Looking to impress your guests? Charcuterie boards are all about presentation, but have no fear - find out how to whip up a quick and easy charcuterie board that will earn you an A+ in presentation (and taste!) from your guests!
Every party host knows that to throw a good party you need to give your guests something to remember. And, if we’re being honest, they won’t remember your outfit, and by the end of the night they likely won’t recall the venue, leaving them with just one thing: the food in their stomachs. As passionate party hosts and foodies, we know that the key to the heart is through the stomach, so we take our party food to the next level. And, no, we’re not serving caviar and champagne, we have something better...our charcuterie boards! Charcute-what now? Sounds fancy, right? Well, it kind of is. Charcuterie boards are often very expensive and enjoyed by the most elite individuals, however, we believe that everyone deserves to taste the finer things in life so we’ve decided to DIY our charcuterie boards and add a healthy twist. If you’re following a specialty diet like keto or vegan, or you’re looking for some unique charcuterie board ideas that will blow your guests out of the water, then this article is for you.
What is a Charcuterie Board?
Pronounced “shar-koo-tuh-ree”, charcuterie boards are essentially cutting boards packed with fancy meats and cheese. If we’re being technical, the term “charcuterie”, refers to the art of preparing meat. But, don’t freak out if you don’t eat meat or cheese, charcuterie boards have evolved to meet the dietary needs of the modern human and now refer to any cutting-type board with any type of food neatly arranged on them. To be able to call a food board a “charcuterie board” all you really need to do is make the board look picture-worthy!
Why Make a Charcuterie Board?
There are many reasons why you should make a charcuterie board for any sort of gathering:
- It Serves As a Centerpiece: Forget getting expensive flowers and decorations that you’re just going to throw out or forget that they exist! Spending your money on an edible centerpiece is more worth your money! You get to eat it and stare at it, it’s a win-win situation.
- Less Food Waste: Remember those times that you bought all that food and nobody ate it? Well, you won’t have to worry about that with a charcuterie board. The appetizing display will instantly draw guests to it! This also means that you’ll spend less time searching for containers and the matching lid to store away leftovers, and you also won’t have to worry about trying to eat all the food on your own before it spoils .
- Easy Clean Up: One food board means only one mess. Even if you have multiple charcuterie boards, you won’t have to make multiple trips to gather all the dishes or struggle to figure out how you’re going to get all the awkwardly-shaped dishes in the dishwasher. A one-minute wash is all you need to clean up.
- To Add Elegance: Charcuterie boards were initially a symbol of high status. To this day charcuterie boards continue to carry a pretentious feeling to them. There’s just something about displaying food in an untraditional manner that can make an event seem fancier than it actually is. Plus, you and your guests deserve to feel like you’re on top of the world every once in a while.
- Social Media: Let’s be honest, you want the world to know that you are a talented chef. So, making a charcuterie board allows you and your guests to take drool-worthy pictures of the food.
How To Make A Charcuterie Board?
As we previously mentioned, there are many types of charcuterie boards. Charcuterie boards are fully customizable, but there are some unwritten rules. In general, a charcuterie board has something to please every kind of palette: sweet, salty, acidic, crunchy, soft and smooth to name a few. The idea behind a charcuterie board is to provide food that appeals to a whole crowd, despite their taste, textures or in our case dietary preferences. Below is an example of how you can make a classic charcuterie board. The classic is a socialite favourite and the one that started it all. You can think about creating charcuterie boards like casting roles for a hollywood film. Every ingredient plays a role in the overall delivery and flavour balance, creating an oscar-worthy final picture. For a classic charcuterie board you’ll want to include the following:
- A Main Character: Every movie needs a star! Typically, the star is someone or in our case something that you can’t take your eyes off of. For classic charcuterie boards the main attraction is typically a high quality meat or jerky. So, a large proportion of your board should be filled with meat to emphasize its importance. Use a variety of meats with different flavour profiles and smokiness to create interest and dimension.
