There is no appetizer more impressive than an epic charcuterie board. A charcuterie board most often consists of a variety of meats often fruit, olives and/or nuts, slices of baguette, a few cheeses, a handful of dips/spreads and some pickles. They are popular for parties of all sizes and occasions. 

Charcuterie boards have become a go-to because they are impressive to look at and thus provide perfect images to upload to social media. No matter what kind of diet your guests may follow, everyone can usually find something to eat on a charcuterie board.  Here are our private chef-approved tips for charcuterie boards!

Assembly

Assembling a charcuterie board isn’t too difficult because there is no one right way to do it.  You can curate a handful of items or go all out and create quite a spread. Charcuterie boards can be as big or as small as you need them to be.  The “win” with a charcuterie board is that there is no end to the possible variations. Switching up a few ingredients yields something new and amazing each and every time. 

As you plan out your list of items, be sure to decide first on the shape and size of the board you will use as this will dictate the amount you will need for each of your charcuterie board ingredients.  Large cutting boards, marble slabs, slate boards or ceramic platters are great options.

Ingredients

When it comes to meats, you want a variety of sliced cured ones. Think salami, pepperoni, soppressata, serrano ham or prosciutto.  Next up are the cheese choices, be sure to have a handful of options, some that can be cubed, thinly sliced, hard and semi-soft or served as an impressive wedge. You want to aim for cheeses with different textures, from soft (like brie) to medium (like a cheddar) to something hard – like an Asiago!

You will want to add crackers and/or bread to your charcuterie board. You need several options for guests to layer up on all of the flavors. Whatever you choose, be sure the choices are sturdy and can hold up to whatever you are thinking of serving on them. Rustic baguette slices, crostini, grilled bread, pita chips, and breadsticks are just a few of the many ideas you could include.

When possible utilize seasonal fruits and veggies and add a few special touches or garnishes if your charcuterie board is being used to entertain around a particular holiday. For example, a Christmas charcuterie board could have sprigs of thyme and cranberries scattered about as decoration. A Valentine’s Day charcuterie board could offer a small bowl of red hots and a healthy dose of chocolate.

Aesthetics

As you are prepping and selecting items for your charcuterie board, make sure to choose a rainbow of colors so that your board doesn’t all blend together visually.  Bright reds (strawberries, cherries, tomatoes), greens (olives, apple slices, herb garnish), punchy purples (grapes and jams) and cheerful orange/yellows (cheese, orange slices, spreads/dips ) placed strategically with the tans/browns/dark pinks of meats, breads, crackers and nuts will balance out your charcuterie board. The same goes for texture. Variety is a key element in building a beautiful charcuterie board.  You can also use small decorative bowls to break up the arrangement and add additional appeal.

Your charcuterie board should include a variety of jams, preserves, mustards, or dips. The types of items you are serving should be considered before you make a choice around dips and additions. If a lot of your items are salty, go more sweet and savory with dips and spreads.  

Fill in gaps on your board with fresh and/or dried fruit; there is no wrong answer here. Use fruit that is in season.  Grapes are an obvious choice as well as pretty much all berries. Apple slices are always a nice touch.

A good rule of thumb is that if you are serving your charcuterie board as an appetizer, plan on approximately 2-3 ounces of meat per person.  What truly matters is that the charcuterie board has a variety of flavor components. Mix it up, you can’t go wrong.

Planning a party? Take your party up a notch while alleviating yourself from all the work by hiring a private chef in Louisville! We specialize in small, intimate parties and work with you on a custom menu, from the charcuterie board to dinner and dessert! Let us know about your next special event and how we can help you throw the perfect soireé!