We were going to a friend’s holiday get-together and I wanted to bring something a little different to share. Caitie suggested a charcuterie board and we picked up crackers, meats and cheeses to make it.
We always have a variety of nuts and dried fruits in the house and I had some amazing spiced cherry preserves, so we got started. (Basically I hunted up whatever Caitlin could think of and she arranged everything!)
Here’s what I learned:
1. It’s always nice to have at least two versions of everything.
- Cheese – we had a nice Brie and cubes of a good cheddar.
- Meat – we used Prosciutto, Capocollo and Calabrese Salami from a pre-packed tray. You could also use any spicier turkey salami or turkey ham. Just make sure they are thinly sliced and bite-sized.
- Nuts – we had cashews and almonds
- Dried fruit – we used Craisins and candied ginger
- Something sweet – we had Costco’s chocolate covered raisins
2. A board is nice but it’s more practical to use a tray with an edge to keep things from rolling around. (We actually used a Costco pie tray.)
3. Meats work best rolled into a tube, or a cone. They’re easier to stack and to pick up.
4. Hard cheeses should be cut into little squares. Soft cheese can be served in a chunk.
5. When you place items on the tray, try to keep the items in wedges going around. We started with a nice Brie and a pot of spiced cherries in the middle, and built around that.
6. Plan to vary the ingredients by color. It looks much prettier if you have a light colored item and then a dark item, etc.
7. Use a tiny bowl or cup for any type of relish. I used a Oui yogurt glass container – can’t bring myself to throw them away – and it worked perfectly.
8. A little greenery (we had fresh rosemary and parsley blossoms) adds a nice fresh contrast to the dish.
9. Crackers or little slices of baguette are the perfect thing to serve on.
10. A small knife, fork and spoon are all you really need for serving. You could probably include toothpicks if you want, but we didn’t really need it with the little fork.
11. You can cover it with plastic wrap or with the top of the pie tray if you have it. ( I just peeled the label off carefully and it worked great.)
It’s a lovely thing to bring if you’re visiting and there’s always something for everyone. Thanks for sharing your charcuterie knowledge with me, Caitlin!