Charcuterie boards are one of my favorite ways to entertain or snack. They are easy to change up or curtail to specific tastes and can take minutes to prepare if you’re in a rush. The following essentials will help you build the perfect cheese board FOR YOU!
1. CHEESE: The Starting Point
What’s a charcuterie board without cheese? I let my cheese choices lead the way to what else should be on the board.
For the perfect start to your board, you’ll want each of the following:
- Soft Cheese – think Brie, Goat Cheese, Camembert, Boursin, or Burrata.
- Semi-Soft Cheese – something buttery-smooth like German Butterkäse, Havarti, Creamy Gouda or Muenster.
- Hard Cheese – salty and savory like Aged Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, Manchego, Gruyere or even Parmesan.
- Something fancy and decadent – like a specialty Truffle Brie or marinated goat cheese.
- Something moldy – seriously! Look for a house blue cheese, a Stilton or Gorgonzola.
- Something that’s a surprise – find a cheese that you’ve never heard of like Spanish Mahón-Menorca.
Proteins add the savory bits to any good cheese board. Here are some of my favorite options:
- Something savory and solid – I’m talking Genoa Salami, Salametti or Sopressata.
- Something spicy – I love a good Calabrese, Uncured Pepperoni or Spanish Chorizo.
- Something light – thinly sliced proteins like Prosciutto, Mortadella or Coppa.
3. FRUITS, CARBS & FILLERS
Fruits add a natural lightness and sweetness to your cheesy spread. I recommend the following:
- Apples – the Honeycrisp variety pairs well with Brie and Gouda.
- Grapes – Red, Purple, or Green; make sure they are seedless.
- Pears – pair perfectly with those moldy cheeses.
- Figs – go well with goat cheese and honey.
- Stone Fruits – peaches, plums, apricots or nectarines.
- Berries – blackberries, blueberries or raspberries.
You need something starchy to pair with your meats and cheeses. Don’t overthink it!
- Crackers – pick what you like! I usually go with a variety of these almond flour crackers from Simple Mills.
- Sliced Baguettes or Crostini – I prefer these Against the Grain or BFree options.
This is the fun part – fillers are the yummy additions to your board.
- Olives – Green, black, Greek or Kalamata are just a few to choose from. I tend to go with Pimento-Stuffed Spanish olives or Blue Cheese-Stuffed Greek olives.
- Nuts – think almonds, cashews, pepitas or walnuts.
- Chocolate – any kind will do. I sprinkle chocolate chips here and there or add truffles if we have them.
- Something pickled – you want something tangy to offset your flavors. Think snacking pickles or pickled asparagus, onions, cauliflower; the list goes on.
- Something Unexpected – add a fun protein source like prosciutto deviled eggs or bacon-wrapped dates. A showstopper like a baked Brie or a simple Soft Cheese-Stuffed Picante Peppers.