Is there anything more lovely + appetizing than a beautifully curated board? I think not.
There is some debate around what to call a delicious spread that includes a variety of nibbles, not just charcuterie (which literally means cold, cured meats). Charcuterie Board, Cheese Board, Snack Board, Grab + Graze Board, Ploughman’s Plate…no matter the name, I’m sharing my secrets to ensuring your “board game” is up to snuff.
First and foremost, create small piles all around the board so guests approaching it from any angle can easily access each of the goodies you’ve put on it. I like my boards to be overflowing with all things delicious, in an organized, chaotic kind of way. Second, make sure your board is a feast for the eyes AND the tastebuds, featuring fresh + seasonal ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
My go-to, reasonably priced choices are serrano, prosciutto, pepperoni, bresaola + sopressata. However, if you can get your hands on some Iberico or Mangalitsa ham, I HIGHLY recommend you buy it. They will cost you a pretty penny, but these are the most decadent cured meats I’ve ever put in my mouth. And they are worth every, single penny.
Naturalissima Abruzzese Salami (hot + spicy)
Naturalissima Milano Salami (mild)
A good variety keeps your board looking + tasting interesting. I usually include a hard cheese or two, at least one soft cheese and almost always a pungent, creamy blue cheese. I slice or cut my hard and semi-hard cheeses into small chunks as exposing them to air brings out their flavor.
Drunken Goat (Spain, mild + fruity cheese aged in red wine)
Parmigiano-Reggiano (Italy, rich, sharp + complex cheese aged at least two years)
Dutch Spring Milk Gouda (Holland, mild, slightly sweet + creamy cheese)
Guilo St. Angel (France, buttery, creamy + slightly salty triple cream cheese)
Idiazabal (Spain, rich, buttery + slightly smokey traditional farmhouse cheese)
ALWAYS, always have a high-quality fruit preserve or local honey featured on your board. It will compliment your cheese selection so nicely. This gives your guests creative license to try a drizzle or dollop + create their own flavor combinations. Adding dried or fresh fruit is also a nice touch. Yummy tip: I usually mix dried cranberries or sour cherries with roasted, salted cashews to create a fancy, flavorful, finger food version of a PBJ.
No board is complete without a pickled treat or two. And, in my opinion, the spicier the better. Don’t settle for the average jarred pickle. Find a store near you that has an olive or antipasti bar in their deli section. The variety + quality of these nibbles will be SO much better than anything you can find in the grocery aisle.
spicy pickled okra
Lightly salted and roasted cashews
Make sure you have some pretty bamboo knot picks or skewers in addition to your bread and cracker selection. Personally, I love a fresh, crusty, rustic baguette for my guests to pile high with all the nibbles their heart desires. Always grab the rustic or Pain a l’Ancienne baguette rather than the versions made with bleached white flour. The texture, crust + flavor of these golden brown baguettes is unmatched.
Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps
Pumpkin Spice (seasonal)
Apricot, Fig + Lemon