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Hi, I'm Morgan.

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The Perfect Charcuterie Board

The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Look, I don’t want to brag, but I made the most incredible charcuterie board for Thanksgiving and pulled it out for a repeat appearance at Friendsgiving. And while I was playing to a pretty supportive crowd both evenings, the boards received rave reviews. My number-one resource for creating them was the blog Cup of Jo and their multiple posts on building cheese plates — especially this one on creating one at Trader Joe’s! Here’s my recipe for making the perfect charcuterie board.

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Started from the bottom…

I’d highly recommend arranging your snacks on a plate or board; it might get a little awkward to just hand your guests a block of cheese and knife. I used three different ones on Thanksgiving. A marble one and slate one that belong to my sister (her getting married and getting kitchen presents is really a gift to all of us!) and a wood one that I bought on Thanksgiving Eve at Trader Joe’s. It’s called the Olive Wood Cutting and Serving Board — so cute (and cost like $11) and will be featured with many charc boards to come.

Cheese please…

Every article about cheese plates tells you that you must have a variety of soft and hard cheeses. So I, too, am here to tell you to pick a variety of soft and hard cheeses. I am a charcuterie expert after all — that’s the kind of brilliant insight I bring to the internet. I went with all three recs from the Cup of Jo article — TJ’s Manchego (hard), TJ’s Wild Blueberry and Vanilla Chèvre (soft), and TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar (hard). I got ~fancy~ with the brie and chose TJ’s Double Crème Brie with Truffles (soft), and for Friendsgiving I also added Garlic and Fine Herbs Boursin (soft) which was surprisingly popular.

We have the meats…

In addition to a variety of cheeses, you want a variety of meats to pair with them. Prosciutto is honestly one of my truest loves, so I bought multiple packs and piled it on the plate. I grabbed a package of sliced salami at random and a hard salami. I tried to pick ones that weren’t exactly the same, but my attention was solely focused on the prosciutto so I didn’t pay that much attention to anything else. I think the hard salami was a good addition though, as it was a texture entirely its own from the rest of the meats.

Fruit salad (yummy yummy)…

Fruit provides a contrast in a couple of ways to all the dairy you’re consuming with a charcuterie board — a fresh flavor and a variety of colors. Grapes are always a hit. I choose both red and green, though one might consider that overkill; if you’re only choosing one, I’d recommend green because it’s more of a visual pop. I also popped raspberries on the plates and had dried apricots in a ramekin.

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Snacks, crackers, and pop…

Snacks — I included a few other munchies, either in ramekins or on the board, for folks to snack on. For this charcuterie board, I went with three crunchy options: cucumbers (fresh), pickles (sour), and almonds (salty). You could also do baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, peanuts. Honestly, the world is your oyster here. I also included three different seasonal jams that came in a pack from Trader Joe’s, and that’s the one item I would leave off in the future. No one touched them because everything else was so awesome.

Crackers — I picked up two boxes from TJ’s, the bite-size everything crackers and the scalloped cracker trio. The flavors in the second box were rosemary, garlic, and red chili, which made for four delightful flavors and lots of options. I’m not the biggest fan of everything-flavored items (I haven’t actually tried anything in awhile, so I’m probably being unfair), but I got those for my dad in particular, and he loved them.

Pop — Is this where I mention the wine? You should definitely have wine with your cheese. Duh. My mom’s white is pictured; I was obviously drinking pinot noir.

A sprinkle on top…

I can’t remember which article I read recommend added fresh herbs for garnish, but I’m so glad I took them up on it. They recommended rosemary or mint, so my very thorough decision making process was involved asking the questions, “Which smells better?” (A draw.) And, “Which looks better?” (Rosemary wins.) So rosemary it was, and the sprigs really brought the whole plate together.

Wrap it up…

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a charcuterie board. I think the most important thing is to offer options — hard and soft cheeses, hard and sliced meats, variety of cracker flavors, fruits, vegetables, and other snacks. The challenge is where to draw the line and to avoid spending $150 on wine and charcuterie makings (…not speaking from experience…). I spread things across the boards, but you can also keep them organized by item. As long as you’re offering ways to consume cheese, people won’t turn their nose up at your board. And if they do — you send them to me.

Happy snacking!

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