Last Updated: Jan 30, 2018
Need to create a party platter? Looking for a creative way to serve appetizers to your guests? A charcuterie board is the perfect way to serve a variety of delicious meats and cheeses.
Charcuterie is a French word that means smoked or dried meats (such as hams and sausages). But, it can also include items such as pâtés, rillettes and duck confit.
The best part about a charcuterie board is that you don’t have to be a pro to style it. Just follow these five easy steps.
- Choose a cutting board that accommodates the size of your party. A standard size is about 9×13 inches, but cutting boards can be as large as 12×18 inches.
- Start placing your meats first, followed by the cheeses, as these two are the bulk of the board. The meats can be sliced, rolled or stacked. If you want to make it easier for your guests, we suggest slicing the cheese as well.
- Place equal amounts of items on both sides of the board for easy access. For example, if you have crackers on one side, make sure to include some on the other as well.
- Jams and sauces can be placed in glass, wooden or decorative bowls. It helps to keep things neat (and pretty).
- Breads and crackers can be placed all around the board. If there is enough room on the table, additional items can be placed on a separate plate or in a basket.
There are tons of different ways to create a charcuterie board, depending on the theme of your party. Below are five different charcuterie board ideas that will impress your guests no matter what the occasion. Perhaps a cocktail party is in order.
Mediterranean Charcuterie Board
A Mediterranean charcuterie board or mezze spread includes traditional flavors such as hummus, olive tapenade, grape leaves, olive oil and saltier cheeses like feta or blue. Pita bread or chips are the perfect accompaniment to this platter along with a sparkling white wine. If you are a guest, it would be a great idea to bring along personalized wine glasses for the host.
- Green olives
- Olive tapenade
- Olive oil
- Feta cheese
- Blue cheese
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Pita bread
- Grape leaves
Spanish Charcuterie Board
A Spanish charcuterie board is heaven; sweet and spicy chorizos, thinly sliced ham and a smooth and creamy manchego cheese accompanied by crusty breads and sweet fruit flavors. These alongside a cold beer or sparkling Cava is divine. Serve this at your next party and follow it with a sweet siesta.
- Jamón serrano
- Manchego cheese
- Cabral cheese
- Marcona almonds
- Fig Crackers
- Membrillo fruit preserves
Italian Charcuterie Board
Walk into any Italian market and you’ll find a variety of cured meats such as salumi, and you’ll find many hard cheeses too. Pecorino and parmesan are amongst the most popular cheeses, but there are many creamier cheeses such as burrata and mozzarella that are also mouth-watering. These go along with freshly baked bread and crispy artisan crackers. Red wine pairs deliciously well with the spicy flavors used in this platter.
- Different kinds of salami
- Parmesan crisps
- Artisan crackers
- Mini pickles
- Pecorino cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Mandarin slices
French Charcuterie Board
Pâté, figs, crunchy crackers and brie, oh my! Pâté comes in several varieties: pork, beef, seafood. It is ground and combined with herbs and fat which results in a rich and creamy texture. A combination of salty with sweets such as honey and grapes makes for the perfect French board. Pair this with a sweet rosé and you’ve got the ultimate Parisian experience.
- Beet dip
- Dijon/ground mustard
- Rosemary crackers
- Red grapes
- Dried figs
- Dried limes
- Almond slivers
Try a Non-Traditional Charcuterie Board
If you’re in the mood to try something different, skip the traditional charcuterie board set-up and serve your favorite food instead. This Mexican-inspired charcuterie board is a step-up from your average chips and guacamole. With carnitas as the main event, there’s room for lots of delicious accompaniments. Nopales, pickled onions and fresh cheese (also known as queso fresco) can be perfectly scooped with a chicharron or tortilla chip. Don’t forget to serve different types of salsas from mild to spicy and of course a cold michelada or horchata to wash it down.
- Tortilla chips
- Roasted corn
- Queso fresco
- Pickled onions
- Black beans
- Jícama sticks
Have you decided which board you will try first?
No matter what theme you choose, make sure to make a list of ingredients before you go to the market. Also, pre-select alternatives to any meats and cheeses on your list in case they’ve run out of or don’t carry those items. Check out our infographic below.
For a more personal family party, pair your platter with a custom placemat and include family photos for a sweet and cozy gathering.