Today’s post is all about building the perfect party charcuterie board. These are perfect for parties because they are so easy to customize and usually everyone can find something they like! They seem slightly intimidating if you don’t feel comfortable with “knowing” all your cheese flavors and meat pairings. So, don’t stress! This guide will help you through a perfect party charcuterie set up in no time!
Pick A Platter:
You need to first decide how large a board you want to build and how you want to serve it. If you don’t have a classic cheese board feel free to get creative. I sometimes will use my pizza stone, a cookie sheet, or even butcher block paper going straight across my table. This adds a fun touch and makes clean up so easy! Decide how large your platter is and go from there! That wasn’t so hard, was it?
Select The Cheese:
When building a party charcuterie board I like to start with my cheeses. I think about different flavors (stronger cheeses vs. milder ones) and different textures (extra sharp vs. creamy) and decide on a variety of both. For a larger board I typically pick 4-5 different cheeses or a smaller one 2-3. I find the cheese is the first to go so I like to have variety. For my most recent platter, I started with a common crowd please; the Colby jack. It’s a mild cheese but still has flavor and has a good medium texture. Additionally it pairs well with different crackers, pretzels, etc. Next, I went for a stronger “hard” cheese and picked a nice Gouda. I cut it into wedges opposite the Colby Jack cubes to create some nice differentiation between the harder cheeses. Next I wanted a few softer cheeses. I went with a Goat Cheese Cranberry block and a standard Brie. I doctored the brie with some drizzled honey and a few nuts for garnish. Lastly, I went for a really soft spread of garlic Boursin cheese. It pairs with so many crackers and veggies so I couldn’t pass it up.
Pair with the Perfect Deli Meats:
Charcuterie is not complete without a nice variety of meat to pair with your crackers and cheese. My go to is always prosciutto. I find that it is a common favorite on my party charcuterie boards. I like to layer them in a simple but “messy” looking clump (if that makes sense) to add texture to the board. I usually add 1-2 other types of meat like summer sausage or a Genoa salami. One of my favorite things to make is candied bacon. It brings a bit of sweetness and smokiness to the board and there is never any left over. I also love the presentation for this by standing it upright in a little mason jar. Finally, add something for the non-meat eaters and choose a nice smoked salmon. It pairs well with the Boursin and goes great with rosemary and dill crackers.
Bring It All Together:
Finally, you need to bring it all together by choosing your crackers, pretzels and other “dippy” do’s. I look at finding a variety of types and flavors. Go with a simple buttery cracker, a wheat cracker, or maybe one with seeds or different flavors. Use a few pretzel nuggets, some pitta chips, and even some grilled or toasted bread. All of these are easy options to pair with your meats and cheeses and you can’t go wrong. Additionally, I like to add maybe a few types of olives (like green or kalmata), a bowl of little dill pickles, some fresh grapes, a sprinkle of nuts, and of course a bit of dark chocolate or berries. All of these things play off one another so don’t be afraid to experiment. You could even add a few dipping options like mustard or a spicy aioli. The chocolate and fruit go divine with Brie and other softer cheeses and makes the perfect touch to the board (in my humble opinion).
I start by laying out the cheeses. Cut them in different ways or plate a few to add dimension. Next pair the meats with the different cheeses. Place the different types of crackers near the meat and cheese pairings to help “guide” people to choosing and pairing different flavors together. I like a pita chip with my softer spreads because they work great for dipping. I’ll use a denser cracker with the Gouda and a lighter wafer or bread for my Brie. Don’t over think it to much! Add your fruit, nuts, pickles, and olives near different open spaces to fill the gaps. I use small plates and bowls to do this sometimes too. It’s not hard to move things around if needed so just take your time and have fun creating the perfect party charcuterie for your next event!
The Perfect Party CharcuteriePrint Recipe
- 1-2 Hard Cheeses (Gouda, Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Cheddar, etc.)
- 1-2 Soft Cheeses (Goat or Brie)
- 1 Cheese Spread (Boursin is my favorite)
- 3 types of crackers
- 2-4 Meats (Salami, Sausage, Bacon, Prosciutto, Smoked Salmon)
- Add On's- Pickles, olives, nuts, apples, berries, grapes, or chocolate
- Dips- mustard, aioli, honey, etc.
Cut your cheeses in different ways (wedges, squares, or place on a plate)
Style the meats on the board near the cheeses you want to pair it with. Lay them flat, in a circle, or roll them.
Add your crackers.
Place your nuts, pickles, olives, and fruits near the open spaces to fill in the gaps.