With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a good time to start thinking about appetizers for your parties, whether you are a guest or host. Charcuterie boards are an easy and impressive addition to your holiday entertaining spread.
Charcuterie means “deli” in French, so a charcuterie board is basically a spread of various deli cured meats and hams, cheeses, and other items like crackers, fruits, nuts, olives, pickled vegetables, and beyond! There are countless ways to make a charcuterie board, so feel free to flex your creative muscles here.
Here are a few tips to start making your own board, but remember you can customize them however you please with foods that you and your guests will enjoy. If time is not on your side, I’ll also share several Atlanta area vendors where you can pick up a prepared board instead.
Start with a board and some greenery
Any pretty platter will do, but charcuterie is typically presented on a wood board, either rectangular or circular. Green leaves make a beautiful base for your board. Try hydrangea leaves, fig leaves, or any large flat green leaf and arrange them on the bottom of your board. Even large flat kale leaves would work!
Add some height
Start by stacking a large bunch of grapes just off-center on the board. Grapes give a nice pop of color and add a centering visual interest for you to build around. From there you can add your other taller items, like a glass with long, rectangular crackers, a ramekin or pickled vegetables, or your favorite jam or honey. The idea is to start with your tallest items at various places on the board and fill in from there.
Place your cheeses
It’s a good idea to select at least three types of cheeses with a variety of textures. Typically a firm cheese (think Manchego, Gruyere, aged Gouda, or sharp Cheddar), a softer cheese (think Brie, fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, Burrata, or Havarti), and a goat or blue cheese (Camembert, Gorgonzola, or Stilton) are a great place to start. Arrange them around the taller items, leaving them in their entire block or wedge, and slice off a couple of pieces to start it with a cheese knife. The varying appearances of those three types of cheeses make a beautiful presentation on the board.
Place your meats
Like the cheeses, you want to select meats with a variety of flavors and textures. Check your local deli for their selection of salami, as it has a nice texture and several different flavor profiles. Genoa, Finocchiona, and Soppressata are all great salami choices. Prosciutto di Parma is another great addition that has more of a buttery and smooth texture. Fold larger prosciutto slices in half width-wise and then once moreover to make a neat little triangle. Group your meats together by type and lay slices neatly on the board.
Fill in the board
This is where you can really let your creativity shine and add in little snacks and treats that you and your guests will enjoy. Fill in the spaces between the large items, cheeses, and meats with things like sliced figs, dried apricots, fresh berries, pistachios, cashews, cheese straws, and crackers. The key is to keep like items together, rather than scattered around the board, for a simple and cohesive look.
If you would rather support a local shop to purchase your board, check out these great vendors.
Based in Milton and serves surrounding areas as well. Their website is in the works, but check out their Facebook and Instagram at @charcuterlea for additional information
Currently, open on Saturdays and Sundays. They offer delivery with a fee within Metro Atlanta (and a few select suburbs), as well as free pickup at various locations within the Buckhead/Sandy Springs area.
A commercial kitchen based in Inman Park with free pickup available at their location and delivery available ITP for a fee.
Located in Duluth, they deliver within 10 miles for $10, 15 miles for $15, and 20 miles for $20. Pickup is available at both The Local Pantry and Provisions on Main in Duluth.
Located off Irwin Street in Atlanta, they offer to pick up only on Wednesday through Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm and then Saturdays and Sundays from 12 pm to 6 pm.
What do you like to add to your charcuterie board? Are there other great local vendors we missed? Please add them in the comments!