Of all the food trends, I think the charcuterie board is my favorite. It's got everything: meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, jams, crackers, and briny bites all together on one beautifully-presented platter. And, when done well, there's salty, sweet, sour, creamy, crunchy, and all the things in between. For people who like to craft each perfect bite, the charcuterie board is the perfect epicurean experience.
So what should you put on the perfect platter?
Essentially there are no wrong answers. Arrange it beautifully and use quality ingredients starting with the largest ingredients and moving to the smallest. Make it small for an appetizer or make it huge for a meal. And, you could even go vegetarian or gluten-free if you want! Below are some helpful steps to arrange your perfect holiday platter!
Step 1: The Board
Pick out your favorite cutting board or platter. I personally love a round boards, natural shaped boards, or wood trays to give a little extra dimension.
Step 2: The Cheese
Start by adding the cheeses as far apart as possible leaving room for the other items. Think about texture and using slices, cubes, and crumbles. When adding a triangle of cheese, be sure to leave the tip out to make it easier for guests to serve themselves. And when adding a round cheese, slice a few pieces, and let guests do the rest!
Step 3: The Meat
Add the cured meats. Again, place with texture in mind. Prosciutto can be set like ribbons, and salami can be folded in halves or quarters and then arranged like a deck of cards. Spread out over the board.
Step 4: Filling it in
Add items that require small ramekins like the preserves, olive tapenade and honey. Use the same kind of ramekins, or ones in similar colors so that they don't distract from the overall presentation. Arrange in different areas of the board.
Next, add the fresh fruit. Try strawberries, grapes, apple or pear slices and blueberries. But really it's whatever you like! If adding grapes, cut into clusters so guests can take a whole cluster and not have to fumble with the vine.
Then, tuck in your breads and crackers, pairing them well with the cheese selections. For example, set a salty rosemary cracker next to a mild cheese like goat cheese.
And lastly, bring in some extra textural elements with dried fruits, nuts, pickles and figs, when in season and fill in the empty areas of the board
VOILA! You are done and your guests are ready to enjoy!