Holiday Charcuterie Board

A Holiday Charcuterie Board is a great addition to any holiday party.  Here are some and tricks for turning your cheese board into the talk of the party!

A Holiday Charcuterie Board is a great addition to any holiday party.  Here are some and tricks for turning your cheese board into the talk of the party!Ah, the holidays!  There’s the crazy hustle and bustle of last-minute gift shopping, office parties and stringing lights across the front of your house.  To quote a classic holiday movie – Art: The little lights…they aren’t twinkling. // Clark: I know, Art. Thanks for noticing.  In my opinion, the hustle and bustle of the holidays is part of the fun.  Embrace it!  And then invite some friends over for a glass (or two) of wine and a Holiday Charcuterie Board.

As part of the New York Dairy Tour back in October, I had the chance to chat with another blogger whose father is a cheesemonger down in NYC.  Needless to say, Claire knows her cheese!  She offered some tips and tricks on how to build the perfect cheese board, and I used her sage advice to create this holiday charcuterie board.  (Technically, this is a charcuterie board instead of a cheese board since I included sliced meats in the lineup.)

A Holiday Charcuterie Board is a great addition to any holiday party.  Here are some and tricks for turning your cheese board into the talk of the party!Holiday Charcuterie Board Recipe

The best advice when it comes to building the perfect charcuterie board is to forget the recipe.  Seriously!  Here I am writing a recipe blog and telling you to throw the recipe out the window.  But in this unique situation, you should focus on the general composition of the board rather than a specific recipe.  The goal is to create diverse textures and flavors while sticking with ingredients that you know will be a hit with your guests.  With that said, here are some suggestions and guidelines for creating a delicious holiday charcuterie board.

Cheese

The cheese is the central component of any holiday charcuterie board.  According to Claire (and she’s built enough cheeseboards for a small army), you should anchor your board with an odd number of cheeses.  Depending on the number of guests, either 3 or 5 cheeses should be a good start.  Blue cheeses (if using) can be rather pungent, so make sure to put those on one corner of the board.

A Holiday Charcuterie Board is a great addition to any holiday party.  Here are some and tricks for turning your cheese board into the talk of the party!As a rough guide, I like to mix up the cheeses according to the following list.  Pick 1-2 cheeses from each group and use those as the basis for your holiday charcuterie board.

  • Aged Cheese(s): sharp cheddar, gouda, manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, etc.
  • Soft cheese(s): camembert, triple crème, fresh mozzarella balls, etc.
  • Blue cheese(s): gorgonzola, roquefort, stilton, etc.

As I mentioned above, the guiding principal of a charcuterie board should be your guests’ tastes.  I personally love sharp cheddar cheeses, and I would love a cheese board comprised entirely of various cheddars.  (On a side note, Cabot makes a variety of delicious cheddar cheeses, and I’ve always got at least several blocks of Cabot cheese in my fridge!  Their Private Stock Cheddar is out of this world amazing!)

One more tip is to always make sure the cheeses are facing out on the board.  Sure, a cheese with a fun rind might look cool, but it’s hard to reach into the middle of the board to cut it.  Just flip that cheese around and have it facing outwards so that guests can dig right in!

A Holiday Charcuterie Board is a great addition to any holiday party.  Here are some and tricks for turning your cheese board into the talk of the party!Meats

Once you’ve got the board anchored with cheese, it’s time to turn to the meat.  I like to include a variety of cured meats, and Trader Joe’s sells some really cool mixed packs of cured meats.  For this specific board, I picked up a trio package of various Spanish cured meats like chorizo, salchichon (Spanish salami) and Serrano ham.  However, Italian meats like salami, prosciutto, and a spicy sopressata are also excellent choices.  Mix it up and have fun!

A Holiday Charcuterie Board is a great addition to any holiday party.  Here are some and tricks for turning your cheese board into the talk of the party!Condiments

Condiments play a big part of holiday charcuterie boards, too.  Think sharp cheddar cheese topped with a bit of Dijon mustard.  Or blue cheese drizzled with honey.  (The blue cheese + honey combo is nothing short of magical!)  You could get crazy and make the jams and chutneys at home, but chances are your local grocery store will have a cool array of condiments to pick from.  For instance, I found a Smoked Porter Dijon Mustard that I used for this board.  How fun is that?

