Crafting the Perfect Charcuterie Board

Crafting the Perfect Charcuterie Board

By Emma Bowen, Assistant Deli Manager

One of the staples of any great holiday party is the appetizers and snacks that are offered before the meal. You can offer this to your guests in a creative and visually appealing manner by creating a charcuterie board. These arrangements allow you a lot of room for personalizing to fit all tastes and occasions. Whether you are hosting a small movie night or a large gathering, charcuterie boards are great for satisfying your guests with a range of tastes and textures.

When planning your board, make sure that you include a variety of contrasting choices. The categories you want to focus on are cheeses, meats, and ‘crunchies’, both sweet and savory flavors, and some garnishes. You of course do not need all these things to create an awesome board, but combining multiple textures and flavors will add overall appeal to your board. 

The first thing to focus on is selecting your cheeses. Try to pick cheeses that range in softness. Some soft cheeses that would be great for your board are brie, fresh mozzarella, and chevre. A classic cheese ball is another spreadable option. These can be paired with firmer cheeses such as white cheddar, pepperjack, and manchego. 

Next on the list when planning your board are meats. The meats you select should have a range of flavors, such as hot and sweet. Here at GreenTree we offer a great selection of cured and uncured meats that are perfect for any charcuterie board. Some examples would be salami, hot or sweet sopressata, prosciutto, and summer sausage. 

To create some interesting textures we will need some snacks that crunch. If you visit our bulk department, we have many options that will add the crunchiness your board needs to really shine. You will be able to find a wide range of nuts and roasted sesame sticks. Pretzels also add a nice element of crunch.

You can also bring an extra special something to your board by including some unique items. Adding sweet and savory flavors to your charcuterie board is easy here at Greentree. At the Co-op we offer the Beau Bien sweet and spicy tomato preserves that would be a beautiful accompaniment to any charcuterie board. You can kick up the sweetness by choosing dark chocolate almonds or dates. Cubed melon pairs well with cured meats too. Add a little zing with some stone-ground mustard or cranberries. Don’t be afraid to celebrate some sour flavors as well – brined veggies like olives, peppers, pickles, artichoke hearts, or even pickled asparagus.

The artistic touch which will complete your board is the garnishes. Ideally these items should be both attractive and edible. While most of your guests won’t eat the garnishes on purpose, it’s better to play it safe. Some fun options for that would be dried springs of rosemary or edible flowers. If you’re really feeling motivated you could even try carving garnishes from vegetables!

Finally, the building of the board is where you can choose to get really creative or keep it simple. You can use a cutting board, a seasonal platter, or just lay out parchment paper on a table or countertop. When planning the design of your board you want think about the space you need to cover and the shapes you want to make. Will it need to be moved out of the way when dinner is ready? Or is it the main feature of the event? It should have a flow to it and everything on the board should be easily attainable. Don’t forget to put out serving utensils or toothpicks too. Always remember when creating your own charcuterie board, everyone eats with their eyes first!

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