How to Make the Ultimate Charcuterie Board

Take your entertaining to the next level with antipasto favorites with a variety of cheeses and cured meats. Learn how to make the ultimate charcuterie board.

the ultimate charcuterie board

Making a charcuterie board is like a work of art. It should be colorful and full of unique flavors that pair together. Personally I love having a charcuterie board when I entertain. First, its buffet style, so guests can serve themselves. Items are served at room temp. No need to cook! Lastly, the color food spread is a table centerpiece all on its own.

Tools

Select a Surface

Traditionally, a Napa style Charcuterie board is a butcher block style cutting board or a wood serving board. I’ve added some of my Amazon favorites below for you.

Although wood is the tradition, it certainly doesn’t have to be on wood. I’ve used a three-tiered server to add height to a buffet table (see picture below) and I’ve even served it on slate and marble. I’ve even done it strait on kraft paper for a backyard party.

wine & cheese
My Charcuterie Board

Cheese Knives / Markers

Your guests will need something to help them dig into the cheese. Some cheese knives can also serve as markers / labels as well. The cheese knives seen in the picture above, are from Pottery Barn. They have the name of the cheese engraved on them which makes it easier for your guests, but regular cheese knives are perfectly fine. Just make sure they have some way of serving themselves.

Dishes

Charcuterie boards are designed to be finger foods. Therefore, it saves you the hassle of having to deal with cutlery at a party. Instead I suggest putting out toothpicks for those who don’t actually want to use their fingers. If you’d like to keep it classier, try using disposable tasting forks (see my photo above). I’ve including links to the ones I use for parties.

You want to make sure you provide napkins and plates for your guests. Place them near the charcuterie board with your tasting forks or cocktail picks. The smaller the party, the more appropriate it is to use glass or china plates. I prefer using plain white appetizer plates, They always look elegant and they go with every occasion. I’ve linked to my favorite ones on Amazon, including my favorite disposable ones.

How to Make the Ultimate Charcuterie Board

This is where it gets fun. Making a charcuterie board is fun to pair. I recommend picking a few favorites from each category I have listed. When placing it on the board, I recommend putting it next to a different food of contrasting color. It really makes the board pop.

Cheese

Cheese is the headliner on a charcuterie board. A complete charcuterie board should have at least three cheeses from the main cheese categories: soft, hard, and semi-soft.

Hard Cheese

  • Aged Gouda
  • Parmesan
  • Pecorino
  • Romano
  • Parmesan-Reggiano

Soft

  • Mozzarella
  • Brie
  • Saint Andre
  • Humboldt Fog

Semi-soft

  • Gouda
  • Jarlsburg / Swiss
  • Havarti

Semi-Hard / Firm

  • Manchego
  • Provolone
  • Gouda (some types)
  • Gruyere
  • Cheddar
  • Fontina
  • Edam
  • Taleggio
  • Emmentaler

Bleu

  • Stilton
  • Gorgonzola
  • Roquefort
  • Castello Danish Blue

Goat

  • Feta
  • Chèvre
  • White Mold Goat
charcuterie board

Meats

  • Dry Salami
  • Pepperoni
  • Genoa Salami
  • Chorizo
  • Prosciutto
  • Ham
  • Coppa
  • Soppressata
  • Smoked salmon
  • Caviar

Breads & Crackers

  • Crostini
  • Water Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Baguette
  • Entertaining Crackers

Condiments & Spreads

  • Honey
  • Seasonal Jams
  • Fig Spread
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Pesto
  • Olive Tapenade

Fruits & Nuts

Fruits can be fresh, candied, or dried. Nuts can be salted or raw. Both fruits and nuts can act as a palette cleanser from the richness of strong cheeses and cured meats.

  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Red Grapes
  • Green Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Apricots
  • Figs
  • Apples

Other

  • Herbs
  • Olives
  • Artichokes
  • Sun dried Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes

I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how to put a charcuterie board together for your next party. Once you do it a few times, you’ll be able to whip it up quickly! If you’re looking for other entertaining ideas, take a look at my post where I show you how to make a hot chocolate bar! It’s great for the holidays.

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