  • Dijon mustard
  • honey (consider including a piece of honeycomb for a different twist)
  • fig jam
  • various flavors of chutney

A Holiday Charcuterie Board is a great addition to any holiday party.  Here are some and tricks for turning your cheese board into the talk of the party!Everything Else

Once you’ve got the major players onto the board, the final step is to fill in the gaps with all sorts of other appetizers and bite-sized hors d’oeuvres.  There’s a whole assortment of ideas here, so pick and choose the ones that work for you.  Shop around at your local store and see what sorts of fun crackers you can find.  Stop by the olive bar and select an assortment of olives.  Add in some roasted nuts and sliced baguettes.  And then when you’re 99% of the way done, insert a few sprigs of rosemary to add some color and festive feel to your board.

  • baguette, sliced
  • crackers
  • grissini (thin, crispy Italian breadsticks)
  • roasted nuts
  • seasonal fruits (mandarin oranges, blueberries, grapes, apples, etc.)
  • cornichons (mini pickles)
  • olives (various flavors and types)
  • marinated artichokes
  • fresh rosemary, for garnish

A Holiday Charcuterie Board is a great addition to any holiday party.  Here are some and tricks for turning your cheese board into the talk of the party!As you’re visually preparing your board, remember to group like flavors together.  As I mentioned above, honey and blue cheese pair well together, so put these two flavors near each other as a guide to your guests.  Similarly, toasted walnuts would go well with honey and blue cheese, so add those in the same vicinity of the board.

I’m going to include a recipe card below, but just remember:  The best charcuterie boards have a variety of flavors and textures.  Have fun with it!  Happy holidays, my friends!

A Holiday Charcuterie Board is a great addition to any holiday party.  Here are some and tricks for turning your cheese board into the talk of the party!

Holiday Charcuterie Board

5 from 9 votes
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Ingredients

For the Cheeses

  • Aged cheeses: cheddar, gouda, manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, etc.
  • Soft cheeses: camembert, triple crème, fresh mozzarella balls, etc.
  • Blue cheeses: gorgonzola, roquefort, stilton, etc.

For the Meats

  • various flavors of salami
  • sopressata
  • prosciutto
  • Capicola
  • dry-cured chorizo

For the Condiments

  • Dijon mustard
  • honey consider using a piece of honeycomb for a different twist
  • fig jam
  • chutney

Everything Else

  • baguette sliced
  • crackers
  • grissini thin, crispy Italian breadsticks
  • roasted nuts
  • seasonal fruits mandarin oranges, blueberries, grapes, apples, etc.
  • cornichons (mini pickles)
  • olives various flavors and types
  • marinated artichokes
  • fresh rosemary for garnish

Instructions

  • Anchor the board with an odd number of cheeses.
  • Add various meats in between cheeses.
  • Fill in gaps with condiments and other items.
  • Have fun with it!

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28 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The best part of any party is the charcuterie board! And now I’m craving cheese like nothing else. I’m having people over for Christmas and will definitely come back to this for guidance on putting together an epic board :). Have a great weekend, David!

    1. Oh, I totally agree, Kelsie! Whenever I go to a holiday party and see a charcuterie board, I know it’s going to be a good party! 🙂 Truthfully, there’s no wrong way to make a cheese board…I mean it’s all delicious. But at the same time, it’s good to have some tips and tricks for making it all look nice, right? Thanks so much, my friend! And happy cheese-eating!

  2. I really enjoy putting together an awesome snack board for holiday parties – or any party for that matter! I just put together a pretty sweet cheese board for a family member’s birthday party a few weeks ago and loved how it turned out. They’re just so pretty!

    1. Cheese boards really are so much fun! I love playing around with fun ingredients and different cheeses (as long as they aren’t too crazy). Glad to hear that your cheese board a couple of weeks ago was a big hit! Now it’s time to make another one! 🙂

  3. It’s a beautiful board of goodies. I’ve begun getting more into condiment and cheese pairings in the last ten years. I think after enjoying a board of cheeses with complimentary condiments and the one that stuck with me was a blue cheese with lemon curd.

    1. I’m all about a good cheese board! I mean the cheese alone is excellent, but if you pair it with fun condiments then it takes it to a whole new level. Blue cheese and lemon curd, eh? That sounds interesting! I’ll have to try that next time I make a board…and I’m sure that won’t be too far away since it’s the holiday season! Thanks for the tip, Mimi!

