Every great get-together needs an EASY CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE BOARD just like this one!
This is one of those entertaining essentials that always works – think of it as a one-stop appetizer station. Whether you’re presenting to a group of 2 or 20, just follow our simple tips and suggestions. Your group of friends and family will love how we pull together an EASY CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE BOARD.
Before we share our tried-and-true technique, a quick clarification on terminology. Charcuterie is a French term that encompasses prepared meat products such as smoked and cured meats, but also sausages, terrines and pate, primarily made using pork. Thus, a charcuterie board can be created by assembling any number of these delicacies. We upped the wow factor of our snack board by also including a variety of cheese. Pairing charcuterie and cheese is a brilliant combination.
Something else I’d like to mention, and it’s really important; don’t overthink this. Keep it simple and remember to follow our lead and present everything on the one board; no need for multiple bowls and platters. In fact, you can even serve everything from an attractive cutting board!
Before beginning, do a quick inventory of stuff in both the fridge and pantry, then make a quick trip to your local grocery store to collect the missing elements. Cheese and charcuterie boards don’t require a big time commitment. Easy has never been this simple!
I often suggest you PIN recipes to a favourite board and BOOKMARK the page for future reference. Go ahead and do that with this post, for sure. The other thing I’d like to suggest; take a photo of your completed EASY CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE BOARD and post it on a favourite social using #weekendatthecottage. Having a pic of the board will be helpful as a reminder for future endeavours. You’ll recreate this solid snack idea again and again.
Here’s how we craft an EASY CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE BOARD:
In selecting the cheese for this application, we suggest you present a selection of soft, crumbly and hard cheeses. Try Brie, chèvre (goat cheese) or Camembert as soft cheese options; blue, feta, Asiago or Cheshire as crumblies, and Gruyère, pecorino, Gouda and Parmesan as firm cheese varieties. Head HERE for a comprehensive list, and remember that there’s no need to get too fancy. Most grocery stores carry a wide variety from which you can choose. Lastly, time permitting, bring your cheese out from the fridge an hour before you intend to serve. This will give the flavours a chance to bloom.
As mentioned, the charcuterie portion of this program can include a selection of prepared pork products. Cured and smoked beef and poultry products work too! Although we used prosciutto (Italian cured ham), a spicy salami, sliced pepperoni and an herbed smoked sausage, feel free to use your favourites. If you’re ever pressed for time and need an all-in-one solution to your cured and smoked meats, look for large packages containing pre-cut portions. Using them will make the assembly of your board even easier!
Consider variety when picking crackers for your EASY CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE BOARD. We suggest offering soda or oat crackers plus more flavourful varieties such as dried fruit and nuts crisps, cheese wafers and crispy whole wheat toasts. Including gluten-free options is also suggested, and probably a safe go-forward plan – there always seems to be one in the crowd. Lastly, speaking from experience, homemade SOURDOUGH and French baguette breads work too!
Fresh fruit compliments cheese and charcuterie really well. We used juicy green and red grapes, snipping clusters of one or two off the main stem before adding them to the board. Grapes go so well with the cheese and their sweetness plays well off the saltiness of the meats. Other fresh fruits that can be added are pears, apples, cherries, pomegranates and peaches. Try one, try them all.
Pickled items aren’t essential, as in, I wouldn’t make a special trip to the store if you’re out. Yet if you have things like pickles, miniature gherkins, green and black olives or pickled artichokes, their addition will be well-received. The sweet and sour mix of these brined treats work with the flavours of the cheese, meat and fruit.
In suggesting condiments, think beyond the ketchup, mustard and relish we often add to hot dogs and hamburgers. Instead, consider jellies and condiments with a more interesting blend of sweet, spicy and savoury notes. Things like truffled honey, red pepper jelly, jalapeño jam and grain mustards will add memorable, unexpected pops of flavour.
NUTS AND DRIED FRUIT
The inclusion of nuts and dried fruits in the plan is another unexpected nicety that we always find guests enjoy. Walnuts, pecans and almonds, whether raw or toasted, add a nice, ummm, nuttiness to the board (go figure!). Adding a bit of dried fruit such as apricots, raisins or cranberries is also pleasing to the palette. Although not essential, nuts and dried fruit add a pleasant finishing touch.
Although the very basic instructions on how to arrange your EASY CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE BOARD are listed below, you might also find watching the VIDEO attached to this story helpful. Between the two, you’ll have no trouble recreating this treat that’s so perfect when entertaining. One final suggestion on presentation: it’s always nice having a set of cheese knives set out to assist with service. I’ve listed links to purchase down below.
Our EASY CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE BOARD is just what your next party or get-together needs!