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Food & Drink

How to Make a Charcuterie Board For the Holidays

The tips and tools you'll need for the perfect board!


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Brooke Lark

Thanks to Instagram, Charcuterie boards have become the hottest party food presentation idea since the jello mold! What’s so wonderful about them, is that you can  put anything on the board. Sure, in French, Charcuterie means meat products (more on that later), but people pile them up with everything from fruit and veggies to candy and cupcakes. Plus, you can really spend hours fine tuning your display for a dazzling arrangement that will make your guests and social media proud. Let’s look at how to make the perfect charcuterie board.

What is Charcuterie?

The term charcuterie comes from two French words, the first being“chair”, which means “flesh,” and the other being “cuit”, which means “cooked.” The charcuterie board typically has cured meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, dips, crackers, bread and can include other delicious bites, depending on your personal taste. These are a hit at parties and have been increasing in popularity over the last couple of years. You can make one large one for guests to graze over on a dining room table, or little ones to place around your cocktail party or pre dinner. 

Tools You Need to Make a Charcuterie Board

To make your charcuterie board, you will need a wooden board to display the cheese, fruits, meats, cheese knives and small bowls or plates for dips and sauces.  While you can buy these items individually, there are also many sets available, such as this one from Smirly.  

SMIRLY Bamboo Cheese Board and Knife Set

This set comes with a 13”x13”bamboo board, two ceramic bowls for sauces or dips, four knives and utensils, a 10”x10” round fruit tray, two slate labels and two chalk markers. Just add your favorite cheese, meats, fruits and nuts and you are ready to go! 

Dennehey Design End-Grain Cutting Board 

You can also find other beautiful cutting boards or you can create your own set. Want to impress your guests with a hand-crafted, truly unique piece?  Check out these cutting boards from Dennehy Design on Etsy. These beautiful, end grain cutting boards are also a work of art and made to last.  

And, we think the Dennehey Design End-Grain Cutting Boardwould look fantastic with these handcrafted horn cheese knives from Pottery Barn.  

A Cutting Board Gift

A personalized board for your home, or to give as a gift, is a thoughtful way to celebrate family and friends.

Copper Fox Company Customized Boards

Copper Fox Company has a great selection of boards and typographic options to create a custom board as a gift, or for your own holiday charcuterie. They also offer the option to create a gift box with other terrific items like wood oil, knives, tea towels, wine labels and more. Everything you need to give something spectacular this year. 

Ingredients for a Charcuterie Board

There are many ways to prepare a charcuterie board, depending on your taste. As we mentioned earlier, you can go traditional with meats, cheeses, fruits and nuts, or include candy, veggies, fruit, and a nut option for your vegetarian friends. Here are some ideas to help you along. 

Meats to Include on a Charcuterie Board

  • Salami

  • Summer Sausage

  • Prosciutto

  • Cured ham

  • Pepperoni

  • Soppressata

  • Calabrese

  • Mortadella

Great Cheeses for a Charcuterie Board

When picking out your cheeses, you will want a variety of flavors, textures and colors and you will also want to try to find cheeses that go well with your selected meats. Some great cheeses for a charcuterie board are:

  • Brie

  • Herbed Boursin

  • Mimolette

  • Gouda

  • Havarti

  • Blue Cheese

  • Cheddar

  • Goat Cheese

  • Cream Cheese with a dollop of jelly for flavor

Always ask the person in the cheese shop what may work best as they do this for a living! 

Crackers and Condiments

You want to have a few types of crackers and condiments available that will complement the meats and cheeses. Try to find some crackers of various shapes, textures and sizes to give you variety. Some we love to include:

  • Thyme Sea Salt Crackers

  • Rye Crackers

  • Baguette Slices

  • Long, Thin Crackers

  • Stone Ground Mustard

  • Jams and Jellies

Fruits and Vegetables for a Charcuterie Board

Fruits and vegetables are another important part of the board that will add color and flavor. Try some of these fruits and vegetables to round out your board:

  • Grapes

  • Raspberries

  • Blueberries

  • Olives

  • Sweet Peppers

  • Artichoke Hearts

  • Apple Slices

  • Carrots

  • Dried fruits

  • Nuts

  • Pickles

  • Pomegranates

  • Figs

  • Cucumbers

Other Ingredients for a Charcuterie Board

The fun thing about charcuterie boards is that you can always change up the variety of them. Some other ingredients you can add to your board include:

  • Hummus

  • Pretzels

  • Truffles

  • Chocolate-Covered Dried Fruit and Nuts

  • Ranch Dressing for Dipping

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

Now that you have your supplies, let’s look at how to assemble them.

Step 1: Place the cheeses. Take them out of the fridge an hour before serving them, so they can get up to room temperature.

Step 2: Add bowls and any decorative herbs.

Step 3: Place the meat selections adjacent to the cheeses they best complement. .

Step 4: Arrange crackers and condiments.

Step 5: Fill in any gaps with fresh fruit.

Step 6: Add nuts, pickles and dried fruits.

Step 7: Serve and enjoy!