- A Supporting Character: Not quite the star, but a close second--the supporting character complements the main character in many ways. In the case of a charcuterie board the role goes to cheese. To complement the saltiness of the meat you’ll need to choose cheese with a sweeter undertone like Gouda or Brie. Feel free to add a variety of both hard and soft cheeses.
- The Popular Character: Often portrayed as a player or the popular one, this character tends to get plenty of attention with little effort; Their words are smooth like butter, and they can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. However, some might say that this character often comes off as shallow. So, what food could it be? A dip, of course! Let’s be honest, people fall for a good dip, it looks good, tastes good, and people are often disappointed when they discover how shallow it is. Do you see the resemblance? For a classic charcuterie board think mildly sweet but with a slight kick, like onion and garlic type dips.
- A Jokester: Every movie has a character that just cracks you up, and in our case, its crackers. Different flavours of crackers pair well with this type of charcuterie board. Think neutral and herby flavours like herb & garlic, everything crackers, or just plain good-ol’ crackers. You can also give it a modern and more high-end feel with some seed crackers or with crackers with sweet accents like cranberry.
- A Softie: There’s always that one character that we sympathize with; They’re tough on the outside but typically soft on the inside. Can you guess what food we casted to play the role? It’s bread--more specifically baguettes! Baguettes are neutral in flavour and have just the right balance of hard and soft textures making them excellent partners for dips, spreads and other toppings.
- A Wanna-Bee: When it comes to charcuterie boards, the attention-seeking side-kick to the main character takes the form of olives. Although olives may seem like the main event, they serve more of a palette cleanser roll on the board. Olives are not usually paired with the other foods on the charcuterie board, but they’re essential for the story line. You’ll need a variety of olives to help to cleanse every palette.
- A Villain: Every movie has a villain, and although ours is not technically evil, it does take the story to the next level. We are referring to toppings! From jams to sauces, a little bit is all you need to get you hooked. For the classic charcuterie board, sweet jams, like apricot or strawberry, pair well with cheeses, and herby pestos or pastes pair best with meat.
- The Background Actors: Although it may seem like they’re not even there, background actors are crucial to make the film come to life.These background actors are often forgotten, but every once in a while they catch your attention. For the classic charcuterie board you’ll need to cast both fruits and vegetables as your background actors. Most often, these fruits and vegetables are added raw, but using dried fruit can add an extra ounce of luxury.
Other Charcuterie Board Ideas:
- Keto Breakfast Charcuterie Board: Keto french toast, keto pancakes, keto jam, keto peanut butter dip, egg & cheese cups, and bacon!
- Vegan Dessert Charcuterie Board: Vegan cookies, vegan brownies, vegan pretzels, sweet fresh and dried fruits like berries and grapes, vegan chocolate (white, dark), vegan chocolate dip, peanut butter cups and graham crackers!
- Taco Tuesday Charcuterie Board: Hard taco shells, soft taco shells, plant-based protein or meat or beans, salsa, chips, queso, crema, roasted bell peppers, onions and jalapeno peppers!
- Gluten-Free S'mores Charcuterie Board: All types of gluten-free chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows, popcorn, cookies, pretzels and a hot chocolate dip!
- Movie Night Charcuterie Board: popcorn in different flavours, pretzels, chips, sweet chocolate candies, gummies, puffs, licorice, and some fresh strawberries and grapes!
Key Takeaways & Closing Remarks:
Creating a charcuterie board is easy! It’s all about having a variety of fun foods available! To build a charcuterie board all you need is different foods and a board! But, remember that the key to a good charcuterie board is presentation! Tossing all your food on a tray won’t cut it. It's important to neatly arrange the food and have foods that balance each other out. However, you can feel free to fully customizable your board and tweak it to fit your event or diet. No matter what kind of charcuterie boards you choose to make, we’re confident that with any of our foods you and your guests won't be disappointed. So grab your board, your favourite goodies and let’s start putting your food board together!