Tips for creating a beautiful charcuterie-style cheese board everyone will love
Charcuterie boards are often at the centre of many family gatherings, parties, weddings and special events. They are usually a delicious combination of fresh veggies, crackers, cheeses and prosciutto slices arranged in a way that makes everyone gather around the table to munch and chat.
Every good party planner knows that a cheese/charcuterie board at the centre of their spread is a total crowd pleaser and a great opportunity to get creative. (It also gives you a great excuse to make sure you always have an array of large, gorgeous platters on hand!)
The only catch? You need to have a plan in place for crafting your board, or you risk putting together a messy Pinterest fail that looks like a hodgepodge. Give it some thought and craft an artful, delicious montage of finger foods that looks as good as it tastes.
Here are our tips for pulling off the perfect cheese board or charcuterie platter!
Craft a cheese plate pretty enough to make mom proud
For summer backyard parties, weddings and any other upcoming event, help your guests connect over an overflowing grazing board that really wows. Find a large board like the one pictured here to serve as the centre of your spread, encouraging friends and fam to gather around the table.
Below, we’ll show you how to choose ingredients, learn creative tricks for elevating the spread, and how to make a masterful charcuterie board for all your summer shindigs and beyond.
How to select your ingredients
It’s a good idea to stick with the essentials—cheese, meats, veggies, fruits, nuts and olives. Here are some guidelines for each:
- Cheese: If you’re gonna splurge, make it on the cheese! Always a crowd favourite and so worth it. Find a local Italian or another European deli, because the cheese choices there will almost always be better than the cheese at your local grocery. Offer at least three varieties of cheese, and consider asiago, romano, a nicely-aged gouda, or brie. By the way, most cheeses are meant to be served at room temperature, so don’t worry about them sitting out.
- Meats: Go for deliciousness prosciutto, cappicola, chorizo, salami. Skip the sliced deli meats like turkey and ham.
- Veggies: Think vibrant colours for maximum visual effect! You can find veg in pretty much every shade of the rainbow. Multi-coloured carrots, broccoli, asparagus, purple cauliflower, cucumbers, squash and so much more.
- Fruits: Pick berries, kiwis, grapes, figs, and melon. Pretty much a rainbow of fruit, too.
- Nuts: Pine nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds and much more. You may want to keep the nuts in separate dishes within the spread, in case anyone has nut allergies.
- Olives: Go wild here. No cheese/charcuterie board is complete without a few olives to choose from.
How to arrange a beautiful cheese board
Once you have all of your ingredients, it’s time to arrange them. Want to make it simpler? Plate your ingredients in the following order:
- Start with the largest food item in the middle (like a watermelon, a loaf of crusty bread, etc)
- Then the bowls (holding dips, hummus and/or nuts)
- Next, the crackers or bread (make sure to have a few different kinds)
- Lastly, fill in the holes/gaps with fruits, veggies, cheeses, meats, nuts and olives!
Bonus tips and tricks for creating a gorgeous spread
- Mix up the colours throughout the board so that similar shades aren’t all grouped together.
- Cutting fruit like figs into flower shapes; leave grapes on the vine, turn big fruit like pineapples or melons into bowls.
- Line the board with rainbow chard before putting anything on it for visual variety.
- Go homemade with dips instead of less fresh store-bought options. It goes a long way to make it more personal and tasty.