Charcuterie boards aren't just a trendy way to show off your food on Instagram—they're super delicious. Charcuterie originated as an assortment of cooked and cured meats, but charcuterie boards themselves have taken on a life of their own over the past few years.
Whether you're looking to treat yourself, celebrate a big milestone with a special someone, or entertain a group of friends, charcuterie boards are a fun way to be the host with the most.
Start with the Board
In order to charcuterie properly, you need to start with a great charcuterie board. These boards come in hundreds of shapes and sizes, so it should be easy to find something that fits your style.
Depending on how many people you want to feed, you may need to find a larger charcuterie board. We've seen boards up to six feet long, which are great for big events like weddings or other big gatherings. But if you're just feeding you and a few friends, a two or three-foot board should do the trick.
Clean your charcuterie board with a damp cloth and a small amount of dish soap before and after you use it. If your board is made of real wood, you will need to regularly re-treat it with food-grade mineral oil.
Filling the Board
When you're filling your charcuterie board, start with the bigger items going on the board, which is usually cheese. There are dozens of ways you can style a board though—we love a good dessert board or themed board—so start with the largest items first and disperse them across the board.
Once the larger items are filled in across the board, start adding in the meat and crackers. Once the meat and crackers are on the board, add the filler. Fillers can be anything from dried fruit and nuts to larger items like grapes or dips.
Try to create a wide variety of colors and textures across your board. Movement is essential through the board if you want it to look professionally made.
When you're buying your charcuterie board items, take that into account. Try to find a variety of meats, cheese, and crackers that look different in color, texture, and shape.
If you're creating a themed board, still try to find different colors, shapes, and textures within your theme. We recently put together a Valentine's Day board where we used all red, white, and pink dessert items.
Within that board, we made sure to have lots of visually interesting pieces so that the board wouldn't fall flat because everything had a similar color.
You'll probably have to move a few things around to get the board looking perfect, so don't sweat it and move things around until you get a look you love.
Shopping for the Board
Charcuterie boards aren't cheap to assemble—in fact, even for a really inexpensive board, you can expect to spend around fifty dollars. There are a few tricks to save money when it comes to creating a great charcuterie board, though.
First, make a list and think ahead. When you know what you want on your board, you can shop sales for a week or two before. Also, if you're making a large board, stores like Costco or Winco are great places to grab supplies.
We make a list and usually shop in two rounds to give ourselves time to get the good stuff at a great price.
You can also think outside the box when it comes to fillers on the board. We use pretzels all the time because they're inexpensive, and there are tons of fun shapes and sizes you can use for under two dollars.
Another great way to save money is by buying premade sampler packs of meat and cheese. These sampler packs are a great way to get a variety of meat and cheese at a discounted rate. That way, you have to buy a bunch of expensive meats and cheeses in order to try a bunch of meats and cheeses.
No matter how you style your board, take a little time to enjoy all of the fun food and good company—after all, that's what it's really all about.