I love a good PHFF appetizer, and charcuterie boards have been all the rave since 2020 turned Lunchable kids into charcuterie board adults. Not sure where to start? I got you covered.
For fun, I actually took a charcuterie board class before getting started on this blog. If you’re in the St. Louis area, be sure to check out Charcu in the Lou – they do luxury charcuterie boards, grazing tables, and fun seasonal classes. It was such a fun, different girls’ night to learn the process of putting a board together (and enjoy some drinks of course).
What I’m sharing will be a combo of what I learned in class and my own tips.
Step #1: Pick a Board
Find a fun board (literally just Google and you’ll find so many). OR if you just want a fancy snack for yourself, use an appetizer plate you have around. Here are some of my favorite boards from Amazon:
Option 1: I like that this one is open in the middle and has spots on the sides for nuts and crackers.
Option 2: This one actually comes with 2 trays plus some serving utensils and a nice little cheese guide.
Option 3: This last option I think would be good if you don’t feel too creative with placement or you don’t like everything touching so much. The circle shape also provides a different look!
Step #2: Shop
Okay, we have our board, now time to shop! Just like any other meal or snack, I think of protein, healthy fat, and fiber sources that I can add. I also like to think of the vibe I am going for. For this board, we are thinking fall. When I think of fall, I think of reds, oranges, and warm color,s but I also want to look for a variety of textures in these foods. Doing a variety of colors and textures is what gives you an aesthetically-pleasing board.
As you make a list of what to buy, it can be intimidating to figure out exactly how much you need. A guide for you is to include 1 oz of meat per person and 2 oz of cheese per person. Again, think textures so you can use soft and hard meats and cheeses from cows, sheep, and goats. What’s great about charcuterie boards is that you can customize them however you want… but that’s also the most intimidating part.
Choose your meats
For protein, you can do the typical prosciutto and salami. Then, you can level up the protein by adding hard-boiled eggs, beef sticks, meatballs, pepperoni, black bean dip, and jerky. We all love dip for our veggies too, right? Use Greek yogurt and make Herby Ranch Dip for a protein and flavor boost. Hummus is also a good addition with protein and fat to use on crackers or your veggies. Experiment with different hummus flavors to change it up! Aldi always has new dessert hummus or savory hummus options like roasted red pepper.
Find hard and soft options for variety. Cranberry goat cheese, cheddar cheese, and gouda would give you a beautiful color combo for fall, with different textures to enjoy.
Add in that fiber
Fresh fruits and veggies or even dried fruit will add color and texture to your board. Berries are always a go-to for me since they are loaded with fiber. Fall fruits to add could be figs, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, dates, dried apple slices, and pomegranate. Veggie options that correlate with the fall theme would be carrots, bell peppers, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and maybe throw in some pumpkin puree for your crackers.
Fill in the fats
Don’t forget fats! Grab some walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and black or green olives. You can place the nuts, seeds, and olives into small dishes or just use them to fill in any gaps.
Snag the extras
Add in flavor with other jams, pickles, and cinnamon- or pumpkin-flavored extras. Fig butter, blackberry jam (with added chia seeds), and honey are great sweeteners for crackers. A stone ground mustard would also give the crackers a fun flavor profile. Speaking of – I like to choose high-fiber cracker options like Mary’s Gone crackers and Wasa or pretzel twists to give a fun texture to your board. A tip here is to add the crackers right before serving so they don’t get soggy.
There are many other ways you can spice up your board to get the fall look. Some ideas include adding candy corn, small decorative pumpkins, mini pinecones, or even festive picks.
I’ve compiled some of my favorite amazon accessories here for you:
Now the fun part (or stressful depending on your personality) – putting it all together.
Step #3: Assemble
Start putting your board together by placing your round and large items. This includes any ramekins, honeys, jams, preserves, or large pieces of fruit you may be using. Ramekins are good to use for oily items like olives and pickles. These pieces are your anchors or bases to work around as you place the other items. As you work on placement, think in triangles and avoid just centering the items.
To get the best taste and texture of cheese, pull them out about an hour before serving to get to room temperature. For the cheese, place your largest pieces first (like a wheel), then fill in with slices. I would recommend cutting cheese into slices or chunks or starting the slices to encourage your guests to dig in, plus it makes it a little easier as they are serving themselves. If you don’t choose to pre-slice the cheese, just remember to include a cheese knife next to it.
These anchor pieces will help guide you as you go to place your meat throughout your board. For your prosciutto or salami, you can fancy these up by accordion folding, making a rose, or fanning them out. Check out this video for visual guides on how to fold your charcuterie! My personal favorite is the salami rose. I also like to use the prosciutto for a ribbon look because it is very thin and tends to fall apart so this is the best way I’ve found to display this meat.
Now that your large items, cheeses, and meats are placed on the board, it is time for the fiber and extras. The produce is what is really going to add in some fall color to your board. As you go to place these, place similar colors diagonal to each other. You can also stack the same colors on top of each other to give a visual appeal with different textures. For example, blueberries and blackberries or raspberries and pomegranate could be stacked together.
To really bring your board together, accessorize with those extras. This includes adding in your honey dippers, cheese knives, and picks. If you search Amazon, you can find festive picks for any occasion. I also like to add in some mini pumpkins, acorns, and maybe fake leaves for a fall vibe. Or if you’re going more spooky, you could do plastic spiders, eyeballs, and mini skeletons. Play around with it until you’re satisfied – there is no wrong way to display your board!
Here is my final product with what I used in my class!
I am by no means a professional, but my biggest tip is to just have fun with it and don’t overthink placement. Personalize to your liking and event, then run with it.
Do you have an event coming up that a fall charcuterie board would be perfect for? Snap a pic of your board all assembled and tag me (@nucrewnutrion) because I want to see your masterpieces!