Everything you need to know about building the perfect charcuterie board. It’s easy to make a beautiful platter with these tips & tricks! Includes a FREE printable shopping list.
You all know I love planning a good party! I almost enjoy the planning part as much as the party itself. The more we entertain, the more I value recipes and dishes that don’t take a lot of time, or can at least be made in advance.
I want it all – something that is sure to wow our guests, but without a lot of effort required the day of the event. I do everything I can to keep from being totally overwhelmed and to make sure our guests aren’t arriving to a kitchen that looks like a tornado just hit.
A charcuterie board is the mecca of easy holiday entertaining. It takes almost no skill to arrange an absolutely stunning platter. The key is starting with the right ingredients.
Read on for a list of what to put on a charcuterie board!
What Meats to Pick for a Charcuterie Platter
The charcuterie platter is all about options. You want to share a variety of spice levels, textures and thicknesses. It can be a little overwhelming, especially when there are so many options. That’s why I use Columbus Craft Meats when we entertain. I know I’m getting a high-quality product that is made using an authentic aging process. Columbus Craft Meats started right here in foggy San Francisco over one hundred years ago, in 1917. Talk about heritage!
The variety of meats available from Columbus Craft Meats is truly impressive. If you’re looking for quick and easy, try their Charcuterie Sampler. It has everything you need in one convenient package – Calabrese, Genoa Salame, Italian Dry Salame and Sopressata. Both the Italian Dry and Sopressata are a thicker cut, which makes them feel more hand sliced. You can tell people you did the work – I won’t tell! If you’re feeling more adventurous, try switching it up by adding a few of their lesser known cured meats to your platter. I left some suggestions in the recipe box below.
You can find Columbus Craft Meats at grocery stores across the United States, including Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Costco. Find a store near you using their product locator.
Building the Perfect Charcuterie Board
Versatility is the name of the game here. Charcuterie boards work for any event, whether it’s a casual pool party or a formal Christmas fête. You can vary the items based on what’s in season and what’s right for the occasion. If I’m being completely honest, they also vary a lot based on what we have currently in our pantry!
Because your meats have a diverse flavor profile, focus on bread and crackers that don’t have a lot of seasoning. This will allow the meats to shine. Mustards are a classic choice for a charcuterie board. Try choosing both creamy and seeded mustards. Both sweet and savory jams are great, as well as honey. I love using a honey dipper to allow honey to pool on a section of the platter. I also love hummus. Everything tastes great with hummus!
Cornichons, or tiny pickles, are a charcuterie board staple, but you can also consider adding a variety of pickled vegetables like carrots or radishes. Seasonality comes in when you’re thinking about fresh and dried fruit. In the winter, I love fresh citrus, like mandarins, with the leaves still on. So beautiful, and they add an amazing pop of color! Fresh figs are absolutely gorgeous at the end of summer and in early fall. Granny Smith apples are easy to find year round and look great thinly sliced. I love black or champagne grapes too. If you’re using dried fruit, always get the unsulfured, unsweetened version for better flavor and less saccharine sweetness.
Cheese is always a welcome addition. I love marinated feta, brie, aged Spanish cheese like Manchego, Parmigiano Reggiano and aged cheddar.
Garnish your platter with edible fruit, pine boughs, fresh herbs and whole fruit like pomegranates.
FREE Charcuterie Board Printable Shopping List
Make sure you don’t forget anything at the grocery store with this handy Charcuterie Board Shopping List:
On a desktop, just right-click on the picture and select “Save Image”. If you’re using a mobile phone, take a screenshot to save.
SUMMARY: Tips for Making a Charcuterie Board
- Choose a variety of cured meats to highlight different spice levels, thickness, and texture. For meat ideas, check the recipe box below.
- Try something new with lesser-known specialty meat like Finocchiona or Mortadella.
- The more the merrier! Use craft paper or a plastic tablecloth under your charcuterie board to allow your ingredients to “spill” off the board.
- Serve a variety of dips and sauces in small bowls scattered throughout. Mustards are a must. 🙂
- Pick plain bread and crackers so they don’t compete with all the flavors on your board.
- Select fruits and dried fruits based on what is in season.
- Pickles, like cornichons, are a charcuterie board staple, but try using other pickled veggies too.
- Use whole fruits, fresh herbs or pine boughs for garnish.
How to Make a Charcuterie Board
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: No bake
- Cuisine: American
- Columbus Craft Meats:
- Genoa Salame
- Italian Dry Salame
- Hot Sopressata
- Peppered Salame
- Rosette De Lyon
- Dry Coppa
- Hot Capicolla
- Hot Coppa
- Fresh Fruit
- Sliced apples
- Grapes, especially black or champagne
- Mandarin oranges, with or without peel
- Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
- Dried Fruit
- Pistachios, shelled
- Marcona almonds
- Sauces & Dips
- Hard Cheddar
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Marinated Feta
- Edible flowers
- Pine boughs
- Fresh herbs like thyme & rosemary
- Crackers & Sliced Bread
- Arrange ingredients as desired on your board or platter. Consider covering your serving table with craft paper or a plastic tablecloth so you can extend your arrangement off the platter and cover the entire table!
Keywords: Charcuterie Board, Charcuterie Platter, How to Make Charcuterie Platter
This post is sponsored by Columbus Craft Meats. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow me to bring you amazing content!
P.S. – Have an upcoming event? Pin this charcuterie board for later!