Charcuterie Board 101: Tips for preparing the perfect dish for a snack or party (2023)

Are you new to charcuterie boards and party plates, don't know where to start or are you just looking for ideas? From choosing the right charcuterie and portion sizes to choosing the perfect cheeses and side dishes, I'm sharing my top tips for creating a beautiful, delicious, and balanced charcuterie board or party platter.

The Art of the French Charcuterie Board

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Charcuterie and charcuterie boards are rooted in French culture.

You can find cured meats in many restaurants, brasseries and bistros in France. But you'll also find them in many homes in France, as French sausage platters are easy to make, convenient, and eye-catching party treats that you can make ahead of time.

Best of all, they also help set the mood for any occasion as a focal point for people to meet and socialize.

It's one of the many reasons charcuterie boards are a popular choice for the time-honored tradition of the French.conference, where friends and family gather to enjoy light appetizers with aperitifs.

Tips for putting together a balanced and good-looking charcuterie board

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Traditional French cuisine would not be complete without the famous French cured meats.

While assembling a charcuterie board may seem easy, determining which sausages to serve and how many can be confusing, even for the French.

I created this guide to simplify the selection process and help you put together the perfect sausage platter and side dishes with serving suggestions.

If you're unsure of which delicacies to put on your charcuterie board, I have a post that explains the different onesDeli meat and differences here.

Through my experience,"best sausage platter' is a relative term. In other words, there is no right or wrong way to put them together because they are as individual as the person making them.

However, there are some general guidelines you can follow to create the best charcuterie board for your taste, guests, and style.

TIP #1) Add crowd-pleasing cured meats:

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When choosing the meat on the charcuterie board, consider the preferences of your guests.

The most important thing to remember is that a good charcuterie board should have something for everyone. Therefore, it is important to choose cured meats that as many people as possible will enjoy.

Try to include a mix of cold cuts with different flavor profiles to satisfy your guests' different taste buds.

For example, if you only serve two types of meat, you might NOT want to serve prosciutto and jambonBayonnetogether because they are very similar. You could, but why not choose something with a different flavor profile?

If children are present at the event, they may not appreciate the taste of prosciutto, so choose something they'd rather eat, like salami or cooked sausage.

Would you like to try something different, like liverwurst? While it can be a good option in France, your guests may not like it, so choose wisely based on your guests.

Tip #3) Mix and match the meat on your charcuterie board:

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There is no shortage of options when it comes to choosing inlays for your tables and platters. Several countries are known for their sausages, each with its own unique flavor profile. For example:

  • France– is known for various types of cured meats, such as B. Kochwurst (sausage), Jambon deBayonne(ham fromBayonne,) and pie.
  • Italy– known for prosciutto, salami, pancetta and bacon.
  • Spain– Famous for Iberian ham, chorizo ​​​​​​and loin.
  • Deutschland– is known for various types of sausages such as fried and white sausages.
  • Portugal– is famous for the presumed, a kind of raw ham.
  • Swiss– is famous for an air-dried beef called Bündnerfleisch.

Suggestion to mix and match charcuterie for your charcuterie board.

When creating a beautiful and delicious charcuterie board, it's important to mix and match different types of cured meats. Here are some suggestions for making a beautiful and delicious charcuterie board by mixing and matching different types of charcuterie.


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Whole grain and salted meats are great additions to any deli board. These types of meat are usually sliced ​​thinly and placed decoratively. Prosciutto is a classic example of cured meat, but it can also include bresaola, bacon, or coppa.

Cooked meat spreads:

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Soft, spreadable meats like pâté and rillette are perfect for spreading on bread or crackers. Chicken foie gras is popular, but you can also try pork or duck foie gras for a different flavor. The rillette, made from slow-cooked shredded meat, is another great option.

Raw sausages:

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Dry sausages are a staple of every good sausage table. Frenchdry sausageand Italian salami are great options, but you can also try Spanish chorizo ​​for a spicy kick. Look for sausages that have been aged for maximum flavor.

(Video) How to Make a Charcuterie Board - ULTIMATE CHEESE BOARD

Smoked meat:

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Smoked meats like bacon and smoked kale ham add delicious savory flavor to your dish. These meats go great with cheese and crackers. You can also try smoked salmon or trout for a seafood twist.

