Entertaining - Parties and Events

How to Create an Epic Charcuterie Board

During the holiday season, there are numerous parties and get-togethers, making it difficult to figure out what to serve your guests or even what to bring to an event. The typical cheese tray? A fruit or veggie platter? Christmas cookies? Order a pizza? It turns into somewhat of a chore.

Back in 2020, before the pandemic, we were hosting an event in our home. It was a routine monthly get-together with a close-knit group of friends. This time we wanted to do something different, something truly unique! All the charcuterie board ideas on Pinterest got us thinking! Let’s make a legendary charcuterie board! Like the ones we see on Pinterest!

Below are the steps to creating an epic charcuterie board:

*First: Look for your canvas. We have a large island in our kitchen and that is usually where everyone congregates when we have a party, so we thought that would be a great spot to create our masterpiece. I ordered brown butcher paper on Amazon, so we could display all the sweet and savory items on the paper versus on a platter or cutting board. We were going for large and epic.

Look through your kitchen cabinets for your charcuterie board, a wooden cutting board, a large plate, platter, tray, butcher paper, etc. 

*Second: Gather the supplies. Look for small vessels, trays, bowls, dishes, etc. for the dips, jams, spreads and smaller food items. Grab little forks, knives, cheese spreaders or honey dipper sticks depending on what you want to serve. 

*Third: Decide what you want to serve. Charcuterie shops are popular in Europe and are known to serve cured meats, cheeses and accompaniments.

Some cured meats include ham, sausages, prosciutto, salami, and pepperoni. Cheeses could include gouda, brie, cheddar, and goat cheese. Accompaniments could include dips, hummus, honey, jelly, olives, fruit, dried fruit, vegetables, nuts, breads, crackers, little chocolates, etc. For our board, we had salami, ham, and prosciutto, but we went a little above and beyond with the meats by adding Porterhouse steak and rum smoked salmon. Two things my husband LOVES making! We also smoked bread on the grill to add something unique to the board.

The sky really is the limit with this sort of thing. Just be sure to choose a variety of textures and flavors. Think sweet and savory and complementary. Think colors and contrast, so the board is interesting and visually appealing to guests. Also, think about garnishes! These could be fresh flowers, sprigs of herbs, or decorative items to create a certain mood. For example, if you want a Christmas themed board you could add Christmas figurines and Christmas candy!

Jot down your ideas! You can even look at images on Pinterest or in magazines for inspiration. 

*Fourth: Shop! Now that you found your canvas and have a list of what items you want on your board, it’s time to shop! Local farmer’s market, grocery store, butcher shop, bakery, specialty markets, or look for items online. For our epic board, I bought raw organic honeycomb from Amazon! It was DELICIOUS!

Link to the raw honey: https://amzn.to/3TDbTOX

We prepared our epic charcuterie board as a group, so we utilized a group text to avoid duplicate items and to keep track of what everyone was bringing. It was a smaller group of friends, so that worked out well. If you are doing something like this with a larger group of people, you could use SignUpGenius, Luckypotluck or something similar to keep things organized.

*Fifth: Assemble! This is the fun part! This is the time where you start putting together your masterpiece. Start with the major items, the cured meats and cheeses. These items serve as anchors for the board since they are the largest food group. For example, the steak and the salmon we used for our board were the big-ticket items. Then add the accompaniments. Be sure to arrange the items that pair well together. For example, breads and crackers next to the jams, jellies and dips. If you have a certain spread to be served with your meat item, place that item nearby. Make sure there are enough proteins to keep guests satisfied.

Once the anchor items are on the board or paper start filling things in with the other accompaniments, like the nuts, fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, chocolates, etc. The charcuterie board should look like a plentiful smorgasbord. That means things look full and there aren’t any gaps present. Be sure to use the accompaniments to fill in any gaps. I recommend treating it like a game, and work to distribute everything in a way to hide the brown paper below or cutting board used so it looks full. There may be some areas you’d like to be seen (intentional gaps), like the cutting board our steak was placed on. We wanted that look on our board. You are the artist here, so you arrange things the way your mind takes you.

The last step for assembly is considered the icing on the cake here. This step is to add the garnishes to the board. This will add texture and make things looks very upscale. Like a chef adding parsley to the dish at the end! The garnishes will add greenery, decor and embellishments to enhance your charcuterie board. Adding sprigs of herbs, flowers, or other decorative items will really make your charcuterie board look like it should be featured in a magazine! You’re going for epic, right?

Sixth: Admire and Devour! I think this step is pretty self-explanatory. Stand back and admire your work! What you created is epic. Very important! Be sure to take pictures before people dig in!

Below is a shopping list to assist you with creating your epic charcuterie board (contents are from the feature photo): *Quantities and sizes are dependent upon the number of guests you want to serve.

*Salmon – we smoked it on the grill
*Porterhouse Steak
*Prosciutto – rolled with mozzarella
*Large sized Pepperoni

*Smoked Gouda
*Aged Gouda
*Smoked Chedder
*Smoked Ammerlander
*Goat’s Milk

*Cherry Tomatoes
*Medjool Dates
*Dried apricots
*Dried Cherries
*Mixed olives

*Raw honey with honeycomb (SBO Honeycomb)
*Apple Cider Jelly (Stonewall Kitchen)
*Hot Pepper Jelly
*Seeded Berry Jelly (Trader Joe’s)
*Cherry Jelly (Trader Joe’s)
*Brown Mustard
*Smoked Gouda cheese dip

*Mixed nuts
*Sugared/glazed walnuts

*Fresh Rosemary

*Loaf of French bread – smoked on the grill and cut up.
*Breadsticks (hard, like Stella D’oro)
*Thin Baked Crackers with Sea Salt (Firehook brand)
*Texas Toast
*Artisan crackers

*Chocolate covered blueberries/pomegranate


(3) Comments

  1. Brenda says:

    Love this. Takes the overwhelm out of creating a board. This will come in handy over the holidays. Thank you!

    1. Hello Brenda, I am thrilled this post will come in handy for you! Have fun creating your board. Please take pictures, I’d love to see your creation! 🙂

  2. These look amazing

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