Don’t get me wrong… I love a good charcuterie board all year round – but there’s something extra comforting about a board piled high and wide with an array of delicious treats throughout the holiday season. The snow has just started falling outside, and as I write this up, I have a plate full of cheeses and carb-rich nibbles to keep me content. Charcuterie boards can come in all different shapes and forms, from the traditional savoury selection to a more decadent sweet tooth variant. I’ve opted for a more classic, but staple take on the perfect charcuterie spread and written up a few pointers on how to put one together this holiday season.
Keep a variety of flavours
The whole idea of a charcuterie board is to offer a little of everything, so when it comes to your core ingredients, it’s important to shop for variety. I like to go for varying flavours of cheese, meats, fruits, breads and crackers to make each bite different, and keep the combinations endless. Although you can keep going back to your favourites, one great thing about this style of serving is that there’s a really opportunity for the food to never get boring.
A note on texture…
As with flavours, keeping a range of textures is also very important. Whether it’s different cheeses (more on that later), different types of breads and crackers, both fresh and dried fruit or a selection of nuts… all of these help keep the board interesting and allow for a certain ‘flow’ both visually and (more importantly) whilst digging in!
Cheese, cheese, cheese
If there’s one thing that no charcuterie is complete without – it’s cheese. And bread. But mostly cheese. Believe me when I tell you, the types of cheeses you choose for you board will either make or break it! I would say a good rule of thumb is three cheeses in a variety of textures, one hard cheese, one creamier cheese and one flavoured cheese. I’ve been into jalapeno gouda recently, and Boursin offer a beautiful selection of flavoured cream cheeses to choose from.
Add something fresh
A classic is usually fruit, like sliced apples or pears. Another great option are figs or pomegranate seeds to add something with a little tang. Grapes are another traditional favourite as nature brings them in natural bite sized portions! Having an element of something fresh keeps the palette a bit more lively and interesting, and a little less rich with every bite.
A few extra details…
Perhaps it’s a little extra, but I would really recommend paying attention to the details, especially if you’re creating a board to host. Adding some sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme, drizzling some honey, or a dollap of fig jam really help tie all the ingredients together, especially when amping up the visual appeal! Also, it’s important to note the utensils you use for serving – investing in a good set of cheese knives, a honey drizzler and some mini spreaders can be game-changing when it comes to adding the finishing touches for your guests.
What are your favourite ingredients to include in a charcuterie board? I’d love to know in the comments!