I've got some great tips for you! I am so excited to share with you this equation for the perfect Charcuterie board.
1. Pick your board! This of course depends on the number of people, but the size of the board or platter you use will help you when you pick your cheeses and accompaniments. This long cheese board from Crate and Barrel is such a great shape.
2. A good rule of thumb is to match the number of cheeses with your pairings, and three is a good amount to start with. For example, if you’ve got three cheeses, have at least three other items to go with them, and keep in mind working in odd numbers is more pleasing to the eye. I also loved the idea of these mini chalkboards so that you can label each cheese.
3. Decide if this is for snacking or for a meal replacement. If it is for snacking with a small crowd, keep it simple: three cheeses, a cracker, a dried fruit and a meat. If it's for replacing a meal, add more protein and some nuts.
4. Now, pick your food! Start with at least three cheeses in different styles and textures: a hard cheese like parmesan or aged cheddar, a semi soft cheese like brie or gouda, and a soft cheese like goat or roquefort.
5. When you are picking sides, variety is key. Different textures, colors and tastes will make the board more interesting to look at and eat. Along with crackers, deli meats, nuts, and dried or fresh fruit, consider adding fruit spreads, olives, and fresh herbs or edible flowers.
6. When arranging your board, place the cheeses first. Pick a pattern and have fun... you could place the cheeses in the center and fan the rest of your sides around it, or put them in different corners and snake the sides in between them. Whatever you do, be sure to contrast the colors and the heights to keep it visually exciting. And whatever your decorations, keep them edible. People may not actually eat herbs and flowers, but it will add aroma and color to your board.
7. Make sure that you've got utensils available: a cheese knife for hard cheeses, spreaders for the softer ones, and spoons as necessary. I love mixing metals, so I picked out a gold cheese knife set to go with some of my other sets from Crate and Barrel. Have toothpicks and small tongs available so that people don’t have to touch all the food with their bare hands.
8. Finally, include everything you’ve purchased on your board when you arrange it beforehand. This means you can enjoy the food and your guests and not worry about keeping the board stocked.
Here is a fun cocktail to serve with your Charcuterie board:
1. While snacking on cheese, combine water and sugar with orange zest and fresh ginger over stovetop. Once dissolved, set syrup aside and let fully cool before using.
2. Slice a few oranges and place with cranberries and mint leaves in the bottom of a serving pitcher. Gently smash with a wooden spoon.
3. Add to carafe with about 1-2 cups of cranberry juice.
4. When ready to serve, add the sparkling water to the pitcher and serve chilled or over ice. Garnish with some finely chopped mint leaves, orange slices and cranberries, if desired.