Have you hopped on the charcuterie board trend yet? If you are not familiar with them, charcuterie boards are edible works of art filled with tasty snacks that make a perfect appetizer when entertaining, or even just for yourself! They are not only easy to make, but are also a blast and a great way to let your creativity shine. The possibilities are endless, and you can craft your charcuterie board to make your taste buds dance.
There are a few basic steps to building your board, and each one can be customized…
STEP 1: Pick out a “board” to act as the base.
My favorite base is a wooden cutting board. Burning River Furniture Company offers a variety of beautiful handcrafted wood boards that would make the perfect base for your charcuterie board. You could also use a decorative tray, a colorful plastic cutting board, or even just a piece of parchment paper or tin foil straight on the counter. The size of your base will be dependent on the amount of people you wish to serve.
STEP 2: Pick out your meats and cheeses.
These will make up the bulk of the board. Pick a variety of hard and soft cheeses. I recommend slicing the hard cheeses to fit crackers or bread so that they can easily be eaten. Steamtown and Tower Road from Yellow House Cheese are perfect for this category. Soft cheeses and spreads also make great additions to your charcuterie board. If you are going for classic flavors, you can’t go wrong with Garlic Chive Chevre or Honey Chevre from Mackenzie Creamery. Turn your creation into a dessert board by adding sweet cheeses, such as the Chocolate Raspberry Chevre or the Cognac Fig Chevre from Mackenzie Creamery. Finally, consider adding a dip or spread, such as the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Seville Spread from Yellow House Cheese. Including at least one of each style cheese will ensure you cover your bases.
Once the cheese is picked out, it’s time to select meats. Traditionally, cured meats are used on charcuterie boards. Think salami, ham, pepperoni, prosciutto, bacon, or turkey deli meat. If you are making this board for a brunch, consider adding cooked meats such as the Maple Chicken Breakfast Links from Tea Hills Farms or Bacon from Tea Hills Farms, Tierra Verde Farms, or Red Run Bison. For an after-school snack, try adding the Bison Jerky or Slim Jims from Red Run Bison.
STEP 3: Pick out any additional condiments to spread on breads and crackers, or dip fruits and vegetables into.
Hummus is one of the most popular items to add on in this category. SMYRNA Mediterranean Morsels and Hummavore offer a wide variety of flavors, making it easy to customize your board. Jams and jellies are also the perfect compliment to any board. Try the Blueberry Glitter from Pickle Patch Acres or Cherry Almond from Jimmy’s Jam for a little extra fruitiness.
STEP 4: Choose the fun extras!
Classic additions include nuts, fruits, and olives. Savory Snackage offers flavored nuts, which will inevitably increase the excitement of your board. When it comes to fruits, there is no wrong fruit to choose! Berries, sliced apples, and melons are the perfect compliment to the dips and cheeses you previously selected, and are easy to find from many market vendors.
STEP 5: Pick out your crackers and breads.
These can be spread out directly on the board or placed in a basket beside the board, depending on how much room you have. I recommend slicing bread into “finger sandwich” size ahead of time to reduce crumbs created during serving. Choose one or more types of bread, such as sourdough, rye, multigrain, and/or French bread.
STEP 6: Put it all together!
Follow the order of meats and cheeses, then condiments, followed by fruits, nuts, and other extras. Visit Pinterest or Google for some inspiration. Try placing condiments and spreads in small, decorative bowls to improve the board aesthetic. Meats can be folded, stacked, or even sculpted into flowers. Don’t forget utensils! Unless you are building a board just for yourself, you will need tongs, forks, cheese knives, and plates to ensure everyone can safely serve themselves.
Now that your board is complete, snap a picture and serve it! It is sure to be a hit among your family and friends. Serve it for brunch, a dinner appetizer, or a dessert. The best thing is that no two charcuterie boards are the same!
The products mentioned can be purchased at Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow. Cheese is currently unavailable for in person purchases at the market, but can be preordered for pickup at the market. Preorder hours are Tuesday 10am – Wednesday 6pm.