One of the simplest, most aesthetically pleasing things to put together for any event is a charcuterie board. Charcuterie boards are versatile in flavor, and they’re pretty easy to make when you have the right ingredients and tools at your disposal. Charcuterie boards are one of the best ways to entertain guests and accommodate dietary preferences and needs in a fun and creative way.
We will show you how to create a simple yet enticing charcuterie board to entertain for any event or celebration. And guess what? They just so happen to pair perfectly with a cocktail or two—especially a Classic Bellini or a Mango Mimosa.
What Is a Charcuterie Board?
The key to a great charcuterie board is variety. The charcuterie boards that we know and love are rooted in the French ‘charcuterie’ (from chair, meaning ‘flesh’ and cuit, meaning ‘cooked’), a cooking practice focused on prepared meats (usually preserved ones), like bacon, ham, and sausages along with pates and other add-ons.
One of the best parts of a charcuterie board is how creative you can get with your flavor profiles. There are no set rules as to what you can or can’t do, and you can get away with adding almost anything. That said, here are some guidelines if you are new to charcuterie or are looking for inspiration to start.
Creating Your Charcuterie Board
When you start to craft your board, make sure to include various textures, colors, and flavors that contrast each other. This will balance out your board and make it even more aesthetically pleasing.
Here are some of our favorite recommendations for your board.
1. Meats and Protein
When preparing your board, it’s best to choose pre-sliced cured meats to provide that salty and savory flavor. You can also include smoked sausages or other meats that guests have to slice themselves for an added visual appeal.
Including protein will help your guests feel full and satisfied, so you can basically use a charcuterie board instead of a meal. If you’re looking to expand from meats, a bowl of nuts like almonds or cashews will provide an extra crunch, too. Best options for meats and protein include:
- Cured Ham
- Cold Smoked Salmon
- Other smoked proteins
The sweetness of fruit pairs extremely well with the more salty, savory elements of a charcuterie board. Much like the meats on your board, you want to find preserved or dry fruits to keep with the theme, but fresh fruits can also be a great addition to your board. The juicy fresh fruit will contrast with the chewier, drier textures that you already have on there.
For the fruit element, we suggest:
- Dried Figs
- Fresh berries
- Apple or pear slices
Including vegetables with your board is a great option not just for health reasons but also for aesthetic reasons. Fresh vegetables on your board will provide texture and color that will make your board not only taste good but be easy on the eyes too. Our favorite veggies include:
- Bell Pepper slices
- Cucumbers (and pickles!)
It wouldn’t be a charcuterie board without highlighting some delicious cheese. Try to include an array of textures: some mild cheese and some mature, some soft and some hard. You can also include cheese made from a variety of milk, like sheep, goat, and cow.
Get creative with it and try branching out for your next event. Here’s what we recommend for cheeses.
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Goat Cheese (Bonus points if it has extra flavorings)
- Feta Cheese
- Sharp Cheddar
- Cream Cheese (for spreading)
Once you’ve established your base items on the board, you can start adding jams and spreads to really up the flavor combinations. Adding a simple jam can really add an extra layer of flavor and fanciness to your charcuterie board. For example, manchego cheese and sausage go perfectly with a blueberry jalapeno jam.
- Fig jam
There’s no rulebook saying that you have to include any of these, but it really does add that extra touch to your event. It’ll take the fancy factor up another notch.
6. Breads and Crackers
All the elements on your board are needed, but it’s extra important to have a base element for your guests to enjoy the rest of the food off of! Including bread and crackers helps round out your entire board. Here are some great options for carbs to include on your board.
- Artisan Crackers
- Bread Sticks
- Mini Bagels
We also recommend including a gluten-free option on your board so that no guest is left behind. Gluten-free crackers are a fantastic option, and they just so happen to work perfectly with Ohza—which is also gluten-free!
Presenting Your Charcuterie Board
A crucial aspect of a good charcuterie board is playing into its aesthetics. You’ll need a large serving board, small plates, silverware for snacking and serving, and a keen eye for details.
Arrange your board in a way that is inviting, colorful, and aesthetically pleasing to you and your guests. You can even match your board to the theme of your event—for example, if you’re celebrating a holiday party, consider adding little decorative springs of holly or mini ornaments.
Another element to take note of is how many guests you are serving. Make sure that there are not only enough plates and silverware, but also that there's enough to snack on on your board. Include enough substance to keep your guests from feeling hungry at your party.
The right serving board is key for not only building your charcuterie but housing it too! Wooden cutting boards are popular options, but you can also think a little more out of the box with boards that break off into individual sections or tiered trays.
Charcuterie Worth Celebrating
Regardless of what you’re serving on your charcuterie board and the way you choose to display it, try to make it fit your personal style and your event. Your guests will love the personal details you add to the event that you are hosting, and they’ll really feel that you went the extra mile.
Whether you choose to create a savory board or a sweet one or create your own unique flavor pairing, a charcuterie board is the perfect choice to add character to your next event. Pair your meats and cheeses with one of our delicious Ohza mimosas of your choosing and celebrate knowing that you have nailed the art of the charcuterie board.
Here at Ohza, we value aesthetic, convenience, and deliciousness, and we believe that a simple charcuterie board is the perfect way to capture this. We hope this list is helpful in planning your next event, and we hope that you choose Ohza to pair with your yummy meats and cheeses.
Sources:What the Heck is Charcuterie? And Why You Need It | The Organic Kitchen