10 Ways to Elevate Your Charcuterie Board
You mastered the basics of charcuterie and now you want to really elevate your charcuterie board style? With all those gorgeous looking cheese boards on Pinterest and social media, of course you want to take your charcuterie board up to the next level. Who doesn’t want to seriously impress their family and friends with their charcuterie know-how and presentation? Let me help you out with the top 10 ways to elevate your charcuterie board style in a super easy “choose one” or “choose all” way.
I recently saw a pre-made charcuterie board for sale on the internet that fed 10 people that cost $250. Yes, I fell out of my chair when I saw that price! And you know why? Because with a little bit of time and patience, these simple ways to elevate your charcuterie board will cost a mere fraction of the price.
1. Upgrade your charcuterie board
Stop using your regular old cutting board and upgrade your charcuterie board game to a fancy yet super affordable board made of olive wood or acacia wood. These gorgeous wood boards will make your next charcuterie board look like it was made exclusively for a magazine, and can easily be found on Zulily or at your local discount home store. Just don’t forget to hand wash them when you are done.
If you are looking to really “up” your charcuterie game even further, try using a board made of real stone, or a slightly elevated serving board, or even a three-tiered stand that is usually made for fancy tea-time finger snacks to really go overboard with your charcuterie board. I know that your guests will leave your event impressed and talking about it for weeks. All you have to do is keep in mind how many guests you are serving, so you buy or secure a board of appropriate size.
2. Use a variety of foods
The most basic charcuterie board will include cheese, crackers, and a few select types of meat. However, to really make a board that goes above and beyond, I suggest that you add a variety of olives, fresh fruit such as berries, as well everyone’s favorites such as apples, pears, and melon, fresh vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and drizzled honey with a honey wand, and finally, a good variety of artisan bread and crisps. The more variety the better! The charcuterie board is meant for easy snack grazing where everyone can create their own favorite personalized bite, so why not add a variety of ingredients that everyone likes?
3. Add sweet and savory flavors
Some of my favorite flavor combinations have been found while grazing on a charcuterie board, like goat cheese and apples. Thanks to the opportunity of tasting different flavor combinations that I would have never tried before, my pallet has been widely expanded in large part thanks to charcuterie. I would strongly suggest that you offer a wide array of flavors and textures to your guests that will wow their pallets. Offer crackers, soft cheeses, nuts, fresh vegetables, and dips such as tzatziki, hummus, and even drizzle everything with fresh honey and see what happens! You could expand someone else’s flavor pallet, just like mine was!
4. Use a variety of cheeses
Nearly everyone has had an opportunity to taste cheddar cheese by now. It’s delicious. However, I suggest that you offer your guests a variety of cheese with different textures. Follow these simple guidelines to select the best cheeses for your charcuterie board that will knock your guests socks off:
1. Crowd Favorites
Aged Cheddar or White Cheddar: Serve these favorites in fine slices.
Aged Gruyere: Serve sliced and is wonderfully nutty, pairs perfectly with sweet crisp apples.
2. Soft and Creamy
Brie: Take it out of the refrigerator at least an hour before serving so it’ll get all nice and gooey for your guests. Serve with a cheese knife.
Herbed Goat Cheese: My absolute favorite, especially when paired with crunchy fig and rosemary crisps.
3. Hard cheeses
Either of these strong cheeses pairs perfectly with sweet fruit and crackers.
Parmigiano: Present in a cheese triangle with a sharp cheese knife.
Edam: Present whole and with a sharp cheese knife.
4. Tangy and Blue
Roquefort blue cheese: I highly recommend offering a whole small triangle of blue cheese. They are pungent and strong and will make your board look ultra-professional.
Smoked Gouda, Smoked Cheddar, or Smoked Gruyere: If your local market offers smoked versions of your favorite cheeses, I highly recommend picking up at least one to offer to your guests. These can be served thinly sliced.
5. The arrangement makes the statement
While arranging my charcuterie boards at home, I tend to group the food items together in small groups on the board. When I am happy with the overall presentation on my board, I start working on the arrangement. The key difference between a regular charcuterie board and an elevated board is the amount of time and patience you put into creating the board. If you have the moments to spare, I suggest that you take your time to place and space the food items *just so*. Trust me, your efforts will not go unnoticed.
6. Added Earthy Elements
The most presentable-looking charcuterie boards have added earthy elements such as fresh flowers and sprigs of rosemary or thyme delicately placed within and around the board. Guests can even snack on the fresh herbs alongside their cheeses too.
7. Go Draping
Want to harken back to Ancient Greece with your charcuterie board to truly elevate it? Try draping fresh red grapes over the edge of your already elevated serving board. Your guests will feel downright fancy while plucking the grapes one by one.
8. Origami meat
Yes! Get crafty with your cured salami and create delicate flowers made of meat for your board. Or delicately slice your kiwi fruit and strawberries to look fancy. This suggested idea goes back to #5: the amount of time and patience you would like to express in your charcuterie board presentation. Although relatively easy to create, salami roses and delicately sliced fruits make a huge impact on a charcuterie board and will most definitely elevate your charcuterie board style by 1,000%.
9. Themed to the extreme
Are you hosting a baby shower, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Rosh Hashanah, or a birthday? Try creating a themed board for the specific event to truly impress your guests. Try choosing all red food items arranged in a heart shape for Valentine’s Day. Or a variety of green and red food items in the shape of a pine tree for Christmas. How about adding fun little décor items such as plastic party hats for a birthday party? The sky is the limit when it comes to your creativity!
10. Out of the ordinary
One of my favorite things to do is really get my guest’s attention and impress them is with foods or presentations that are out of the ordinary. Let’s say I am hosting the next brunch for the book club, instead of providing the usual coffee and doughnuts that we always have, I am going to create an amazing extreme breakfast charcuterie board that is complete with pancakes, sausage, bacon, and tons of fresh fruit! You can elevate your next charcuterie board by being creative with what you are putting on it. It does not have to be the usual meats and cheeses!
Depending on where you are located, fresh figs are incredibly difficult to acquire and are quite the deliciously rare treat! Add halved fresh figs and drizzle with honey for an extra special treat.
Head over to Zulily’s kitchen and dining section to scoop up your next great find!