll always be ready to pull together and impressive appetizer board.

You can use boards, trays, and platters for charcuterie.

You'll also want to gather any small bowls you will need for dips or snack foods. White ceramic ramekins are good choices. Place the bowls on your board before your get started to be sure they will fit.  Don't forget any spoons, cheese knives, toothpicks, or spreaders you may need on your board.

Next, you’ll want to choose a variety of meats and cheeses, the amount depending on the number of people you will be serving. 

Start with three to four cured meats. Arrange them in groupings around your board. 

Meat options include salami, soppressata, prosciutto, and sliced ham.

How much will you need? 

A simple charcuterie borad.

People often ask how much meat and cheese they will need.  It's hard to say.  The amount often depends on how long your guests will be snacking on the charcuterie board and if there will be other appetizers served.  I err on the side that more is better.  I always have extra to replenish the board as the ingredients start to disappear.

When selecting cheese think about the tastes of the people you will be serving. Will they prefer the standards like cheddar and brie or will they like more exotic flavors like blue cheese and smoked gouda? Generally, you should choose a combination of hard and soft cheeses. 

You'll want to choose three to four cheeses of various textures and flavors. 

Good hard cheese options include cheddar, gouda, Colby, pepper jack, and muenster. 

Good soft cheese options include brie, Camembert, blue cheese, and various herbed cheese spreads like Boursin.

Vary the shapes of your cheeses.  Cut some into slices and some into cubes. Arrange the cheeses in groupings near the meats on your board.

Add a variety of nuts and fruits for variation in color and texture. I love to use cashews, pecans, or almonds on my boards but any of your favorites will be perfect. Think about selecting sugared or spiced nut varieties for some flavor variation. 

Seasonal fruits are always good choices.  Grapes and berries work on charcuterie boards because you don’t have to fuss in preparing them and their color adds pop to your board.

Here's How to Assemble Your Charcuterie Board

Other Charcuterie Tips

How much will your charcuterie board cost? 
Assembling the ingredients for your charcuterie can be pricey. Think about the amount of money you want to spend and choose accordingly. It’s always a good idea to start in your own pantry to see what you might have on hand already.

You may be able to find budget-friendly meat options pre-packaged in your local grocery store. Don’t forget stores like Costco, BJs, and Sam’s Club. These stores are also good options for nuts in bulk.

Can you make your charcuterie board ahead of time? 
You can make a charcuterie board up to 24 hours before you will serve it. You’ll just want to wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it refrigerated. It’s a good idea to take your board out of the refrigerator 40 to 60 minutes before serving so your cheeses can warm a bit for the best flavor.

All in all, charcuterie boards are wonderful options when entertaining.  You can make them ahead of time, they are self-serve appetizer options, and guests love them.  

Dips to Add  to Your Charcuterie Board

Caramelized Onion Dip: Get the printable recipe here.




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