Do you know what the charcuterie board essentials are? The important items that appear on the very best appetizer boards? If your answer is no, don’t worry – we’ll walk you through it, step by step!
With detailed photos, a short video showing how to build a charcuterie board, and printable graphic sheet below, you can create a gorgeous holiday appetizer to share with your family and friends!
Cheese and charcuterie boards are easier to create than you might imagine, and each board is unique. I think that’s what makes them such delicious, beautiful displays.
Whenever my guests see these boards, they make a bee line for them. And, often they continue to gather around the board, snacking while they converse.
Once you get the basics down, you’ll be able to create all different types of snack boards like fruit & cheese, fruit & nut, and veggie & charcuterie, and more. The possibilities are endless!
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Charcuterie Board Essentials
Some of my favorite places to buy cheeses, meats, and gourmet items for cheese & charcuterie boards are Costco, Sam’s Club, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Vons or Safeway.
Costco and Sam’s Club usually have large, prepackaged variety/sampler packages of Italian salami and meats. And, a wide variety of cheeses. I especially like getting my larger wedges of cheeses there.
This makes it really easy to purchase a wider variety of board meats at a good price.
Ingredients to Include
If you’ve never made a cheese, charcuterie, or fruit board before, I’d suggest making one like shown above.
It’s a simple, classic, great starter board. Plus, I have the ingredients listed below and they’re all readily available at any grocery store.
- Fontina/Cheddar/Blue cheese
- Goat/Brie cheese
- Asiago/Parmesan/Pecorino cheese
- Italian salami
- dried figs/pears
- crackers/bread sticks
- fig spread/jam/honey
Choosing Your Board Shape and Size
What’s your shape? Round? Rectangle? Or Square? It’s up to you.
There are also different types of board materials like slate, marble, glass, and of course, wood. And select a board size based on the number of people who will be noshing on it.
Now that we’ve covered the tutorial basics…
How to Assemble the Best Charcuterie Appetizer
Step 1: Add cheeses
Spread the cheeses out on the board evenly. Mix things up like cubing firmer cheeses like Parmesan and Asiago.
Slice or chunk your Cheddar Cheese. Stack the cubes and chunks to create variety and height on your board.
Step 2: Add the Charcuterie Meats
To create variety and visual texture, Drop, drape, or twist very thinly sliced meats like prosciutto.
Cube or slice hard salamis.
Thinly sliced salami displays well when rolled alone, or around cheese, and layered.
Step 3: Add Crackers and Breads
Having a nice mix of crackers or grains creates visual appeal. Try to use at least two to three different types.
Stack, layer, and break long crackers into pieces on your board.
Step 4: Add Fruit
Literally any fruits work here. Try using different types of fruits to provide color to your board. Strawberries, kiwi, raspberry, and green grapes are all colorful fruits that tend to stand out.
If you use peaches, apples, or pears, add a little lemon juice/water to them to keep them from turning brown.
Step 5: Add Jams, Preserves, Honey and Other Finishing Touches
How To Fill in Any Empty Spaces on Your Charcuterie Board
You’re almost there!
If you have empty spots to fill in, add some herbs, nuts, or greenery.
I love the look of tiny wooden bowls and miniature spoons to hold and display jams, jellies, nuts, and spread.
Again, get creative and use this step to add more color. How about a bright yellow mustard? Or orange marmalade?
Then, add small cheese knives and tongs to the board to encourage your guests to help themselves.
Cost Plus World Market and Sur La Table carry a number of useful items. I’ve provided a full source list at the end of this post covering what’s in the photos shown.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whenever you serve an appetizer like this for your guests to enjoy, you should always keep track of how long it sits at room temperature. For most foods, the general rule of thumb is that a perishable item should not be in the “danger zone” for more than two hours.
Your charcuterie board should include a variety of jams, preserves, mustards, or dips. This could be some of my favorites like fig spread, marionberry habanero pepper jelly, pesto, coarse ground mustard, apricot jam and the list goes on. Give your guests some variety.
A charcuterie board can still be healthy, we decided to skip anything with sugar or processed carbs and the board we put together is low carb, Keto, gluten-free and sugar-free. And what’s even better yet, all of the ingredients are from Trader Joes, which is the best place to get charcuterie plate ingredients!
Charcuterie Board Video Tutorial
And you’re done!
I hope this tutorial was helpful. Get your printable chart below to take with you to the grocery store to have on hand when purchasing your ingredients.
There are several charcuterie board essentials shown on my Instagram feed. You can see them here: The Feathered Nester’s Instagram. This should provide you with even more easy recipe inspiration.
Tutorial Sources & Recommendations
Cheddar Cheese – I recommend using Coastal Cheddar. I get mine from Costco or Trader Joe’s.
Salami – I recommend the Applewood Smoked Salami from Trader Joe’s. It’s nitrate-free.
Mozzarella – I recommend the spicy, braided Mozzarella cheese roll from Albertsons/Vons/Safeway.
Italian Meats – I recommend the variety salami package from Costco or Sam’s Club. It’s a great value for the size.
Fig Spread and Orange Fig Spread- I recommend the Dalmatia brand available at Cost Plus World Market, Albertsons/Safeway/Vons, and Amazon.
Round Wood Board – Sur La Table
Small Wooden Bowls – Cost Plus World Market
Miniature spoons – Sur La Table
Tongs – Target
Now get creative!
Post your charcuterie board ideas on Instagram and tag me @thefeatherednester or add them to my Facebook page The Feathered Nester. And, as always, I welcome your comments, ideas, and suggestions below!