Charcuterie Made Simple: 5 Components You Need For Your Board

Follow these simple guidelines to create a charcuterie board for your next party.

‘Tis the season for entertaining, and a shareable appetizer like a charcuterie board is a stunning way to bring your guests together.

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While they’ll easily become the highlight of your holiday party menu, charcuterie boards are deceptively simple to create.

Choosing how you want to assemble your charcuterie board can feel overwhelming, and you might even not be sure which flavors work well together. To make it simple, choose several foods from each of these five categories:

  • Cheeses
  • Meats
  • Fruits and/or veggies
  • Crackers and/or bread
  • Spreads

Cheeses for charcuterie boards

Here are four types of cheeses that work well together. Choose one of each:

  • Something aged: These cheeses are sharp and hard or firm in texture. Examples include cheddar, gruyere and gouda.
  • Something soft: These cheeses are exactly that — soft! They make a lovely contrast to the harder cheeses. Examples include brie, camembert and goat cheese.
  • Something firm: Firm cheeses have a little bit of bounce to them. Examples include manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano and edam.
  • Something blue: Blue cheeses are typically spotted through out and have a rich flavor. Examples include gorgonzola, Roquefort and stilton.

Meats for charcuterie boards

When it comes to picking protein, you’ll want to make sure your board has:

  • Something whole: Meats preserved whole are what probably come to mind first when you think of charcuterie board meats. Examples include thin-sliced prosciutto, bresaola and jamòn.
  • Something smooth: Smooth meats, or force meats, are great for spreading on crusty toast. Examples include paté and rillettes de canard.
  • Something cured: These thicker meats will add heartiness to your board. Examples include salami, Spanish chorizo, rosette de Lyon, French saucisson, cured sausage and hunter’s sausage.
  • Something dry: Lastly, dry meats will add a savory, smoky flavor. Examples include bacon and pancetta.

Breads and crackers for charcuterie boards

To get the yummy ingredients from the table to the tummy, you’ll want to add some carriers:

  • Two breads: Bread options include French sourdough, asiago ciabatta or raisin-pecan rye for a sweeter option.
  • Two crackers: Water crackers are virtually flavorless and allow the other charcuterie to shine. Other options include thin multigrain crackers and crispy breadsticks or dipping sticks.

Fruits and vegetables for charcuterie boards

Fruits and veggies add an element of surprise to your board. Make sure to include these flavors:

  • Two sweet: This category includes fruits and veggies with higher sugar content. Examples include apples, grapes and beetroots.
  • Two salty: Dried fruits also tend to pair well with meats and cheeses. Examples include dried figs, dates and apricots.

Spreads for charcuterie boards

Include two main flavors for spreads as well:

  • Two sweet: Examples include apple butter, apricot jam, fig spread and local honey.
  • Two sour: Examples include grainy mustard and chutney and roasted pepper bruschetta.

Tip: Your guests will probably want to wash their hands after digging into your beautiful board. You’ll feel proud to display Foaming Hand Soap from Home Made Simple in your guest bathroom — it smells as good as it looks and gently cleans hands.

Finishing touches

Time to top it all off and make your charcuterie board look pretty! These finishing touches will set your board apart:

  • One crunchy: Great options include peanuts, walnuts, almonds or pistachios.
  • Two soft: Choose one type of green olive and one type of black olive to complement each other.
  • One pretty: Sprigs of fresh herbs placed throughout the board can also add some flavor. Examples include rosemary, basil, thyme and sage.

Voila! You’ve created an eye-catching appetizer that’s almost too pretty to eat. If you stick to these guidelines, your board will be anything but boring.

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