The charcuterie board is elegant. It's creative. It's like a cheese and cracker tray on steroids. It can be tailored to suit your every need and adjusted to fit the taste of your gathering.
It's simple, it's trendy, and it's what you need to bring to your next gathering.
The Art of the Board
The first thing to consider before you embark on this journey of cultured cracker displays, is what kind of vessel are you going to use? There is no right or wrong answer to this question.
More often than not, people opt for a literal board -- a piece of wood that is elegantly crafted, smooth, and beautiful to behold. However, this is not a necessity. You could use a simple, small cutting board or a large platter. You could use a piece of cardboard or a cookie sheet -- people have even made "jar"cuterie boards using individual mason jars!
Whatever you decide to use, be sure you consider the size of the board. Because they often include so many different elements, it's best to opt for a larger size to ensure you include a good quantity of each food item.
What are you making this for? Is it a holiday? Are there certain colors you should include? Where is it? What is the weather like? Who is going to be there? Would kids enjoy it?
These are some questions you can ask yourself while building your board. This sounds complicated, but I promise, it's truly not-- there is absolutely no required structure to follow when making your board. These are simply ideas to use when you're trying to figure out what elements to include.
For example, if you were going to be celebrating a child's birthday out in the tropics, your charcuterie board would look very different than a board for a New Years' celebration in negative-degree temperatures. Considering these elements helps as you choose elements and display for your board.
Okay, now the actually important part. What kinds of food are you going to put on your board?
The theme has a lot to do with this decision, but typically charcuterie boards include a variety of cured meats, several soft/hard cheeses, crackers, olives, nuts, fresh fruits, fruit spreads, and pickled items (like pickled beets, carrots, onions, etc.).
There are a million different options. When you include a variety of things, everyone is able to find something they enjoy munching on.
Your arrangement has a lot to do with what kind of board you choose and the sorts of food you include. Your best bet for arrangement, though, is going to include placing foods with contrasting tones and textures next to each other.
For example, if you're including several different kinds of cured meats, you could display them in elegantly-folded rows, alongside different cheeses. Scatter in a few small, decorative bowls filled with different olives and fruit spreads. For pops of color, add in some blueberries, strawberries, and apple slices. Fill in the holes with different kinds of crackers, scatter a few mixed nuts here and there, and you'll be well on your way to creating a memorable charcuterie board.
You can be as creative as you'd like with the arrangement -- from simple rows to scattered artistry, there is no "right way" to lay out a charcuterie board. If you need more examples, Pinterest has about a million of them!
As you ponder what to place on your board, consider shopping at our market! We have all kinds of fruit spreads and snacks that will pair perfectly with your crackers and meat. Our array of available apples will allow you to provide different tastes and textures on your board, and you can even pick up a couple of bottles of wine to pair with it. What goes better with cheese and crackers than wine?
What do you like to put on your board? Have you made one before? Let us know in the comment section!