Cheese and charcuterie boards are more popular than ever! We’ve updated this popular post for 2020.
Last weekend we hosted our annual Christmas party. Each year our friends gather, bring unwrapped gifts for a local toy drive and even Santa pays a visit. It’s one of my favorite parties that we throw. It’s such a hectic time of year, it’s nice to get our close friends together for one night to celebrate.
It’s also the reason why I keep the party menu as simple as possible. This year we had Costco pizzas (TIP: order them uncut and then you can cut them into small squares), a kale and feta salad, a couple of other dips from Costco, fruit salad, and a giant cheese and charcuterie board.
What cheese should I use?
I usually start with my cheese choices as the anchor, I bought all of these cheeses at Costco but I love going to building a meat and cheese tray from Trader Joe’s as well. I do at least three and like to mix it up with one soft cheese and one white and one yellow.
This time I did a smoked gouda, a giant manchego, a white cheddar, and a brie. Since we were having 40 people over, I got them at Costco, but you could find good cheese in the deli department at any grocery store.
What meat should I use on my charcuterie tray?
I used a mixture of cured meats – salami and prosciutto. You could use any meat that would compliment the cheese you selected. The key to a good presentation is to pull the meats apart and “fluff” them when you set them down. It also makes it easier for guests to grab just one piece.
With a larger salami, I fold in half and then half again and lay it down with the edges up. This gives it depth and fills the space more. The prosciutto gets cut in half and then gathered up so that it’s easy to grab and will fit on a cracker easier.
Meat and Cheese Board Extras
For this year’s party, I put the crackers on the side of the board because I had other dips and spreads that they could be used for. Instead, I filled the rest of the space with two holiday cookie cutters with cashews and almonds.
I also used a snowman ramekin with some pickled garlic. Since the cheeses were so large, I put the olives on the side as well.
To make the board a little festive, I added some grapes, sprigs of rosemary from my garden, and some cranberries leftover from the sangria I made for the party. The fig jam that is on the board is THE BEST fig jam on the market. It’s perfect with either a soft brie or a hard white cheddar.
I’ve done cheese and charcuterie boards in the past that incorporated the crackers and the olives with the meat and cheese. I shared this board on Instagram (@nuggetlands) that I did for our Father’s Day BBQ.
The fun about doing a cheese and charcuterie board is that it can fit any size party and any budget. You can customize it for a theme or just put out what you have in your fridge’s deli drawer. You could even do an all-veggie board. The sky is the limit. One of my favorite Instagram follows is Weelicious and she does some amazing boards with her farmer’s market finds.
Get creative, have fun putting it together and watch as your guests are wowed by the presentation.