How To: Charcuterie Board

So this weekend is the Super bowl and you’re having friends over to your house. Honestly, does anyone go out to bars for the super bowl anymore? I used to think that was a thing but now not so much.

So I don’t remember this myself but apparently my parents used to throw epic super bowl parties. Epic. Babysitters, bar tenders, fully catered, etc. and people got freaking lit. We recently had a conversation about these parties and apparently someone left and then drove up our hill and all the way back behind our house and in to the woods afterwards. I mean I feel like that’s pretty telling about these parties. Man the 90’s when you’re in the music industry. Can you imagine?  Honestly I can’t. But ok I got side tracked, I’ll dig in to THAT another day. 

Ok so you’re having a party. I think we go full fledged grazing... think apps, finger foods, etc. and honestly it doesn’t have to be hard or super fancy. 

Actually... channel your inner Joey Tribbiani playing poker if you can. One syllable foods... Chips. Dip. Pretz.... Hahahaha tell me y’all know this episode. Listen, if you’re here and you don’t watch FRIENDS, you’re in the wrong place. Go home, watch all 10 seasons and get back to me. I think things will make a lot more sense afterwards.

Ok ok... so meat, cheese, fruit alllll only one syllable. Excellent. Now let’s make a badass charcuterie board/grazing station. 

As for your surface, anything flat will do. If you have a beautiful board you love freakin’ use it. If you don’t, that’s ok. Throw down some butcher paper across your island, or counter top, hell even your kitchen table and that’s the perfect starting point. Honestly, sometimes I like it better withOUT and actual board because it makes you get creative and work in non food items like flowers, napkins, drink options, or even little footballs or NFL paraphernalia if you’re up to it. All of those things add color and texture and are very visually appealing.

Now when it comes to food, I always start with the cheeses. I usually pick 3-5 depending on what else I’m putting out. I try to pick different kinds. So think hard, semi hard, semi soft, and soft. Some examples:

  • Hard - Cheddar, Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, aged Asiago, Chestire

  • Semi-firm - Manchego, Provolone, Comte

  • Semi-soft - Gouda, Oka, Stilton

  • Soft - Brie, Goat cheese, Mozzarella, Humboldt Fog, Saint Andre

For me, I always include the basics like goat cheese and blue cheese because people who aren’t foodies always appreciate these. I love Gouda because I feel like it bridges the gap between the everyday snacker and the cheese police. Then I try to mix it something I maybe haven’t tried before for one of my harder cheese.

Below are some of my FAVORITES from Trader Joe’s.

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From there I think of some meats. Most people love Prosciutto. I get it, it’s basically bacon. Recently I’ve gotten a little burnt out on it though so there’s that. I also find the meats that are typically used for these boards are incredibly high in fat. So I always try to include some leaner options because while I love a good charcuterie board, I also love fitting in to my jeans.

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Some go-to’s for meats are

  • Prosciutto

  • Salami

  • Ham

  • Turkey

  • Turkey sausage

  • Smoke salmon

  • Pepperoni

So with the two main parts in mind, I start setting up my board. I mostly think of what I think looks aesthetically pleasing together in terms of color, size, shape and texture and then also try to group things with similar taste like sweet with sweet and savory with savory.

You can see below I’ve place the Gouda with some peppered salami and some summer turkey sausage with Pecorino Romano for example. If you have a ton on space I definitely suggest spacing these all out and then filling in the gaps.

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So from here I go for crackers, bread and dipable veggies. Any assorted cracker is great, honestly. Then I love a full fresh loaf of bread to be sliced. It looks so pretty and will taste super fresh and makes great mini sandwiches.

Some kind of sweeter cracker option is also great. These are perfect to match with the goat cheese or other softer cheeses.

I also throw in things like mini peppers, carrots, celery, snap peas, tomatoes, and any veggie you can dip or use as a shovel to get the real tasty things in your mouth… errrr I mean, use to balance the flavors hahah. A couple of suggestions…

  • Tomatoes and leeks or pickled red onions go great with salmon

  • Carrots and celery are great if you have hummus or with turkey

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Ok you’ve got all your basics now. Honestly, you could leave it at this and be GOLDEN!! But, if you want you’re friends to rave over your board, don’t. Because here’s where the fun and the flavor comes in, in my opinion.

Dips, sauces, condiments, etc.

We talked about offering a variety of flavors, i.e. both sweet and savory, so continue with that here. And if you do nothing else, add honey and mustard. That’s really all it takes.

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Sweet suggestions…

  • honey

  • pepper jam

  • fig jam

  • cream cheese spreads

Savory options

  • pesto

  • hummus

  • mustard

  • capers

  • olive oil with spices

Now fill in the rest of the space with things like dried and fresh fruit, olives nuts, and fresh herbs. You can even throw in things like popcorn, chocolate pieces. My favorites here are

  • dried apricots and figs

  • almonds

  • kalamata olives

  • walnuts

  • grapes

  • roasted red peppers

  • pickles (duh!)

  • apples

Alright, that’s basically it. You can get as creative as you want with this, or keep things super simple and either way it will turn out great. You can’t go wrong her. Honestly, there’s probably a lot already in your fridge and pantry that you can use. It’s all about laying it out in a way that’s pretty and easy to grab!!

Remember to remind guests if there’s anything on the board that’s NOT edible or it things have pits. No one wants to break a tooth here, y’all!! And if you have anyone with major allergies, consider setting things like dairy, eggs, or nuts in their own container or off to the side.

I hope y’all love this and find this super helpful!!

Please leave a note if you have questions or comments or things that have worked really well for you!!

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LOVE,

MEL BELL SHEFF