Charcuterie! It's hard to pronounce but it doesn't mean that means they need to be hard to make. Take the guesswork out with this blueprint for success. Add in some Maple Glazed & Confused Pecans or BSL Cajun Pecans to take your adult lunchable to the next level! It's like a paint by numbers, but with meat!
Start by purchasing your ingredients. I'd highly suggest 2-4 cheeses, 2-3 meats, grapes, fresh berries, dried fruits, crackers, fresh bread (french works very well), honey and other dippables, and an assortment of nuts (ahem, I wish i knew someone who made some delicious homemade nuts....). The lists below are in order of priority with 1 being the most important/essential for each category.
1) Goat cheese log. I always start with one of these for the middle of the board.
2) 1-2 hard cheese blocks. Either a pre-cut slice in the shape of a triangle (or) square
3) Mozzarella cheese balls or spreadable pub cheese
2) 1-2 types salami or pepperoni (pre sliced and circular)
3) speck, sopresseta, etc. go Italian with it, you can't go wrong!
1) Grapes. These are a must on any cheeseboard! Choose green for a more savory board, and green for a sweeter board (i.e. if your goat cheese has cranberries go for green)
2) Dried fruits. Apricots, figs, prunes, etc. anything that is about the size of a quarter
3) Fresh berries. Raspberries or blackberries, cherries work great here.
4) Apples, strawberries, other fresh fruit that would require slicing
1) Circular water crackers work great here, but any crackers will do. Since we hate gluten around these parts, I like to use gluten free alternatives like almond nut thins
2) fresh french baguette if into gluten
1) Honey is an absolute must here. Substitute for agave syrup.
2) Get creative here with whatever you can find for dips! I like to use local products like pepper jelly or jams. If you get in a pinch grab some jams from the local supermarket. Other popular items are pre made olive tapenade and pate's. The key here is to make sure it is spreadable
Olives and Nuts:
1) Joes Mom's Tavel Snacks DUH! We suggest the Maple Glazed & Confused Pecans, BSL Cajun Pecans, or Southport Sweet & Salty mixes for a great exclamation point for your board.
2) Olives. A good olive can really help pull the board together and act as a filler of empty space. Spanish are great, whole olives are preferred over canned pre-sliced
Herbs and cherries on top (optional):
1) Rosemary. Rosemary makes a great visual piece but also provides an enticing smell to grab your attention
2) Mint. Same as Rosemary, it makes a great aromatic
Assembling your board
So you've decided on your cheeseboard ingredients... now what? Assemble! This part can be intimidating but also a great way to let your creative flag fly. Worse comes to worse, you've got yourself some cheese to snack on and a bad instagram moment.
Place your square cheeses. I like to save half of one of my sliced cheese for later steps (or) save one entire separate type for later.
I usually start with my goat cheese log in the dead center. I then place at least one triangle "square" cheese towards the corner, leaving a little space for some fillers later. Think of a wagon wheel, where there is a center cheese followed by cheese spokes (a cheese wagon, no there's an idea!)
Place your ramekins/small bowls on opposite ends of the board.
HONEY is a requirement for any cheeseboard. Don't skip the honey.
This is where you want to use your fresh local honey and "dippables". These can be anything of your choosing. We like to support our local friends at the farmers market with things like homemade pepper jelly from. You can always purchase from the local supermarket, but remember to shop local where you can!
Place your meats and the rest of your cheese.
Fold your thin sliced meats (prosciutto) in an erratic fashion and place them bordering a cheese. Place your salami and other circular Meats/cheeses curved around your dippable ramekins/small bowls.
Place your fruits and olives
The grapes are key here. Use them to fill a void where you can. They take up a lot of real estate. Keep them in a triangle if possible. This might take some trimming.
Fill other voids with your dry fruits and olives. They should also act as a barrier between meat to meat, cheese to meat, or cheese to cheese.
Breads and crackers. Don't be afraid to stack and give it some height.
French baguette slices work great on pretty much any cheeseboard. If you didn't save room around a ramekin to wrap crackers, thats ok! you can move some things around. I personally like to create a continuous vein of cracker from one side of the board to the other. Don't be afraid to overlap a few ingredients since this will be the first thing your guests reach for on the board.
This is the fun part. Fill any leftover voids with nuts. We suggest purchasing our Cheese board trio package for $26.99, you'll have some leftovers to snack on as well.
This is also where you'll want to place your final herbs as the "cherries on top" if you haven't already used cherries on your board. Place some rosemary or mint in between your cheese for a great visual and aromatic contrast.
Serve and enjoy! Voila, you've got yourself a cheeseboard. Remember to shop small business like Joe's Mom's Travel Snacks to bring your cheeseboard to the next level and have your guests asking where you got your unique ingredients that made your board instagram gold.