Cooked meat:

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Cooked meats such as ham, turkey and roast beef can also be placed on the table. Make sure they are sliced ​​thin and arranged in a separate section of the board.

Tarrina vegetable:

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Vegetable terrines are a great addition to a sausage platter, especially for vegetarian guests.

Tip #3) When in doubt, go with the basics.

When in doubt or when you don't have access to a wide variety of sausages, choose safe bets.

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Sausage boards are great for gatherings or events; However, it can be overwhelming to choose which meats to include on a charcuterie board, or you may not have access to a wide range.

This is where the “go with the basics” concept comes into play.

By opting for tried-and-true delicacies that have broader appeal, you can create a deli board that's delicious and easy to put together.

In other words, they are safe bets.

Of course, the "safe bets" for deli vary depending on where you live.

In France, for example, sausages (les saucisses), sliced ​​boiled ham, dry sausages, and salami-like meats are popular staples that often end up on French charcuterie boards because of their huge appeal and ability to please crowds, making them a safe food. Selection.

In some regions, cured meats such as prosciutto, chorizo ​​​​or mortadella may be more common. In other areas, smoked meats such as jerky or smoked salmon are preferred. The key is to choose meats that have broad appeal and can be enjoyed by the majority of your guests.

And while it's always fun to experiment with new and unusual meats, sometimes it's best to keep things simple and stick with what works.

Aesthetics of a French sausage platter

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Of course you want your charcuterie platter to look aesthetically pleasing, but it doesn't have to be complicated if you don't want it to.

If you don't have time to go all out and create an Instagram-worthy charcuterie board, it's okay to make a simple charcuterie board with just one, two, or three types of meat, complete with a loaf of bread, some olives, a salad, and toss a good bottle of wine or beer.

If you're planning on having more variety on your charcuterie board, here are some tips for organizing a nice charcuterie board:

Tip #4) Choose the right board:

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Wood panels are a timeless option that add warmth and texture, while marble or slate can add a more contemporary look.

(Video) $30 Charcuterie Board vs $130 Charcuterie Board | But Cheaper

However, you don't have to limit yourself to these options.

You can get creative and use almost anything for your charcuterie platter, from a simple cutting board, large serving platter or cheese board to a few plates or a lazy Suzanne.

Just make sure you have enough space to hold all of your ingredients. If you don't have a large enough plate, you can use a few plates and group similar items together.

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Tip #5) Start with the largest items:

When organizing your board, start with the largest items first. This can be a large piece of cheese or a whole salami. Place these items on different areas of the board to create balance.

Tipp #6)Add smaller elements after the larger elements:

Once you have your large items in place, add smaller items like cold cuts, crackers, and fruit. Arrange these items in groups around the board to add interest and visual appeal.

Tip #7)Use different textures:

Use different textures to create a visually interesting sausage board. This can be a soft creamy cheese paired with a crunchy biscuit or a soft pie paired with a crusty baguette. Mix and match textures to create a sensory experience for your guests.

Tipp #8)Colors vary:

Adding a variety of colors to your sausage board can make it look more appetizing. Use colorful fruits such as grapes and berries or showcase colorful vegetables such as cherry tomatoes or carrots.

Tip #9)Add fresh herbs:

Fresh herbs can add a fragrant aroma and flavor to your sausage board. Scatter fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary over your cheese or place herb sprigs around the board for a decorative touch.

Tipp #10)Consider the flow:

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When assembling your charcuterie board, consider the flow of ingredients. Arrange the articles in a way that makes sense to people. For example, place crackers and bread near spreads and cheese, and fruit and nuts near meat.

Anticipate what you need: small gifts for your sausage board

Tip #11)Convenience, cut or not cut:

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When assembling charcuterie boards, remember that it must be convenient for eating.

The decision to pre-cut sausage for a charcuterie platter comes down to a combination of factors and personal preference.

(Video) How to Build the Best Charcuterie Board 101

I recommend pre-slicing chewy salamis or hard-to-cut cured meats to make it easier for guests to enjoy.

