The basic elements of a charcuterie board aren’t hard to put together, and most ingredients you can find in your own pantry. With some crackers or bread, cheeses, meats, and a few flourishes, anyone can put together this arrangement. It’s a helpful thing to have in your arsenal, as there are a lot of situations in which bringing or serving a charcuterie board is a success. Whether formal or informal, any situation calling for something other than a full meal can usually be highlighted with a charcuterie board. Here are some must-haves in the arrangement next time you plan on putting something together!
Feature a Dip or Spread
Charcuterie boards can feel a bit stagnant if they’re only meat, cheese, and bread. Adding something like hummus or dip can really allow for more flavor combinations. Plus, these can accommodate those who might be vegan, unable to eat meat or cheese or prefer a different option.
Add Alcohol, When Appropriate
There can be some wonderful wine pairings with a charcuterie board. That being said, keep two things in mind. One, make sure to only offer alcohol if the situation calls for it. Fun lunches where you’re beginning a day of work or a retreat of some sort might not be the best places to drink. Also, be sure to pair creatively. Bold cheeses work well with bold wines, and some stronger flavored meats like salami are going to pair best with reds, not whites.
Pickled jalapenos or pepperoncini are a great feature for a charcuterie board. Why? They provide a different texture than other items, and also spice things up a bit. Sometimes the flavors can get very central, and a bit of a kick is all you need to keep people searching through the board for new flavors. Plus, it offers variety when things are looking a little bland.
Bring Out the Jams
Jams can provide a bit of sweet to your board without disturbing the flavors happening in the meats, cheeses, and grains. It’s a wonderful way to provide something that might also lead to some surprising combinations, such as a jam and cheese combo that works. Go homemade if you have the time: they usually yield big batches and you could jar some up as a favor for guests.
Decorative utensils can make everything look very purposeful. Pick some little knives and spoons up that match to close out the perfect charcuterie board.