How To: Charcuterie
Probably the number one thing I get asked questions about on here are my charcuterie boards! What kinds of cheeses? Where’d you get that board? And how did you make it look so pretty!? Well today I am sharing all!
My love of cheese and accompanying snacks goes way back to the days when my best friend, Maggie, and I used to have “snack trays” while we would play school all day long in the attic of her house. We would demand for our Mom’s to make us these “snack trays” for lunch time. Maggie got my the best Christmas present ever this past year and she took me to a charcuterie board class put on my the Asheville Charcuterie Company. We learned all about fancy cheeses and accruements and truly leveled-up my boards!
First things first: the prep. I like to cut all my cheese and meats ahead of time so that I can throw it all together right before guests arrive. I bag everything up individually so that I am ready to build.
You can do this in any order that you like, and truth be told I switch it up all the time too. This particular time, I started with my crackers and my big jar of fig jam that I knew would take up some space, and then I begin building around that. I love the Buttercrisp Rounds, Wheat Thins, and plain Ritz crackers. If you are looking for a gluten free option, I also like the Crunch Master Cheesy Italian Bread crackers!
Next up, the meats! You know those cheese and meat stands that pop up around the holidays in the mall? That’s Hickory Farms and my all-time favorite meats and cheeses. But when it’s not Christmas time, you can find these in almost any grocery store. My favorite is the Turkey Summer Sausage and we also like the Beef Summer Sausage.
Then I like to start layering in some cheeses. I personally would be fine eating grocery store brand cheese all day long, but there’s something extra special about those fancy cheeses that just elevate the board to a whole new level. On my board here we have some Kraft Cheddar, Laura Lynn brand Pepper Jack, some Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, and Andrew’s all time favorite- a Bellavitano Black Pepper Cheese. It also helps to know your guests, when preparing a board for my family, I put mostly pepper jack cheese on the board, and some extra spicy options. When preparing a board for Andrew’s family, I leave most of that out because they don’t like hot foods like my family does.
Now for the fun part, the add ins! See all that empty board space in the last picture? It’s time to fill that in. I’ve added our favorite cocktail gherkins (Laura Lynn brand is our favorite flavor), blueberries, and some specially folded salami. Most of the time I will fill in EVERY inch of the board that you can see, but for this particular board my family was already hovering and stealing pieces when I turned my back, so I knew it was time to back off and let them at it!
To get that accordion salami look, simply fold your salami in half, twice. Then stack them all together and squish them up against two piles of cheese and there you have it!
Now drumroll please….. TA DA! You just built a gorgeous, “professional” charcuterie board!