If the table is small and there are a lot of guests, it may be more efficient to pre-cut the sausages to prevent them from crowding around the table or taking up too much space.

For a more formal event, pre-cutting the sausages can make the sausage board look neater. For an informal gathering, you can have the sausages cut yourself, creating a more relaxed atmosphere and encouraging conviviality.

Tip #12)Utils:

If there are dips and spreads, include a small knife or spoon with each.

Tipp #13)Tag or remove tag:

Consider getting some of those little labels you can use to identify specific cheeses or sausages. It's not necessary, but people don't have to guess. It's a nice touch that adds that wow factor with little effort.

Tipp #14)Various things most people forget

It's finger food so make sure you have extra paper towels on the table. Bowls for people to throw their olive pits or toothpicks in. Water or wine on the table with glasses etc.

How much meat and cheese per person?

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How much meat and cheese you need per person depends on the specifics of your event, e.g. B. how much other food you serve and how hungry your guests are. If you're serving other things like bread, crackers, hummus, fruit, and nuts, you can plan a little less meat and cheese.

Tip #15) Choose the amount of meat and cheese you need according to the number of people

Here's a simple rule of thumb to follow.

A charcuterie platter is an appetizer followed by a full meal.

  • About 80 grams per person, which is about 3 slices per person.
  • About 50g of cheese per person.

For a charcuterie board that is the main meal served with wine

  • About 150 grams per person, about 6 slices of meat per person.
  • About 200g of cheese per person

Side dishes and garnishes for French charcuterie boards:

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When it comes to sausage platters, they're like a blank canvas.

You can add anything and as many or as few accompaniments as you like.

There are many options to choose from to create a complete and satisfying strain. Here is a suggested list of items you might want to consider.

Tip #16) Add something sour or salty

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It's quite common to have something sour and salty on a charcuterie board.

The salt content of sausages such as salami, prosciutto or ham can bebalanced by sour or spicy flavorslike cucumbers and olives, which can help reduce the abundance of fatty meats, cheeses and nuts. This helps bring out the flavors of the meat and keeps it from becoming overpowering or salty.

The combination of salty and sour flavors can stimulate the taste buds and increase appetite, making the sausage board more enjoyable and satisfying to eat.

  • The pickle(crunchy mini cucumbers: sour and bitter, not sweet)
  • Olive, green or black.
  • Dry Tomatoes(very popular with my friends in France)
  • walnuts:such as almonds, anacardos or pistachios

Tip #17) Complimentary cheese pairings for cured meats

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If you want to balance your charcuterie board, you can add some complimentary cheese toppings for the cured and cooked meats.

A good rule of thumb is a combination of the following:

  • a hard cheese
  • a semi-hard cheese
  • a soft cheese
  • If you are brave, asmelly cheese

I don't recommend smoked cheeses because they can be too similar to smoked meat andFresh mozzarella is too wet.Here are a few suggestions.

Hard and semi-hard cheese:

  • Gruyere:
  • Manchego:
  • Ripe Gouda:
  • Alter Cheddar:
  • Provolone Cheese:
  • Account
  • Parmesan

soft cheese:

(Video) How To Build The Ultimate Cheese Board • Tasty

  • Queso-Brie
  • queso Camembert
  • Goat or Chevre.
  • Blue Cheese

Tip #18) Add sweet jam or chutney to complement the cheese

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If you're planning on putting some cheese in your charcuterie, it adds a nice touch to add jam, jellies, or even honey to complement the cheese. The sweetness of jams, jellies, or honey can balance the salty, savory flavors of cheese, creating a more complex and interesting taste experience.

In addition, certain types of cheese, such asQueso-BrieÖgoat cheese, it may have a slightly pungent or bitter taste. Combining these cheeses with a sweet side can help remove the acidity and make the cheese more flavorful.

The type of jam, jelly or honey you choose depends on the type of cheese you are serving. For example, blue cheese goes well with fig jam and onion confit (onion vegetables).

  • Onion chutney(Confit d'oignon) and preserves pair well with flavorful cheeses like blue cheese.
  • FIG jamit also goes well with spicy cheeses.
  • apricot jamcomplements the cheddar cheese.
  • Honigis a versatile option that can go well withQueso-BrieAsk,queso Camembert, jgoat cheese.

