How to Build a Charcuterie Board

Mmm—meats, cheeses and more deliciousness! Charcuterie might just be the world’s most perfect party offering. Whether you’re plotting a small get together or an extravagant feast, a well-constructed Charcuterie Board brings crowd-pleasing tastes to the table every time.

But before you start randomly merging all that goodness, get the lowdown on must-haves to turn a boring smorgasbord into a mouthwatering explosion of complementary flavors!

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Meat and Greet

Fun fact: the word charcuterie originates from the French words for “meat” and “cooked” — and let’s face it, the meats are the stars of this tasty show. Cured prosciutto and salami with their rich saltiness pair well with crackers, cheese, and fruits like peaches, figs, cantaloupe and watermelon. And add slices of savory chorizo sausage to appease the spice-enthusiasts in the room.

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Say Cheese!

You can hardly go wrong when it comes to selecting yummy gourmet cheeses for your charcuterie board, however a variety of textures looks as appealing as it tastes. Serve up a soft Brie or semi-soft Gouda with a semi-hard Manchego; and offer one or two ultra-textural options like Swiss or Jarlsberg. Spice things up with a wedge of pepper jack, or add Gorgonzola blue cheese (bonus: they’re colorful!).

Pro tip: be sure to put out cheese knives so guests can easily help themselves to the spread.

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The More, the Merrier

True charcuterie gurus will tell you a board loaded with diverse complementary flavors is a successful board. Create irresistible pairing choices with unique jams (like this sweet-and-spicy Peachy Sriracha jam!), zesty cornichons, salty olives or a nuts like almonds or walnuts. Try drizzling Brie cheese with a bit of honey and a sprig of fresh dill for a sweet surprise.

Lighten up a heavy medley with your favorite fruits. Fresh grapes, blackberries and sliced strawberries are always welcome onboard.

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Breaking Bread

A natural charcuterie accoutrement is bread in all of its forms. Complete your board with Wine Sticks, pretzels, water crackers or slices of French baguette and you’ll be ready to enjoy this feast of flavors with hungry friends and family.

Ready to get on board the charcuterie train? Bon appétit!

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Shop this post: Prosciutto | Salami | Chorizo | Charcuterie Board | Cheese Knives | Jam | Cornichons | Olives | Wine SticksCrackers

29 Comments

  • Alex Gavrilis

    is charcuterie served as an appetizer or like Italian anti-pasto in French restaurants? I have family in France, and have been there many times, and dined at great restaurants, but have never seen “charcuterie” on the menus. Is this just something served at private parties?
    And correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t a “charcuterie” a shops in France which sell dry meats and cheeses. And certainly no Italian prosciutto or salami or Spanish Manchego. All products would be French. Jambon sec de Bayonne instead of prosciutto, Rosette de Lyon (or other regions) for salami, and only French cheeses instead of manchego. Your comments please.

  • Bonita Harrison

    I think having each guests bring an item for the board is a great idea. Especially for a ladies gathering.

    Going to plan a ladies Wine & Stars event just to have this board.

  • Elaine

    We made a beautiful display one year. After everyone was stuffed I removed board to kitchen area. Of course, a lot had been eaten. When I came back to the kitchen the entire board had been cleaned up- not a crumb. It was only minutes!! I found the dog in my bedroom licking his choppers, his paws…. then I smelled his breath…
    he was the culprit!!

    • Edward Adams

      Elaine, that is hilarious. We are going to put together a board at our next party. We normally put the cheeses and meat and olive in separate crystal dishes. We just have to make sure that everyone doesn’t get to full before we serve dinner. I think a good oaky Chardonnay accompanies the board well. Along with a nice Cali Pinot.

  • Barbara

    I make this board for all my holiday family gatherings. It’s a beautiful presentation and so delicious.

  • George Mc

    World Maket make a Charcuterie shopping list from items in ur store minus fresh fruit & bread. Listed fresh fruit on WM shopping list
    Plus WM could sell the board itself

  • Bella67

    Beautiful,but how DO people serve themselves?Where do they cut the cheeses..where are the knifes for them to use?Can’t quite picture this.
    Very lovely to look at..

    • Michael

      It’s meant to be a serving tray for multiple people, not a platter to be set in front of someone. In the 1700s, these were popular with aristocrats. They could be enjoyed indoor or at a scenic garden. Give each party member a plate and some silverware. It works just like a miniature buffet.

    • Ivy Applebaum

      Honey, you cut cheese anywhere! (Sorry, had to make a joke)😃😃😁😁😍

  • Navay geary

    How to do people serve themselves? Do you have a anther cutting board where the cut their own cheese and meat?

  • Rebecca

    After a trip to WM, my daughter and I built a board and just grazed for dinner, with wine. Topped off with a fire in the fireplace on a cold rainy day!

  • Ruth

    I’ve made a board similar to this, just smaller, to keep it economically friendly. It’s always a hit, and keeps people happy waiting on dinner.

  • A. Connor

    Looks great, very tasty, but also very expensive! Does anyone know of a better way to do this if you’re on a budget. Good quality cheeses alone can cost $6-8 ea. and up. Meats are not cheap and fruit can be especially pricey if out of season. Any ideas? Would a “pot luck” charcuterie board be too tacky? Everyone brings one item that is designated to them? Otherwise, just adding up a rough estimate, this board pictured would be over $50 (on the conservative side).

    • PrincessBeloved

      I think a board collectively created is a fun idea and not at all ‘tacky’. It would be a treat to watch it come together as everyone arrives with their contribution. As well, there will be less worry over people not liking anything on the board if you were left to choose.
      You could call it ‘build a board’, explaining to everyone it will be a charcuterie board that they will all help customize! It may be helpful to offer a picture with the invite of an example-many people may not know what you are talking about at first, but most likely have seen one before at an event.
      Bon appetite and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Marsha

      Yes, cheese and charcuterie boards can be a splurge. You can always try to shop at a cheaper discount grocery store to get some off brands but the more gourmet the ingredients the tastier and better paired these items will be. If your hosting, it might be tacky to do this as a pot luck, maybe have the other dishes be the pot luck and you provide the entire board so it’s ready when your guest arrive. I just did one for work and it cost me about $70 all items from Whole Foods. It was a hit and everyone complimented it! I love doing these boards, it’s my signature thing for hosting and invited so I don’t mind buying the items but I feel your pain!

  • Tammie

    I made this for our Board Brunch and everyone loved it! Thanks WM for your inspiration!

  • Leah Moore

    Looks A-ma-zing!!! I have to try this.

  • Cathy wallace

    very pleasing to the eye making me hungry

  • Kathryn

    Looks wonderful!

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