Cheese and Charcuterie Board ~ charcuterie boards have taken over the internet for a good reason: simple, stress-free entertaining! Here are my tips for how to make this beautiful, Instagram-worthy display of cheese, meats, bread, nuts and fruit. It’s a must at your next gathering!
I’ve always loved hosting friends and family in our home long before I started blogging. The first time I invited the family over, I was a naïve, clueless newlywed. Long before Pinterest I had no idea what to make so I cooked . . . everything.
It looked like an all-you-can-eat buffet and on top of that I made every dish myself refusing all help. That doesn’t make me a kitchen ninja. It just made me a crazy woman.
Lots of parties and family get-togethers later I’m much more relaxed now (don’t listen to a word my kids say) and one reason is that I’ve simplified things. Some version of an Instagram-worthy Cheese and Charcuterie Board makes an appearance at almost every gathering at our house because it’s a total legit life-hack we can all embrace.
What is charcuterie and why do I want it at my party?
Charcuterie is a branch of cooking involving prepared (often cured) meats. Add cheese, fruit, nuts and some sort of bread or crackers and this Cheese and Charcuterie Board is an impressive appetizer, easy to customize according to your own tastes.
You want this appetizer at your party because, hello – it’s delicious, it’s always a hit and it can (and should) be made ahead of time.
Aldi is my go-to for Cheese and Charcuterie ingredients because of their selection, quality and price. Trader Joe’s is another good option or check our the specialty cheeses at your local grocery store.
How to build a kick-a** Cheese and Charcuterie Board:
First, you don’t need an actual board. A platter or any flat surface works well, too. TJ Maxx is a great source for a board along with wine glasses and napkins as well.
Shoot for 3-4 types of cheese with a good mix of both strong and mild. You can even mix it up with hard and soft cheeses like brie or goat. On this board I used a creamy Havarti Dill, a strong Blue cheese and Smoked Gouda.
Charcuterie is the meat portion of the board. My favorites are Soppressata and Prosciutto because they go well with a variety of cheeses. Spicy Chorizo, ham, pepperoni and sausage are other good choices.
I like to add a little sweet to the board in the form of fresh fruit. Grapes, pears and apples are all good options as well as festive pomegranate seeds this time of year. Think seasonal.
Nuts add a nice texture to the board. I buy what’s on sale; in this case these delicious cashews. Spicy or mixed nuts are always popular too.
Olives and more:
Olives are optional but add a nice, briny taste. If you aren’t a fan and don’t think your guests are either, skip them. Jam is another good addition to a board: bacon or onion jam or a jar of spicy pepper jelly along with a small knife for spreading. This especially goes well with goat cheese.
Bread and Crackers:
You can go a couple routes: toasted baguette, your favorite crackers or breadsticks or even these little naan dippers.
What’s an easy dinner with this appetizer?
Naturally, when the appetizer is this easy, dinner should be too. Quick, easy, crowd pleasing spaghetti is perfect either in your instant pot you’ve been wanting to take for a spin or stovetop. Not only delicious, it’s easy on the budget, too.
My best entertaining tips:
- Keep food simple whether it’s just appetizers or an entire meal so you aren’t in the kitchen all evening.
- Prep or cook as much ahead of time as possible.
- Stay away from dips if you have a large crowd. Dips lose their eye appeal after 1 or 2 guests plunge into it.
- Keep alcoholic beverages simple and accessible for guests to self-serve. Red and white wine or a signature drink, like these festive Cranberry Moscow Mules.
- Accept help. This was and still is the hardest thing for me. You too? Let’s hold hands and work on it together.
Enjoy and happy holidays!
If you tried this Cheese and Charcuterie Board or any other recipe on the blog, don’t forget to leave a comment or star rating ~ I love hearing from you!
Cheese and Charcuterie Board
- pita or naan bread
- Cashews or other nuts
- 3-4 cheeses
- apples, pears, grapes or pomegranates
- optional garnish: rosemary
- Arrange cheese and meats on the platter. Fill in spaces with nuts, breads and garnish.