This post has been a long time coming! I’ve always loved a good app board (now referred to as the ever fancy “Charcuterie” board) and have shared them with you all on Instagram and from time to time in blog posts, like this patriotic spread on my 4th of July Dinner Party post. I typically get asked how to make a charcuterie board and what items I use. While I would love to think I’m an adventurous foodie, I am very much a creature of habit. In today’s post I’m sharing the items I routinely use for these crowd pleasing appetizers and all of my best tips for styling the perfect charcuterie board.
Find A Great Board + Accessories
The first step to making a great charcuterie board is just that…the board! Cheese boards can be found at just about any price point, and at dozens of retailers you probably already shop at (from Target, to Pottery Barn, to Amazon, etc). You can even find really stunning vintage cutting boards if you’re that type (I am, just FYI). I think it’s good to have a few cutting boards or cheese boards on hand that vary in size. I have one that I use when hosting just a few people, one for girls’ nights, and one for larger family gatherings. Here are a few great options to choose from!
And here are a few additional accessories to keep on hand when making your charcuterie board!
Charcuterie Board Grocery List
I now bring you the ultimate shopping list for creating your perfect charcuterie board! This is a very loose formula that I go by when shopping to create my own appetizer boards for parties, get togethers, etc. Of course, everyone has different tastes, so you may find that you prefer to include more items from a particular category over another. You may even want to omit a category all together – it’s completely up to you! When making charcuterie boards I ALWAYS include mini pickles, olives, summer sausage, pepper sausage, brie, some type of cheddar and dried fruit in my charcuterie boards. I also love the mozzarella & salami wraps you can find at the grocery store! But that’s just me. Look over this list and tell me how you’d make your ideal charcuterie board!
- MEATS (pick 2-3): Prosciutto, Salami, Speck, Bacon, Mortadella, Cured Sausage
- CHEESES (pick 2-3): Gouda, Mozzarella, Aged Cheddar, Swiss, Blue Cheese, Goat Cheese, Brie, Havarti, Manchego, Burratta
- GRAINS (pick 2-3): Baguette, Whole Grain Crackers, Thin Crackers, Crispy Bread Sticks, Round Crackers
- FRUITS (pick 1-3): Red grapes, Green grapes, Clementines (peeled), Apples (sliced), Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Pears, Peaches, Cherries
- NUTS (pick 1-2): Cashews, Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Glazed pecans
- SAVORY: (pick 1-2): Olives, Pickles, Snap peas, Heirloom tomatoes, Artichokes, Pickled Veggies
- SWEET (pick 1-2): Dried apricots, dried mangos, dark chocolate, chocolate covered almonds
- SPREADS (pick 1-2): Hummus, Whipped feta, Apricot jam, Berry jam, Honey
- DECORATIVE (pick 1-2): Blood oranges, Pomegranates, Figs, Radishes, Herbs (like rosemary or thyme)
Focus on Flavor Pairings
You have your grocery list, but how do you put them together to make the perfect charcuterie board? Focus on yummy flavor pairings! Start with the base of your choice (could be crackers, a toasted French baguette, ciabatta, pita, whatever you like!), and stack the pairings below on top. If you have a pairing that you’ve created and loved, be sure to share them with me! I’m always down to try something new.
- Proscuitto + apricot jam + honey
- Panchetta + goat cheese + fig jam
- Fig + ricotta + honey
- Goat cheese + walnuts + honey
- Brie + blackberry jam + candied pecans
- Salami + apples + cheddar
I love going down an instagram rabbit hole as much as the next girl. My favorite accounts to follow for cheeseboard inspiration are @thatcheeseplate, @nashvillecheesegal, @cheesebynumbers, and of course, my friend @tasteandseegvl. I also made this charcuterie Pinterest board for more ideas and inspiration if you want to check it out and pin some of your favorites.
How to Make a Charcuterie Board
I always start out by laying down the items that will take up the most space on the board. This time, I set out the ramekins, the wedge of brie, and the jams first, and placed them at opposing points across the board. I like to use the little ramekins to hold items like olives & pickles to add dimension and keep the juices from transferring to other items on the board!
Next, I focused on laying out the crackers, meats, and cheeses I had pre-sliced. The only meat I didn’t put out at this point was the prosciutto, since I knew I wanted it to sort of stand folded between the items once everything was assembled! I used two types of crackers (one of which was literally wheat thins), a block of white cheddar cheese, those mozzarella + prosciutto wraps you can find in the deli section at the grocery store, and summer sausage. All this goes to show that you don’t need tons of fancy/expensive items on your board – the simple stuff is crowd pleasing and still looks pretty!
Next, I add fruits and nuts to add color and fill in the empty spaces on the board! This time, I used blackberries, raspberries, dried apricots, pistachios, and walnuts. The pistachios were also especially helpful in filling the space around the edges of the board! The fruit & nuts are delicious, yes, but I really find them most helpful for styling purposes. I love a good dried apricot as much as anybody, but I REALLY love the touch of color they add to an otherwise very beige cheese board!
And that’s it! Obviously, be sure to serve the charcuterie board with the appropriate utensils. I included a little spoon with each of the jams, and a knife for the brie. I do find it’s best to pre-slice as much as you can before hand so people aren’t fighting for the utensils all night, and so the board stays looking pretty and not like a hot mess of random cheese remnants.
When In Doubt, Outsource It
If buying groceries and assembling apps isn’t your thing (and if you are local to the SC Upstate) then I have a great resource for you! My best friend, Jordan, has recently started Taste and See Greenville and makes the best custom grazing boards. You can visit her instagram account to see a few of the charcuterie boards she has created for dinner parties, corporate events, baby showers, girls’ nights, tailgating and more. She can make anything you can envision and loves to do custom boards for birthdays, holidays and events. If you want to know more or are interested in booking her then reach out to her on Instagram or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are a few of her boards for even more inspiration!
Pin for Later!