What makes charcuterie boards fun is that there are no strict rules you have to follow. You can get creative with it and put your own favorite combo of ingredients together. If you want to keep it simple and not spend a fortune, try using these 5 ingredients. They’re an excellent foundation and will keep everyone happy.
I recommend starting with the board choice. This helps to know the amount of every ingredient you will need. Whether you just need one board (perfect for a date night) or a few boards (which I recommend if you’re having a larger gathering so there is plenty to go around), I have a variety of options to pick from. Be sure and lay down a piece of parchment paper under the food if the board is not food safe, plus it makes for easier clean up. Below are some of my favorite board choices from shopfromsusie.com.
The common foods for charcuterie boards are cured meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, crackers, breads, and spreads. To make it a more seasonal board, include chocolates and other candies. However, the simplest board will always have these five things: fruit, nuts or olives, cheese, meat, and a carb like bread or crackers.
A few things I recommend when picking out the ingredients: choose some fruits and vegetables that will be your pop of color and try to stay away from only including foods with brown colors or it could appear bland. For example, green and red grapes or bright strawberries make such a pop! Make sure you are incorporating sweet, salty, savory, and spicy ingredients. These are often referred to as the “4 S’s”. This will help create a balanced board. So consider spicy nuts, salty cheese, savory olives and sweet fruits.
When it comes to arranging the board, place your bowls where you want them first. Bowls will hold spreads and dips as well as smaller foods like nuts or small dried fruit. Then, work around the bowls beginning with the meat and cheese, adding in your thinly sliced fruits, vegetables, and bread. Add in stems of herbs for more color and smell. This is the fun part where you can arrange to your liking. Just be sure to mix the colors throughout the board and to fill in any holes you see. You want it to look very full. Often times I will add little plates directly on the board if I have room.
Tell me your favorite charcuterie ingredients in the comments below! xo!