Tip #19) Add mustard to compliment sausage meat

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Mustard is a great accompaniment to charcuterie platters for a number of reasons.

First, mustard imparts a tart flavor to the meat, which can help reduce the richness and saltiness of your cured meats.

Second, mustard can be used with bread to create a variety of flavor combinations with meat and cheese on the charcuterie board.

Tip #20) Add fresh fruit or dried fruit

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Fresh fruit is a great addition to a charcuterie board for a number of reasons.

First, the fresh fruit adds a sweet and refreshing contrast to the rich, savory flavors of the cured meats and cheeses. This helps balance the flavors and textures on the table, making the meal more enjoyable.

Second, fresh fruit is visually appealing. Bright colors and natural fruit shapes can help break up the monotony of meat and cheese and create a more interesting and appealing presentation.

Some popular options include

  • grape
  • Berry
  • sliced ​​apples
  • sliced ​​pears
  • melon balls
  • Dried fruits:such as figs, apricots or blueberries

Tip #21) Include hummus and sauces in your sausage board

Adding hummus and dips on a sausage board is a great way to add some variety and flavor to your sausage board. They offer a creamy, flavorful element that pairs well with other meats, cheeses, and breads. They're also great if you have guests who aren't big meat eaters or vegetarians.

Other popular sauces that can be included on a sausage board include:

  • Baba Ghanoush– An oriental dip made from roasted aubergines,Tahini, jSpices.
  • Guacamole– A creamy avocado dip that goes well with tortilla chips.
  • Spinach and artichoke dip– A warm, cheesy dip that pairs well with crackers or a toasted baguette.
  • Salsa– A classic dip based on tomatoes, onions andSpicesthis goes well with tortilla chips or crostini.
  • Tzatziki– A Greek dip made from yogurt, cucumber and garlic that goes well with pita or veggie chips.
  • Ranch-Dip– A creamy dip made from sour cream andSpicesit goes well with vegetables or crackers.
  • Tapenade– A French dip made from olives, capers and anchovies that goes well with bread.
  • alioli- a Mediterranean sauce made from garlic, olive oil, egg yolks and lemon juice or vinegar, and often includes additional flavorings such as mustard, or herbsSpices.

The inclusion of different sauces allows diners to personalize their experience at the sausage table and try different flavor combinations. It's also a great way to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Tip #22) Add a salad or crunchy vegetables

Add a fresh, healthy element to your spread by adding raw vegetables or a salad.

  • Various fresh ingredients from the garden:Radishes and cherry tomatoes are good too.
  • Salatlike mixed leafy greens or a grain salad

Tip #23) Add bread or crackers.

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Saltine crackers are often included in a charcuterie board in the US and Canada. However, crackers are not a popular choice on French charcuterie boards or cheese boards in France.

Instead, the almighty baguettes are the favorite choice of French hosts and hostesses. Foccacia bread and artisan breads like country bread or olive bread are also great options - my German friends who live in France like to serve dark German bread.

Putting bread, baguettes or crackers on a charcuterie board is a great idea as they can create different flavor combinations with meat and cheese.

For example, you can top a slice of baguette with a slice of prosciutto and some fig jam, or spread soft cheese on a piece of bread and top it with sliced ​​salami.

When choosing breads and baguettes for a charcuterie platter, it's a good idea to choose varieties that complement the meats and cheeses you've chosen. For example, a crusty baguette goes well with hard, salty cheese, while softer bread might be a good choice for softer cheese.

When in doubt, choose a baguette; They are more versatile than cookies.

In summary, how to make a delicious and beautiful sausage board.

Making a delicious and beautiful charcuterie board is all about balance, variety and presentation.

(Video) How to make a charcuterie board/ grazing table/ holiday spread

Don't be afraid to mix and match different meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts and toppings to create a unique and personalized table that will impress your guests.

When choosing your toppings, remember to consider your guests' dietary preferences and restrictions.

And finally have fun with it! A charcuterie board isn't just a tasty appetizer; It can be a complete meal and a work of art that will leave a lasting impression on your guests.


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