How to Create the Perfect Summer Charcuterie Board
Summer is for social gatherings! Picnics, barbecues, pool parties… there are many occasions where you need to bring a shareable dish. Rather than putting together a typical potluck-style dish, ahem Buffalo Chicken Dip, why not try a more sophisticated dish that is (honestly) less effort.
Yep, we’re talking about a charcuterie board, more specifically, a summer charcuterie board.
Wondering how to create a summer charcuterie board? It’s easy! All you need is a sturdy cutting board or serving tray and an assortment of bite-sized foods such as cheeses, meats, crackers, breads, fruit, nuts or other items.
We’ve put together a few of the must-haves for a summer charcuterie board and some tips on how to best arrange them.
There’s no denying that the most important element of a charcuterie board is the cheese. However, choosing which cheeses to include can be a bit tricky. First off, variety is key! Be sure to include cheeses with different tastes, textures and colors. Mix and match soft cheeses like goat cheese or brie with hard cheeses like cheddar or gruyere. Offer both mild favors, like a Havarti, and bolder flavors such as a Stilton. Don’t forget to include a couple cheese knives for your guests, a small spade knife works well for slicing hard cheeses and a flat cheese knife is ideal for spreading soft cheeses onto crackers or bread.
Okay we take back what we just said, the meats on a charcuterie board are, in fact, just as important as the cheeses. After all, charcuterie literally means “a collection of cooked or cured meats.” Similar to the cheese selection, it is important to include meats that contrast one another. Classic charcuterie board favorites include prosciutto, Genoa salami, Calabrese salami and Soppressata. Wondering how much meat to provide? Factor 2 ounces of meat for each person.
On a traditional charcuterie board, you’ll likely find grapes, figs and dried fruits, but we’re building a summer charcuterie so we want fresh fruits! Bright colors are synonymous with summer, so brightly colored fruits will instantly give your board that summertime vibe you’re craving. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, watermelon, cherries, and peaches are all great options. Combining fruit with other elements on your board is clever way to incorporate fruity flavors, for example a blueberry goat cheese log or a spreadable blackberry chutney.
The Crackers & Breads
Crackers and breads are a must-have on any charcuterie board, not only because they are delicious but also because they act as a utensil for gathering other elements on the board. Always include a mild option such as crispy breadsticks or water crackers. These blander types of crackers will offer a desired crunch without taking away from the rich flavors of the cheese and meats. A French sourdough baguette goes great with soft cheeses and a multi-grain cracker can add an extra flavor to milder cheeses.
A couple ramekins of dips or spreads can add both style and extra flavors to your board. Add both a sweet and a savory option. Sweet dips may include honey, chocolate, apple butter or jam. Savory dips could include a grainy mustard, a hot pepper mustard or a bruschetta.
The Finishing Touches
After you’ve skillfully arranged your charcuterie board to look its most appetizing self, add a few finishing touches. These edible decorations could include sprigs of fresh herbs, nuts, olives, candies, pomegranate seeds, cherry tomatoes, or berries.