Be a hosting guru with this delicious, easy, crowd-pleasing Ultimate Charcuterie Board featuring meats, cheese, fruits, veggies and so much more!
“Meat and cheese trays” aren’t some new thing that hit the foodie scene in 2019. They’ve been around for decades. However, the refinement and art of them seem rather new-ish.
Growing up, when Mom put out a meat and cheese tray it was saltines, sliced kielbasa, some type of cheese and maybe some fruit or nuts. And folks LOVED IT!
As you can see by the image above, we’ve most definitely moved away from those days. HOWEVER, I still love a saltine with a slice of kielbasa and a hunk of cheese. And yes I still have that out for snacks too.
What is Charcuterie?
Charcuterie itself is a culinary art of preparing various meats in either smoked or cured manner. Typically charcuterie-style meats are meats like:
but honestly, these days anything can be any type of meat.
What goes on a Charcuterie Board?
I think the better question is “what can’t go on a charcuterie board?” as pretty much anything and everything these days is fair game.
Meats, cheeses, fruits (fresh and dried), honey, dips, crackers, breadsticks, and even dessert-type-things.
For this board, I went with a bit of everything so if you were vegan, vegetarian or carnivore, you could partake!
- Cured Meats – Sopressata and Prosciutto
- Fresh Veggies and Fruits
- Assorted Olives
- Various Cheeses
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Assorted Crackers and Crunchy Breadsticks
- Dip (I went with my French Onion Dip)
Items needed to make a Charcuterie Board
Anything you put food on works – ranging from serving platters to huge cutting boards. I always tell folks to go with what you have on hand. I’ve even used pizza pans.
The Basic Must-Haves
- Serving board or platter
- Smaller bowls to hold olives, dips
- Small appetizer plates
- Toothpicks, tongs or small appetizer forks
- Cheese and Knife Spreading Set
If you’re looking for a great set that has all that you need to start, this is a really cute set that I’ve gifted several times to friends!
Stack it up and keep it vibrant!
Charcuterie boards are meant to draw folks in and are often considering the ‘gathering’ board.
This is where most of your guests will hover around during a party as it’s truly a veritable feast. The key is to not only make it a feast for their bellies but a feast for their eyes.
You want the board to look full and abundant so don’t be afraid to pile stuff on top of itself. It should mound and look truly inviting.
By varying the items, you’re not only adding contrast in textures (like brie cheese and crunchy nuts) but also colors.
Just look below how the seedless grapes just almost burst out of the picture because they are paired next to the Brie cheese and pineapple spears.
Also, give your guests a variety of items. For meats, I always serve at least 3 different types of meats. Cheeses at least 2-3 (one soft, one hard and one in the middle).
Veggies are assorted – whole mini peppers, shaved zucchini, and carrot roll-ups,
You get the idea.
Charcuterie Boards – the new type of meal!
These boards are often seen in restaurants as appetizers but who’s to say it can’t be a meal? I’ve hosted parties where several boards like this have been the actual meal.
People love to graze plain and simple. They love a variety and they love to graze throughout a party.
This is where the charcuterie board is perfect!
How much food do you need per person?
My question back to you would be is this more of an appetizer and you’ll have a main meal OR are you having this be the star with other little plates around it?
For an appetizer, you want to go with 3-4 slices of meat. For the main type of dish, go with 5-6 slices.
For an appetizer, you want to go with about 1-2 ounces. Main go with 3-4 ounces.
Fruits and Veggies
This is something that is probably the hardest to gauge as I tend to always add a ton more fruits veggies as folks see those as “free calories” and tend to indulge in more of these.
I tend to add about a cup or so in a small bowl on each board.
Crackers, Crostini, and breadsticks
Plan on folks eating about 4-6 for an appetizer and 6-10 for a main. You want a variety of this.
Honestly, my best suggestion is to know your guests. Are they hearty eaters or are they ones that will have a bite and that’s it? Adjust how much you make based on that.
Stock your pantry and fridge with extra items!
What I will often do is chop up a bunch of veggies, cheeses, meats ahead of time and store them in the fridge. So if I need to refill during the party, it’s as simple as grabbing the container and replenishing the board.
How to make Veggie Curls
First, you need a “Y” type veggie peeler. I have and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one!
Veggies like cucumbers, squash, zucchini, carrots and the like are perfect for veggie curls!
- Wash and dry your veggies.
- Slowly peel one long, uniformly thin slice of vegetable, leaving the peel visible for decoration.
- Continue peeling until as much as the vegetable is peeled into long, strips.
- To roll, grab one of the long ends and gently roll up away from you. Be careful not to make it too tight otherwise, you will break it.
A Chef’s Tip on Storing Cut Veggies
In the case of veggie curls, to store ahead of time place the strips in an ice water-filled containers, cover, and place in the fridge. When ready to use, remove from water, drain well, and roll.
For veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, wrap them in a moist paper towel and place in a baggie or container but do not seal the bag or close the lid fully on the container.
Let’s see your Charcuterie Boards!
Make sure to pin and save my image below for a great reference!
- 1lb sliced Oven Roasted Turkey, each slice rolled up
- 1lb Deli Roast Beef, each slice rolled up
- 1lb Black Forest Ham, each slice rolled up
- 4–6 Hardboiled eggs, sliced in half
- 2 medium zucchini, shaved into long thin strips
- 3 carrots, shaved into long thin strips
- 1 bag mini bell peppers
- 8 ounces fresh pineapple spears
- 1lb wheel brie cheese
- 1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese
- 1–2 cups each kalamata olives and green olives
- Seedless Grapes
- 1/2–1 cup Cheese Curds
- 1/2 pound prosciutto
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
- 1 pint small tomatoes (cherry or grape)
- 1/2 pound sliced gouda
- 1/3lb sliced soppressata
- 2 cups French Onion Dip
- Assorted Crackers and Breadsticks
- Grab a large serving board. Place the olives, dip into small round containers. Place these on the board spacing them out.
- Add the rolls of meats (turkey, ham, and roast beef) and cheese (brie and cheddar blocks) on the board first.
- Add in the whole veggies like the peppers and tomatoes followed by the larger cuts of fruits and eggs.
- Now start filling in the gaps by adding the veggie curls, sliced cheese (gouda), cheese curds, delicate fruits (raspberries) and small meals like prosciutto and soppressata.
- Place the bunches of grapes around/on top of the board.
- Serve immediately or cover and chill. *If not serving immediately, do not add the veggies curls until ready to serve.
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