  4. 5 stars
    I am having a full house for Christmas and planning to make a cheeseboard for the guests to snack on. Condiments are essential for mine. Thanks for giving me some great ideas.

    1. My pleasure, Gerlinde! Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with a cheese board…but it’s still really good to have some tips and tricks on how to put it all together! 🙂

    1. Ooo, a spicy chutney is another excellent idea for a cheese board! And I love olives and salami, too. Now I’m wishing I had this cheese board sitting next to me at my desk…hah! Thanks so much, my friend!

    1. I hear ya, Frank! I mean the holidays is the perfect time for a charcuterie board since there are so many opportunities with cocktail parties or just appetizers with friends…but a good cheese/charcuterie board is always a welcome sight in our house!

  5. Hi David! This would be a fun meal for Gary and I on Christmas Eve with some nice wine of course! I was at my local store yesterday and the deli has several different packages of cured meats and they have a nice assortment of marinated olives.

    1. Yes! This would totally be a great Christmas Eve meal. I’m all about trying different cheeses, and cured meats + olives just go into that mix so well. Of course, a good bottle of wine helps out a lot, too! 🙂 I hope you’re starting to feel better, Dorothy!

  6. 5 stars
    Very nice looking spread you have there, it really has a nice balance. It’s interesting to learn and compare food and food culture from different areas. Here you’ll certainly find Charcuterie boards, but served as an appy before dinner and you likely would not see cheese on the board. The cheese would come separate board as the last service with fruit, chocolates, coffee, and cognac. With that said, here you’ll always have cheese on a breakfast buffet.

    1. Why thank you very much, Ron! You make a good point about how cheeses often appear after dinner in Europe. I mean I’m not going to turn down cheese no matter when you bring it out! 🙂

    1. That’s the thing, Kathy! A cheese board will be delicious no matter how you go about it. There are some tips and tricks here to make the whole board come together a little better…but no matter what, it will be awesome! 🙂 I say plan a party with friends! Or just plan make this board for yourself and tell no-one about your secret. Haha!

  7. 5 stars
    Oh man! I love a good charcuterie board! Love how you could combine a little bit of this, a little bit of that and then, all of a sudden, you have something special! This is great for the holidays or any random Friday night if you ask me! And you can’t beat how quickly these come together. This one is making me hungry right about now 😉 Have an awesome week, David!

    1. Yes! That’s what makes charcuterie boards so much fun, Dawn. You get to play around with different, fun flavors. And no matter what you do, you’ve got delicious cheeses and meats for a fun appetizer or meal. Win-win if you ask me! I hope you have an awesome week ahead, too, my friend! (And I hope it involves some cheese!)

  8. 5 stars
    Such a gorgeous Charcuterie Board, David! I love the meats on it! With our house being turned upside down while we pack yet again, I don’t plan on hosting any holiday parties – but when we move I plan on a house warming shindig and cannot wait to through a board like your Holiday Charcuterie Board together for friends and family! Thanks for the tips on cheese to serve too!

    1. Oh man, I totally understand the house being turned upside down! We are also thinking about moving (just around the corner, though). And then you add in a 3-year old tornado plus his toys? Oh man! That’s when we just whip up a good charcuterie board for dinner. 🙂 I hope the packing is going well down in your neck of the woods, Shashi!

  9. 5 stars
    Love your holiday charcuterie board David! In fact I love a good charcuterie board at any time. It’s one of my favourite things to have as a sharing starter when we go to my favourite Italian. Lots of olives, cured meats and of course a good choice of cheese. The addition of Dijon mustard is a new thought. Must try that. Thanks!

    1. You’re totally right, Neil! It doesn’t have to be the holidays in order to have a tasty charcuterie board. You can’t ever go wrong with yummy cheeses and cured meats! That Dijon mustard plus cheddar cheese? Do it! 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    I would love to be sitting around this with friends and wine! It’s so pretty — love that you added a pomegranate to the board. I really, really want one of those olives!

    1. Oh, those olives were among the first to go once we dug into this charcuterie board, Valentina! Boards like this are easy and fun during the holidays, and everyone is always excited to see a charcuterie board on the counter. 🙂 Hope you’re getting ready for Christmas over in your neck of the woods!

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