This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Albertsons. All opinions are 100% mine.
Charcuterie boards are one of our favorite ways to serve snacks and meals in our home and while entertaining. They are beautiful and easy to put together, and they are always a crowd pleaser!
I have been making charcuterie boards for years for my family, before I even knew that they were a thing. In the summers, we tend to graze during the long days instead of eating heavy meals, so meat and cheese trays are of our go-to delicious, no-stress meals. We love to have simple dinners arranged charcuterie style on my favorite breadboards, trays, or even baking sheets.
They are also perfect for summer and outdoor entertaining. They can feed a crowd, and allow everyone to pick the things that they like to eat.
What is a Charcuterie board?
A modern charcuterie (pronounced shar-koo-tuh-REE) board is essentially a meat and cheese tray, typically laid out with nuts, fruits- fresh or dried, olives, toast, sliced baguette bread, crackers, and more. It’s often an informal, but beautiful, way to serve guests while entertaining and can be customized by theme, diet preferences, and even holidays.
What to put on a Charcuterie Board
The beauty of modern charcuterie boards is that you can really take any theme and run with it! There are a few things that you will typically find on one, but if you have other ideas, have fun and run with them! Here are some of the most common ideas, but the variations are endless!
- cured meats
- A variety of soft and hard cheeses
- nuts, both salted and seasoned varieties
- dried fruits such as cranberries or apricots
- fresh fruits
- bread slices
- spreads, jams, mustards, butters, pesto
- sliced baguettes
- pita slices
- vegetables like cherry tomatoes or cucumbers
- parmesan crisps
- fresh herbs
For my charcuterie board, I used my favorite meats and cheeses from Primo Taglio® and other ingredients that I picked up from my local Albertsons here in Meridian, Idaho but you can also find them at other Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, Safeway, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, Tom Thumb and Vons.
These were the items I chose for my tray this time:
- red and green grapes
- pistachios and seasoned cashews
- green olives
- Primo Taglio Italian dry dalame
- Primo Taglio Italian entertaining platter
- Primo Taglio prosciutto
- Primo Taglio fresh mozarella
- Primo Taglio Manchego cheese
- Primo Taglio brie wheel
- crackers, baguette slices, pretzels
- dried cranberries
- fresh herbs
How to Make a Charcuterie board
Assembling a charcuterie board can be easy and fun to do. Here are the simple steps I use:
- First, choose a large washable tray, breadboard, marble slab, slate or even a tabletop that will be big enough to hold all of the food you have chosen.
- Next, place a couple small bowls randomly on the top of the board to hold any items that might get easily lost under the larger foods. I used them for nuts on this board. These are also great for any spreads or dips you might be using.
- Then, add some of the bigger items randomly around the board as well. I started with some of the clumps of grapes and the wheel of brie.
- TIP- continue balancing the board by ensuring colors are repeated on both/all sides. This makes everything look cohesive and very pretty!
- Next, add any other larger blocks and slices of cheese to the board, filling in some of the other open areas.
- TIP- Use varying types of cheeses: Brie, Havarti, smoked cheddar, Provolone, Gouda, Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, and even crumbles of Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola.
- Fan out some of the cured meats, creating different deliberate clumps here and there.
- Overlap with other accent colors. I added green grapes, blackberries, and green olives. Don’t be afraid to overlap foods and create visual interest through layers.
- Next, add breads, crackers, pretzels, dried breadsticks, etc. to the board. My board was full at this point, so I just layered them onto the table. That is the beautiful thing about charcuteries! They are casual flexible!
- Finally, add any garnishes. I clipped some rosemary and oregano from my garden to add a delicious scent as well as an accent of green. Basil or edible flowers would be beautiful as well.
- Finish it off by adding a cheese knife or spoon to the board at each place where one is needed.
Different Ideas for Really Good Charcuterie Boards
Charcuterie boards have evolved into many different themes and cuisines. There really is no wrong way to build a charcuterie board, and taking it in different directions each time is a fun way to change things up.
I have seen some trays with only desserts, some that are Italian themed, and some that are holiday specific (ie. only halloween foods). The sky is really the limit.
Keep in mind that you generally want most things on your tray to be eaten in one bite (bite-sized), so you may need to cut foods accordingly.
There are a few helpful things to keep in mind when building your charcuterie board.
- The most important tip is to choose fresh, great quality foods for your tray like the ones I used above. It really does make all the difference.
- Charcuterie boards are a relaxed and informal way to serve food while entertaining or even for a family dinner. Have fun with it and don’t overthink it!
- If you are having trouble choosing what to put on your tray, aim to create different textures and flavors- sweet + salty, soft + hard, light + rich, etc.
- Put your tray or breadboard on the surface you will be serving the food from before adding anything to it. It is much easier to build the charcuterie in that spot than it is to try to move the entire board without ruining it.
The biggest thing to remember about creating a charcuterie board is to just have fun with it and don’t be too stressed out about what goes where. It will be beautiful and taste great if you follow the tips and just serve the things you love!
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