If you’ve been on social media in the past year, chances are you’ve seen a charcuterie board. Pronounced “shaar-koo-tuh-ree,” these beautiful food arrangements traditionally feature cured meats with cheese, fruit, vegetables, nuts and crackers or bread. However, some wonderfully creative minds have showcased charcuterie boards with holiday cookies and other desserts, chocolate and fruit, tacos, candy, vegetables and sandwiches. The possibilities are endless, and your table will be on-trend no matter what you choose. Wondering how to make one? Let’s cover the basics of making a standard board:
- Start with height — These boards are anything but flat (literally). Choose something taller as a centerpiece, like a mound of grapes or a glass of crackers.
- Add a variety of cheeses — For an aesthetically-pleasing arrangement, use different shapes and sizes. Get a small wheel of cheese and cut out a few slices, serve a larger wedge and add a block.
- Place sauces and spreads in small dishes and bowls and arrange them around your board. Either put them next to the cheese that will pair well for flavor, or let them stand alone.
- Add meats to the tray. Focus on texture here and play with different cuts, slices and presentation. Choose meats of different color, thickness and texture, such as deli meat, sausage and pepperoni.
- Use complimentary finger-food snacks of your choosing to fill in the gaps. Think nuts, fruits, olives, crackers, or gherkin pickles.
- Finish off your board with serving utensils and greenery.
Remember, while the traditional charcuterie board features meats and cheeses, you’re really in charge of your own creation. Make a board using festive colors for holidays, and have fun with themes for parties and gatherings. Have a picky eater? This is a great project to liven up kids’ interest in food and meal preparation. In a dinner rut? Let a board be a one-dish meal to mix up the regular menu. Your tablescape and tastebuds are sure to thank you!
Alyssa Ashmore of Passionate Portions Nutrition & Wellness is a registered dietitian nutritionist, author, speaker and nutrition therapist. She can be reached at alyssa@ alyssaashmore.com. Visit www.alyssaashmore.com to learn more.