Charcuterie 101

Charcuterie (pronounced “shahr-ku-tuh-ree”) is the art of assembling cured meats, cheeses, fruits and other items either on a table or a serving board. They are popular because they are a pretty and tasty centerpiece to any kind or size of party, you can customize to your tastes, and they are fun to put together. Here are some tips for assembling one for your next holiday party.

Choose your serveware

This can be a cutting board, a serving tray, a cheese tray or whatever you have on hand (or borrow) that will fit all of your items. You could also put butcher paper down on a table or kitchen island and fill with your ingredients.

Add the cheeses + meats

Start with the cheese and arrange in different places on board. Slice the hard cheeses, start crumbling the goat or feta, and have a cheese knife to spread the soft ones. Add sliced meats that you have folded or rolled. Prosciutto is sliced thin and looks good piled up.

Add bread and crackers

You’ll need a vehicle with which to eat all this deliciousness. Stack, fan them out or if you don’t have room, they can go in a basket on the side.

Olives + Spreads

A few small dishes to hold these will add a variety of size to your board.

Fill in with fruit + nuts

These help bring a balance of flavor and texture. Pile up nuts in empty spaces and place fruit along the edges.

The extras

Have fun with this part! Rosemary and fresh herbs add color and texture. Fresh greenery like eucalyptus can be added around the base of the tray. For a holiday theme, you could add pine cones, and accents of red such as fresh or dried cranberries, raspberries and strawberries. Love sweets? Add chocolate! Just make sure it doesn’t touch any meat or cheese.

Make sure to include plenty of spoons, knives and tongs to help your guests to dig in and serve it up easily.

Tips: You can add chocolate or sweet items if you’d like
Try to cover the surface of your serving dish so your board looks filled up. Good fillers are the dried fruits and nuts, just pile them in! There is no set way to build your board, just be creative.

shopping list

2-3 cheeses: a mix of hard, soft and a crumbled cheese (optional)
Soft: Brie, Bleu, Burrata, Provolone
Hard: Gouda, Sharp Cheddar, Asiago or Parmesan
Crumble: feta and goat cheese
Meat: 2-3 kinds of meats: sliced ham, salami, pepperoni, or prosciutto. You can also use other deli meats like turkey and roast beef.
Fresh fruit: grapes, strawberries, orange slices, pomegranates cut in half
Dried Fruit & Nuts: cranberries, apricots, almonds, pecans, or walnuts
Add-ins: assortment of olives, fig or fruit spreads, and dips
Crackers/Breads: breadsticks, a variety of crackers including butter, wheat, rice or water crackers, crostini or sliced baguettes.

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