How to Make a Charcuterie Board

My daughter is especially gifted at putting together beautiful boards (she’s on the right in the photo with one of her besties).

Charcuterie is traditionally preparing and assembling cured meats. It has evolved to include meats, cheeses, breads, olives, nuts, and fruit. It’s all artfully arranged on a board. The artfully part takes practice, I’ve discovered!

In my Book Magic mysteries, Devil’s Cove has cheese shop called Charcuterie. In Murder at Sea Captain’s Inn, Pippin meets the owner of the shop, who ends up being instrumental in Pippin’s search for the truth. 

This “recipe” is in the back of Murder at Sea Captain’s Inn. Enjoy!

First, a few tips. 

The goal is to balance flavors and textures that compliment each other, and also contrast each other.

You want to include a variety of textures, as well as sweet and salty elements. 

A spattering of dried fruits, such as cranberries, gives the board a pretty finishing touch. 

One or two smoked meat options is plenty.

Adding crackers or sliced baguette on the board or on the side is important.

Fruit preserves are a fantastic compliment to soft bloomy cheeses like brie or camembert.

Add little dishes of mustard or olive oil for added flavors.

Ingredients to consider:

  • 2 or 3 meats like prosciuto, dry salami, pepperoni, ham
  • 3-4 cheese—consider those from the following list:
    • A bloomy cheese like brie or camembert (or Mt. Tam, one of my favorites)
    • Parmesan, gouda, or asiago
    • Gruyere, cheddar, or manchego
    • Softer cheeses like havarti
    • Blue like gorgonzola
    • Crumbly cheese like feta. I don’t love goat cheese, but if you do, include it!
  • 2-3 dips, spreads, or other condiments (Whole Foods has a delicious cherry jam that goes beautifully with bloomy cheese), mustard, flavored olive oil, hummus, or baba ganoush (another of my faves!)
  • Something briny like capers, pickles, or olives (I like a variety of olives!)
  • Other accents like nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit (grapes, thin slices of apples or pears, strawberries, blueberries), and chocolate

Fold the pieces of meat by folding in half, then in half again, the pinch together to make them like little fans.

Put the bloomy cheese out whole.

Put chunks of the other cheeses.