Love to impress your guests? We’ve partnered with Hanna Pak of Mama Pak’s Kitchen to demonstrate how to make a charcuterie board with wow factor. Some assembly required.
As the holiday season is fast approaching, it’s a good time to gather some ideas for hosting get-togethers for our family and friends. A charcuterie board is one of the top choices for any type of entertaining, and it’s often quite easy to put together. With this step-by-step instruction of charcuterie board ideas, you will be wowing your guests as the hostess with the mostess!
We are all naturally drawn to beautiful things, and when guests are presented with a spread that is appealing to the eyes, it can even impact the taste. When building a charcuterie board, serveware plays a huge role in stepping up your presentation game. Some of my must-haves are a long wooden board, a cheese board, cheese knives, a few serving trays and a selection of mini bowls/dishes. The rustic yet modern look of these products will bring out the vibrant colors of each food item for anyone who comes across this impressive spread.
Assembling the Charcuterie Board
The great thing about making a charcuterie board is that there are no set rules. Explore and be adventurous in your selection and I guarantee it will bring all kinds of smiles!
Meats – A variety of cured meats is where it’s at. Everyone has their favorites, but my go-to cured meats are salami, prosciutto, porchetta, sausage and chorizo. Ask the butcher for suggestions if you are overwhelmed by the selection.
Pâté or Terrine (meat paste) – This creamy spreadable paste is really a preference for many, as it is simply amazing when spread on a toasted baguette or cracker.
Cheese – Offer a variety of different types in texture and taste. Since everyone’s preferences are different, choose the ones that work best with your palette. I normally plate six different types:
- Fresh cheese – burrata
- Soft cheese – camembert and brie
- Semi-soft cheese – herbed gouda
- Firm cheese – applewood smoked cheddar
- Hard cheese – parmigiano reggiano
- Veined cheese – gorgonzola
Pickles – Pickled vegetables go hand-in-hand with meats and cheeses. Gherkins and olives are a great start. You can also try adding some marinated artichokes, pickled onions, pickled green beans or cocktail onions.
Spreads – Sweet and savory spreads such as whole grain mustard, fig jam, apricot preserves and honey are few of my favorites to pair with a slice of meat or cheese. If it’s homemade, even better!
Nuts and Dried Fruits – These serve as great palate cleansers in between meat and cheese samplings. I usually go with dried apricots, dried prunes, dried dates, cashews, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts.
Fresh Fruits – In addition to dried fruits, fresh fruits are also an essential. Pairing gorgonzola cheese with a slice of pear and drizzle of honey or wrapping a fig half with a slice of prosciutto are a few of my absolute favorites. Can’t forget the grapes and apples to complete the spread!
Bread and Crackers – Sliced baguette (fresh or toasted) is what I always serve, but I also like to add something crunchy like crostini, rye crisps, plain crackers and/or breadsticks. For a gluten-free option, include some rice crackers too.
Wine, Beer and Cocktails – Last but not least, alcohol! This is a great opportunity to introduce friends to your favorite white or red. If you feel like trying something new, take a trip to your wine shop or a local brewery. This spread is not limited to only wines. Bring on the beers and cocktails!
Position the meat board in the center of the table to make it the focal point; then place the cheese board nearby. Surround the boards with condiments, accompaniments and breads.
Pickled Onions Recipe
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 clove of garlic, halved
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ apple cider vinegar (you can also use white wine or rice wine vinegar)
- 1 cup water, warm
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
Combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk until sugar and salt is dissolved.
Place sliced onion in an 18oz canning jar. Pour vinegar mixture over the onions.
Add garlic and black peppercorns. Stir gently.
Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour to use right away. Otherwise cover jar and refrigerate for one to two days for maximum flavor.
Pickled Green Beans Recipe
- Handful of green and/or yellow beans (enough to cover the jar), blanched
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, halved
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn medley or black peppercorns
- 3 dried red chile peppers
- ½ tablespoon dried dill weed
In a medium saucepan, add water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, peppercorns, chile peppers and dill weed. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer for two to three minutes.
Place blanched green beans in an 18oz canning jar. Pour vinegar mixture over the green beans.
Let cool, then cover jar and refrigerator for one to two days for maximum flavor.
Want more easy entertaining ideas? See how the Beeroness hosts a Beer Tasting Party.