Charcuterie boards are all the rage, a true classic when it comes to entertaining. Here I share all of my favorite tips, tidbits and pairings to make an excellent cheeseboard that everyone will truly love. My main tip, add what you like!
Cheese for Everyone
Over the last year or so, I've been learning more about the world of cheese and what a delicious world that is. There are so many styles, flavors and textures, not to mention all the cheeses that come from different milks and mixes of milks too. There is truly a cheese for everyone.
Here, I gathered all the tips, tidbits and pairings to make an incredible charcuterie board that everyone will truly love.
Cheese Board vs. Charcuterie Board
There is a difference when it comes to a cheese board or a charcuterie board. Technically, the word "charcuterie" translates to meats in French. So if you were making a board full of only cheese, it wouldn't be a charcuterie board. But once you start adding meats, then it is.
What Goes on a Simple Charcuterie Board
This is where you can have fun with what you have! I like to raid my cabinets and pantry for variety and different finger foods to add to the board.
- Olives and/or Pickles
- Fresh or Dried fruit
- Honey and/or Jams
How to Arrange a Charcuterie Board
- Start by arranging the cheeses on the board
- If using bowls for jams, arrange bowls around the platter.
- Fold meats if desired and arrange in empty spots.
- Fill empty spots with olives, fruit, nuts, etc.
- Add serving utensils to cheeses and jams and honey.
Tips on Making a Meat and Cheese Board
- Have a variety of options with different textures, flavors and colors if possible
- Same goes with meat, have a variety of meat, such as. hard salami or a funky prosciutto
- Keep it FULL. What is so eye catching about cheese boards, is how full and abundant they look. So fill in the gaps with nuts or fruit.
- Serve cheeses with it's own serving utensils.
- Same with jams, if having multiple jams or honey, serve each one with it's own spoon.
- Bring cheeses to room temperature before serving, about 20 minutes before you are planning on eating. This will open up the flavors of the cheese.
And finally…add what you like! What is so fun about making charcuterie boards is the variety of flavors and bites. So add what you love and everyone will love it!
Cheeses for Cheese Board
I always like to suggest working in odd numbers, since it's more visually appealing and gives you variety.
The three cheeses I always recommend to start off with for a simple cheese board are:
- Brie: Double cream D'Affinois is shown in the photos, buttery and mild. I also love a creamy triple cream brie such as Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam or St. Nuage, both incredibly decadent with a mild rind.
- Aged Gouda or Aged Cheddar: 15 months + older so you can enjoy those lovely crystals that develop in aged cheese.
- What I like to call this, the "wild card", such as a blue cheese, such as creamy gorgonzola or roquefort or sliceable alpine style, such as Gruyere or Comté or a tangy goat cheese.
Other notable mentions: marinated goat cheese with olive oil and herbes,burrata with olive oil and flakey sea salt.
Meats for Charcuterie Board
- Salami: I am really liking Creminelli Barolo Salami as a hard salami where you slice it yourself or try a sliced Sopressata that is flavored with pepper and garlic.
- Prosciutto or Speck: Another pork charcuterie option that offers a bit of funk and saltiness. Look for speck instead of prosciutto, which is the same cut, but speck is smoked rather than cured like prosciutto.
- Bresaola: If you don't eat pork, look for this beef charcuterie option.
- Olives: Castelvetrano Olives are our favorite, they are mild, buttery and addictive.
- Pickles and Peppers: Such as peppadews or cornichons
- Fruit: figs, grapes, pick seasonally
- Jams: This fig jam is always a crowd pleaser!
- Honey or Honeycomb
- Nuts: Almonds or Marcona Almonds are fantastic!
- Crackers and/or Crostini
Cheese Pairing Suggestions
- Aged Gouda + Fig Jam
- Red Peppadews + Goat Cheese
- Brie Cheese + Fig Jam or Pepper Jelly
- Gorgonzola + Honeycomb
- Soft Goat Cheese + Olive Oil + Herbes de Provence
- Manchego + Quince Paste or Quince Jam
More Cheesy Appetizers to Try
- Manchego and Roasted Pepper Stuffed Mushrooms
- Roasted Tomatoes with Basil Oil and Burrata
- Vegetarian Mezze Platter
Simple Charcuterie Board
- 4 ounces goat cheese cut into cubes
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoons herbes de provence
- 4 ounce double cream brie
- 4-6 ounces aged gouda broken up into chunks
- 4 ounces Gruyere or Comté sliced thin
- ½ cup Fig jam
- ¼ cup Almonds
- ½ cup Whole Castelveltrano olives
- ¼ cup Cured olives
- 4 ounces Sliced salami
- 2 ounces Sliced prosciutto
- Fresh fruit: figs grapes, clementines, etc
- In a small bowl, gently toss the cubed goat cheese with olive oil and herbes de provence.
- Arrange cheeses on a board or platter and spoon fig jam into a small bowl and arrange on platter.
- Fill gaps with olives, sliced meat, nuts and fresh fruit.