Follow this step by step guide to make a cheese and charcuterie board that’s both elegant and easy on the budget for any occasion.
If you are planning a gathering for one or more, here’s a quick guide with plenty of tips and ideas how to make a cheese and charcuterie board with just a few simple ingredients and that’s easy on one’s budget.
As a homemaker, I’m always on the lookout for finding simpler ways to entertain my guests on a budget. That’s why I love cheese and charcuterie boards.
It’s an elegant way to offer finger foods to your guests that they can serve themselves.
The difficult part is choosing which cheeses and charcuterie to include on your platter, as well as, how to assemble everything so that it looks well-thought out and delicious.
But no worries. I’ve put together my favorite guide for entertaining ideas and tips for creating the most amazing cheese and charcuterie boards and platters yourself:
1. Use a Variety of Cheeses
One thing I absolutely love is trying out new cheeses. We are blessed here in the heartland to have quite a number of top artisanal cheesemakers who are masters in making some of the best cheese I have ever tasted.
But don’t take my word for it. Be a cheese-tester yourself and check out your grocer’s cheese case prior to your party date for what is available near you.
TRY THIS: Make Your Own Cheese at Home
It’s a misnomer that states the cheese you buy must come from a store. Not so. In fact, you can make your own cheese at home. And even though it may take a bit of time and some preparation, it is doable. Plus, the taste can’t be beat because you control what goes into the cheese.
PARTY TIP: Be sure to offer your own homemade cheese alongside your other cheese offerings at your next party.
Don’t be afraid to try new varieties of cheese. And, when in doubt, request a slice or two to try first before your purchase it. You don’t want to surprise your guests with something they might not like.
Here are some gourmet cheeses to include on your cheese board:
- Pepper Jack
- Port Wine Cheese
- Chocolate Cheese
RELATED: Pina Colada Cheese Ball Recipe
And, of course, don’t be shy around soft cheeses, like Brie. These cheeses literally “melt” as they warm to room temperature and are easy to spread on crusty breads, crackers and veggies like celery stalks.
- Goat Cheese
RELATED: Amazing Brie Cheese Recipes
Vary your cheeses to also include some hard cheeses like:
- Cheddar: Vermont, Aged, Young
Blue Cheese, Gorgonzola, and Stilton
Many people turn their noses up at blue cheese but it does have a distinctive and sophisticated taste that can’t be matched by other cheeses. There are so many choices but you should offer at least a small chunk of it on your cheese board.
2. Choose a Variety of Charcuterie
Definition of Charcuterie
You might be wondering what charcuterie means. The simple answer is that it’s different types of aged, dried and fresh meats and sausages.
Dried or hard sausages tend to stand up better to the long hours of entertaining.
When you make a charcuterie platter you aren’t limited to just a couple of options. Try serving up a mix of dried, aged and fresh sausages and meats both made locally and abroad.
Types of Charcuterie List:
- Lomo de cerdo
- Beef Tenderloin
- Serrano Ham
- Paté: liver, duck
- Genoa salami
PARTY TIP: Don’t forget to pre-cut the sausages for your guests, so that they can easily serve themselves.
Now that you’ve chosen your meat and cheese, it’s time to think about a mix of crudités (or small bites) to complete your elegant cheese and charcuterie board.
- dried fruit
- homemade preserves, jams and jellies
- homemade breads
- nuts (walnuts, pecans, roasted pine nuts, cashews, etc.)
- fresh vegetables
- crackers and wafers
- mustards and specialty mayonnaise
- smoked fish, salmon, herring
4. Choose the Right Cheese Platter
The art, really, to assembling inviting meat and cheese platters, I believe, is using the right kind of platter or base for your display.
It helps define what type of food displays from large to small, to formal and informal.
Regardless of what and how you choose to display your food choices, make it easy on your guests so that all they have to do is grab a plate and nosh at will.
Check out these ideas for the best cheese boards and charcuterie platters:
Wooden Storage Cheese Board Set
Take for example this display (shown below). There’s a place for crackers to be set and a wide platform to cut cheese.
Also, if you have a need to change out your cheese knife, you can see that the knives are readily at hand in an attached drawer. This is pretty handy, especially if you have little space but need to maximize your cheese board.
Cheese Board Under Glass
Sometimes you might only want to highlight one or two cheeses. In this next example, you’ll notice that the board has a glass cover. That is because certain cheeses have tendency to dry out quickly, making them look dull and not pleasing to eat–even though the cheese may be perfectly fine.
Large Standard-size Cheese Board
When serving a large group, opt for a standard wooden board (or two or three), which can be anything from bamboo to acacia to even a rustic tabletop.
Personalized Cheese Board Set
The newest trend for many foodies is to personalize your cheese board with your name, monogram, family crest, a even favorite phrase or image. It can be carved or burnt into the wood. It’ll make a beautiful presentation when using it with your favorite cheeses and charcuterie.
5. Label Your Cheeses and Meats
When hosting a large gathering, don’t forget to label your cheeses and meats. I recommend that you use something that can be used again and again–after all, cheese and sausage boards won’t be going out of style any time soon.
Slate tags are perfect are a great option. Made of natural stone, you can use chalk to write the name of your food item along with the country or region it comes from.
And, when the party is over, it’s easy to wipe clean with a damp rag.
Photo Samples of Elegant Charcuterie and Cheese Boards
So now that you have chosen your meat, cheese and crudités, it’s time to assemble everything together.
Here are some super ideas and photos of elegant cheese and charcuterie boards that you can make yourself:
1. Rustic Sheep Cheese, Nuts, and Mushrooms Board
2. Mixed Cheese and Fresh Pear Board
3. Bruschetta with Goat Cheese, Fresh Figs and Nut Board
4. Italian-Style Assorted Fresh Cold Cut Platter with Cheese Board
5. Mixed Antipasto Board
6. Mini Board with Sausage, Cheese and Nuts
I hope this step by step guide inspires you to include a cheese and charcuterie board at your next party. Happy Entertaining!
And, for more tips and ideas for food ideas for your next party or event, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Cooking Section.