Charcuterie boards are all the rage right now, and it’s easy to see why. These rustic presentations of meats, cheese, fruits, nuts, and other finger foods reflects the casual yet luxurious style that is popular in both decor and fashion. It makes sense to bring the aesthetic to food.
As someone who loves to entertain, I was eager to learn the secret to how to create one of these beautiful boards. With minimal cooking and preparation, charcuterie (pronounced shar-coo-tar-ree) boards are ideal to throw together when you need something easy and elegant.
A friend of mine, Marissa, posts many of her gorgeous creations on Instagram, so I reached out to her and asked for help in creating a beautiful Mother’s Day-inspired charcuterie. She graciously agreed, and helped me create the beauty below.
The wonderful thing about this style is that the ideas work for just about any event. Marissa recently did one for her son’s birthday party that featured all of his favorite snacks. You could also focus on fruits and veggies, or make one that fits into your diet.
For our Mother’s Day board, we used a variety of cheese, crackers, meat, fruit, veggies, and spreads to create a vibrant display. I focused on rich colors and flavors that would pair well with the wine I planned to serve.
Since there are so many options when you make a charcuterie board, this recipe looks a little different. I hope that you will look at the basics and branch out to create your own. Make sure to tag me on social media if you do!
6 Steps for a Picture-Perfect Charcuterie Board:
STEP 1// Choose ingredients with at least three different colors.
Most food is brown, so to create a visually appealing board, incorporate color. For this board, I used the following:
- purples – grapes, blackberries, fig preserves, flowers
- reds – strawberries, pepperoni, hard salami
- greens – olives, spinach dip, cotton candy grapes (so delish by the way), celery sticks, pears, roasted pistachios, and sliced cucumbers
- browns/creams – three types of crackers, several cheeses, honey roasted pecans, deluxe mixed nuts, dark chocolate squares and honey to spread on top
STEP 2// Choose ingredients with a variety of textures.
In this case, there are smooth olives and grapes, rough crackers and nuts, slices of fruits and veggies, and creamy cheeses.
STEP 3// Add flavors that complement one another.
For our board, I combined sweet and savory. We used a fig preserve that worked with nearly all of the cheeses, and the simple flavors of the cucumber and celery balanced the rich spinach dip and other flavors. With the variety of flavors going on already, I kept the flavors in the crackers simple, using Almond thins (gluten-free option), triscuits, and a pretty, ruffled rosemary-flavored cracker.
STEP 4// Incorporate dips and spreads.
Dips and spreads are easy to add to the other flavors and allow guests to customize their plates. We used honey (with a cute honeycomb for drizzling), fig preserves, spinach and artichoke dip (see the recipe in this post), and a soft honey-flavored goat cheese. Soft cheeses work really well on charcuterie boards, but if you are trying to limit dairy, you could go with a pepper jelly, preserve, or even hummus.
STEP 5// Arrange your board using diagonals, placing larger items first.
When you arrange your board, place larger bowls and items first. For example, if you make salami or pepperoni roses, place them diagonally from one another to create an interesting display. Also consider balancing colors, placing greens, purples, and reds in diagonals.
Once you have the large items in place, fill in with crackers, fruit and smaller bowls of olives, pickles, and veggies.
Finally, fill in the gaps with small groups of grapes, nuts, and berries, varying where you place colors.
STEP 6// Add the garnishes.
This is an elegant meal, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to play it up with luxurious garnishes. We used flowers and rosemary from my garden to embellish the goat cheese log and add a feminine feeling to the display.
How to make a Salami or Pepperoni Rose
These are deceptively simple. I was so intimidated at first, but Marissa showed me how to to it. You’ll be surprised.
First, determine if you want a large or small rose. I used both for my display. To make a large rose, use a wineglass. For a small rose, use a champagne flute.
To begin, layer salami or pepperoni slices around the glass, overlapping them by about 1/2 to 2/3. As you go, press them down and crease the meat, so that it stays in place. Keep going until you are satisfied with the amount, or until the center is almost covered.
Finally, put the glass upside down wherever you want the rose to go. It’s really that simple! For the pepperoni, we created small ruffles by bunching the meat on a toothpick.
Formula for a Gorgeous Charcuterie
Remember, you can make it your own, so branch out and get creative!
–Jam, Jellies, Spreads, Preserves – choose at least 1
–Fresh Fruit or Vegetables – choose at least 4
–Crackers – choose at least 2
–Cheese and Meat – choose 1 soft cheese, 1 hard cheese, 1 meat
–Dried Fruit and Nuts – choose at least 1
–Olives, Pickles, Peppers – choose at least 1
–Garnish – choose at least 1
Here is the recipe to recreate my board and the printable PDF.
What goes better with a charcuterie board than a good wine? Here are a few of our more affordable favorites. We love a good cabernet, but we appreciate others as well.
I’d love to hear from you if you try your hand at a charcuterie board. Comment below or tag me on social media (Instagram or Facebook). I can’t wait to make another one. They really are fun to create.
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