Cooking Column – Charcuterie Board


A charcuterie board I made!

Do you ever see those Pinterest-worthy meat and cheese boards and feel like you’d never be able to make something that beautiful? Well, you’re in luck today, as I will be telling you the right things to buy and how to present them in a way that will awe any guest!
To first start with your board, you must actually buy a board. You don’t need any crazy expensive wood board or platter – just run to T.J. Maxx or HomeGoods and grab one for about $20. It can be any shape you want – round, square, or rectangular. Once you get your board, wash it well with soap and water. DO NOT put it in the dishwasher as most wood things can’t go in the dishwasher. Always wash it by hand.
Now once that is done, we have to get our ingredients. These can vary depending on your likes and dislikes of meats and cheeses. Typically a charcuterie board is made up of Italian meats and cheeses, but if you would like to change it based on your own culture, feel free to do so. The boards I tend to make feed about 4-6 people, so if you need to buy more for a bigger party, please do. To begin, we need our cheese. Buy one package of manchego, provolone (decide your intensity, but I like Sharp), mozzarella balls, and either a cheddar, brie, or gouda. Put your selection of cheese in the cart and move over to the thinly sliced meats. Grab a pack of prosuttio (I actually suggest two because it is just so good) as well as an assorted pack of antipasto that usually has dry coppa and salami. The last piece of meat you need is sopressata (Hot and Sweet!) to make your board taste the best.
With our meats and cheeses, we now need our crackers and other garnishes. I suggest buying a fig jam to spread on your crackers to give a sweet and savory taste to your bite. For crackers, honestly just grab a variety pack of crackers or get simple water crackers. Add a container of mixed olives to your cart as well as cherry tomatoes, basil, and anything else you want to add to the board.
When you have everything ready, it is time to prepare for guests. Get your board out and make sure it’s clean. Put all of your ingredients on the counter and begin taking them out of the packages. For cheese like manchego, I suggest slicing them straight so that they turn out like triangle pieces. The other cheeses like cheddar and provolone can be chopped into cubes and the brie or gouda you can just stick a knife in. Put your variations of cheese on in different places so they don’t touch each other. Now with the meats, roll your prosciutto almost like it’s a log and fold your salami into a triangle (fold 3 times). For a nice presentation, grab a wine glass and place pieces of dry coppa on top of each other in a circle until there is no left. Then turn the wine glass upside down and pressed down in the middle of the board. Wash the wine glass once done. Slice the sopressata at a 45-degree angle. Place each type of meat in different places on the board – each next to a cheese.
To finish our board, add your crackers in between each variation of meat and cheese. Grab toothpicks and put the mozzarella, basil, and cherry tomatoes together on it. Place these in open spaces left on the board. If you bought olives, add them to a bowl on the side with a spoon. The fig jam should be placed somewhere in the middle of the board for easy access to it. Clean up your mess and put your board where you want it. Call your guests and tell them to hurry up and see your amazing work!
Immediately after you are done with everything, take a picture and post it to share how proud you are of yourself for doing something you never thought you’d accomplish. Congrats, you are done and now you can dig in and enjoy your beautiful charcuterie board, even though I know it can be so hard to destroy something so alluring.