How to Style a Charcuterie Board

The Board

The very first step to styling a charcuterie board is, well, the board itself. Now you don’t have to have anything fancy. Any tray, slab of wood, cutting board, or counter will work. Yes, you can use your counter as the board, just lay down some kraft paper, and you have an aesthetically pleasing place to start your charcuterie masterpiece. (Using kraft paper, you can easily label your board directly on it). Once you’ve picked your board, you want to determine its contents.

The Contents

The secret to creating a fancy board on a budget is to buy a few artisan cheeses and meats and then fill the rest of the space with complimenting fruits, nuts, olive oil, jams, mustards, or even honey. You want to have a mix of both hard and soft cheese and a couple of different types of meat. (Local bonus: Aldi has a great selection of artisan cheeses and meats at a lower price.) Some of my favorite combinations are:

  • Goat cheese, honey, and pomegranate.
  • Brie, baguette, and apple slices.
  • Jalapeño raspberry jam, cream cheese, and Town House Crackers.
  • Summer sausage and sharp Cheddar (or a smoked gouda if you are feeling fancy).
  • Prosciutto and Parmesan or Mozzarella (you can never go wrong with this classic pairing).

Don’t forget the crackers and bread! Depending on the size of your charcuterie board, you will want at least two different options for people to choose from. Whether it is Ritz crackers, toasted French bread, pretzels, or breadsticks, the choices are endless.


Now, Comes the Actual Styling

You want to start with the big stuff—containers, a wheel of brie, a vine of grapes, etc. You can use bowls to add more dimensions and height. They’re perfect for holding softer cheese, honey, jams, olive oil, small fruits like pomegranate seeds or blueberries, nuts, etc.

If you’re using deli meat, try rolling it or folding it to give it a fancier appearance, which is what I did. You could also wrap prosciutto over a stick of mozzarella. For meats like salami and pepperoni, you can layer them around the rim of a cup to make a charcuterie rose.

For harder cheeses, you either want to cut them before placing them on the board or provide a knife for others to cut themselves. The latter is best used for small settings. Soft cheeses like brie or goat cheese can be placed on the board without cutting them, so long as you don’t forget the utensils.

Lastly, fill in the rest of the board with your choice of fruits, nuts, olives, crackers, etc. There’s almost no wrong way to style a charcuterie board, but follow these tips, and you’ll look like a pro.

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