Charcuterie boards – aka grazing board, meat and cheese board, platter dinner (at Andersen casa) – are trending, and I’ve curated a collection of 10 Unique Charcuterie Board Ideas built around a theme. From Mexican to French to pancakes, they’re sure to expand your definition of “charcuterie board,” and how you can create your own!
🧀 How to Assemble a Charcuterie Board
Assembling a charcuterie board is a creative and flexible process, allowing you to showcase a variety of cuisines, flavors, textures, and colors. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you assemble a charcuterie board:
Choose your components.
- Start with the Board or Platter – Select a large wooden board, piece of slate, platter, marble slab, or any other visually appealing surface to arrange your charcuterie. I have even used a baking sheet with an interesting patina. Make sure it is clean and food-safe.
- Select cured meats or other proteins – Choose a variety of cured meats to include on your board. Popular options include prosciutto, salami, chorizo, coppa, and soppressata. Falafels, and small meatballs are less typical, but great options!
- Select cheeses – Choose cheeses that vary in flavor, texture, and type. Include soft cheeses like brie, creamy goat cheese, firm cheeses like cheddar or gouda, and perhaps a more pungent cheese like blue cheese. Cut them into chunks. Don’t overlook cheese spreads and dips (ie. hummus, salsas, etc).
- Consider spreads and dips – Add bowls or small dishes with spreads like honey, fig jam, olive tapenade, mustard, or hummus to complement the meats and cheeses. I include salsa and avocado hummus with my Mexican-inspired charcuterie board. Colorful bowls look great on your chosen board!
- Include Bread and Crackers – Offer a selection of crusty bread, baguette slices, breadsticks, and an assortment of crackers. Chips pair well with salsas and dips.
- Choose Accompaniments – Enhance the flavors and presentation of your charcuterie board by adding complementary accompaniments. Some popular options include fresh or dried fruits (grapes and dates are favorites at Andersen casa). Nuts, olives, and pickles always find a place on my boards. We especially love Marcona almonds.
- Garnishes – Fill in the gaps with herbs – like parsley, rosemary, and dill come to mind – and edible flowers if you like them. I usually find a way to slip in a few pieces of dark chocolate!
Put it all together!
Remember, the beauty of a charcuterie board lies in its versatility, so feel free to experiment with different ingredients, flavors, and arrangements to suit your preferences and occasion. Refer to the photos in the collection for placement ideas.
- Start by anchoring your board with bowls or small plates. These will hold your dips (salsa, hummus), spreads, olives, pickle, etc.
- Next, add larger items that don’t require a container, like a cheese ball, a chunk of cheese, or a cluster of grapes.
- Medium items like crackers, tortilla chips, sliced baguette, etc. come next. This is a good time to add sliced or julienned fruit, vegetables, and sliced cheeses and meats in a pleasing pattern.
- Fill in with small items like radishes, citrus wedges, and sprigs of fresh herbs.
💭 Charcuterie Board Tips
- Consider placement of moist ingredients like sliced fruits and vegetables. Avoid contact with dry ingredients like bread and crackers. No one enjoys soggy bread or crackers!
- Store leftovers in individual containers or zip bags rather than just covering the entire board. Items like olives and pickles can be returned to their jars.
- The best board for a charcuterie tray depends on your personal preferences, the size of the gathering, and the overall look you wish to achieve. Consider the style, material, and functionality that best suits your needs, and choose a board that will beautifully showcase your delicious charcuterie selection.
🥖 Unique Charcuterie Boards
While we refer to “platter dinners” when we have them, they can be breakfast and brunch as well. A unique charcuterie board is a great way to entertain, and certainly as an appetizer course for a dinner party. I hope you’ve been inspired to “think outside the box!”