How to Build a Charcuterie Board

You’ve probably seen charcuterie boards popping up on menus all over the place. Despite their trendy nature, if you can find the right meats and cheeses, they’re pretty easy to put together at home. And with minimal effort, you can put together a pretty impressive spread for a light dinner or appetizer.

So let’s start with my favorite part: the cheese. I like to get a variety of cheeses: something hard and sharp, like parmesan, something soft and maybe stinky, such as a high quality brie or gorgonzola, and a semi-soft cheese, like the Cotswold I chose for this particular board. Of course, you can tailor these decisions to whatever best suits your own pallet, but if serving a crowd, variety is a great idea.

On to the meats. These can be a little trickier to find, depending on your grocery store options. If you’re lucky enough to find a spot that will slice the meats fresh for you, definitely take advantage of it. While packaged meats can be fine, the freshness of the sliced-to-order options really can’t be beat. But if you can’t find that option near you, Trader Joe’s has an excellent selection of packaged cured meats. I always start with a prosciutto. The deep but accessible flavors of prosciutto are some of my favorite and are usually safe with just about any audience. Next I’ll generally pick a salami. I’m generally a fan of the more traditional flavors, but you can often find more adventurous options including peppered or herbed salami.

DSC_0004Once you’ve picked your meats and cheeses, you’ll need a vessel. Today I chose a chewy, flavorful bread, but depending on your cheese choices, you may want to offer a mild cracker option as well. Finish your picturesque charcuterie with olives honey, chutney, jams, or fruits. And of course, a glass of wine. Now, time to impress the dinner guests!

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