If you are planning a gathering for one or more, learn quick and easy ways how to make a cheese and charcuterie board with just a few simple ingredients and that’s easy on one’s budget.
A Step by Step Tutorial How to Make a Cheese and Charcuterie Board
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 sausages to include on your platter, as well as, which imported or local cheeses and crudités–all of which makes this form of entertaining spectacular.
Here are some great tips for creating amazing cheese and charcuterie boards yourself:
1. Start with a Good Cheese Board–The Platter or Base to Your Display
The art, really, to assembling inviting cheese platters, I believe, is starting with the right kind of cheese board. It’s after all the starting place for planning what type of party you’ll have.
The board also helps define what type of food displays are possible. So 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:
Wooden Storage Cheese Board
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
Or, you can always opt for the standard wooden board, which can be anything from bamboo to acacia to even a rustic tabletop.
2. Choose a Variety of Aged and Fresh Sausages
I love charcuterie boards because it allows me to serve up a mix of dried, aged sausages both made locally and abroad. Best of all, they stand up to the long hours of entertaining, which makes sense for harried hostesses.
PARTY TIP: Don’t forget to pre-cut the sausages for your guests, so that they can easily serve themselves.
SAUSAGES AND MEATS TO CONSIDER:
• Lomo de cerdo
• Beef Tenderloin
• Serrano Ham
• Genoa salami
3. Include 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.
GOURMET CHEESES TO CONSIDER:
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
SOFT CHEESES TO CONSIDER:
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
HARD CHEESES TO CONSIDER:
Vary your cheese to include some hard cheeses for your cheese board. I like cheddar (Vermont, Aged, Young), Gouda, Manchego, Parmigiana-Reggiano, and Gruyère, to name a few.
BLUE CHEESE 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.
4. Include Several Kinds of Crudités
Now that you’ve chosen your sausage and cheese, it’s time to think about a mix of crudités to complete your elegant cheese and charcuterie board.
Here’s a short list of tasty add-ons:
• 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
5. Label Your Cheese and Sausage
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 to use. Made of natural stone, you use chalk to write the name of your food item, and you can even indicate the country or region it comes from.
Best of all, it’s easy to wipe clean once you are finished with your party. Image: Cheese Marker Set
Examples of Elegant Cheese and Sausage Boards
So now that you have chosen your meat, cheese and crudités, it’s time to assemble everything together. Here are some super ideas of elegant cheese and charcuterie boards that you can make yourself:
1. Sheep cheese, nuts, and mushrooms rustic style.
2. Here’s a selection of different cheese and fresh pears with homemade bread.
3. Bruschetta with goat cheese, fresh figs and nuts.
4. Assorted fresh cold cut platter Italian-style.
5. Mixed antipasti pickles, blue cheese, olives and mozzarella served on cast-iron board.
6. This is a small cheese board for just a couple of guests. Here are dried sausages, along with a cheese mix with nuts.
I hope this step by step tutorial inspires you to include a cheese and charcuterie board at your next party. Happy Entertaining!