So you have some folks coming over for a party or for dinner and want to have something for your guests to nosh on while they wait for dinner. All you have in your kitchen are Teddy Grahams and Veggie Sticks, and you don’t want to serve them that. Unless you do, and that’s fine too! But what if you don’t? What if you want to have snacks and bites that adults will truly enjoy as much as the kiddos with their Teddy Grahams? What should you do?
No worries. I’ve got you! You can’t go wrong putting together a simple cheese and charcuterie board. A cheese and charcuterie board is the easiest and best way to take your gathering to the next level.
A quick run to the grocery store to pick up a few simple things, and you’re ready to go. It doesn’t have to be complicated. There isn’t a science to it. It’s simply getting things you enjoy.
Here are some easy steps to assembling a simple charcuterie board:
Start with a big platter or cutting board.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy platter or fancy cutting board. It doesn’t even have to be one board. You can use whatever you have to place the different items on. I found a really simple and big cutting board at IKEA. This is what I use to put cheese on.
Don’t feel like you have to buy a cutting board or fancy platter. Most people won’t even notice what the food is sitting on. They’ll be too busy drooling over the deliciousness on the plate.
Select cheeses you like.
If you like cheddar, get it! No one will think any less of you if you don’t have cheeses you can’t pronounce on your platter. If you remember having provolone cheese on a sandwich and liked it, get it. When it comes to how much cheese to get, it depends on how many people you are expecting. If it’s a small dinner party with your family and another (couple?) 2-3 cheeses should be more than enough.
I like to get cheeses that go from tangy to more mellow. I sometimes aim to get a soft cheese in there. Although, sometimes my budget doesn’t allow for it. In that case I go with my gut and get what I like. You should too!
Select Cooked and Dry-Cured Meats you like.
As you look for cooked meats in the grocery store you don’t need to buy a whole lot of this. Not everyone is a fan of these kinds of meats and that’s ok. Once again, go with what you love.
At one dinner, I found small bite-sized versions of Genoa Salami (instead of the deli sandwich slices size). They were perfect. It was something I loved, so I included it.
Most charcuterie boards include things like Prosciutto and even chorizo. If you like any of those, get them too. I typically only include one kind of meat on my board for a small gathering of my family and another (couple?). For larger gatherings, I’d get more.
Select Bread and Crackers you like.
There are so many different options here it’s kind of mind boggling. I usually like to include some slices of a French baguette and an assortment of different crackers (and perhaps a crunchy breadstick if I’m feeling extra). Some grocery stores sell packages of different kinds of regular and seasoned crackers. I like those because I enjoy the variety of flavors they provide and I won’t have to buy a whole package of just one kind of cracker. For me, one kind of cracker makes for a boring spread. But that’s just me. Others like the simplicity of one cracker. And if that works for you too. Go for it!
Now this next statement has to be said because it is true of some folks. This is where some cheese and charcuterie board purists may have me blacklisted. But here it goes anyway.
If you like Ritz crackers, get it! This is your dinner. It’s your party. You have to eat your food. This is not for me, or the purist turning their nose up at this post. Life is too short to not enjoy the food at your table to impress other people. Get what YOU like.
Select Fruits and other Things You Like.
Here is where your board can get really interesting. Get things you think may compliment the cheese or bread or crackers on your plate. I like to choose a jam of some sort (I’ve recently fallen in love with fig jam. Gather some grapes, blackberries or slice some apples. Place a bowl or two with nuts or olives. I also like to add a small plate with olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper. Yum!
You don’t need to get all of the above. One or two should suffice.
And finally, this one is key…
Select Things You’ve Never Tried Before.
This is where your board can get fun. I love cheese and so the opportunity for me to try a new kind of cheese, cracker, jam or cured meat assures me I’ll never get bored with my charcuterie board!
Step out of your comfort zone if you’re not a “try new things” kind of a person and do it. You’ll get to discover new and delicious foods that will make for good conversation and a happy palate.
Follow these super easy steps to putting together a cheese and charcuterie board and your guests will be pleasantly surprised that you got so fancy with the pre-dinner snacks. And you did it with kids in the house too!
What kinds of thing do you like for your cheese and charcuterie board? I’m always looking to try something new!