Learn how to build a beautiful and harmonious blend of cured meats, artisanal cheeses and crackers, fresh fruits, and accoutrements. Create a juxtaposition of savory and sweet elements that will delight guests. No cooking required, ready in about 15 minutes!
Charcuterie boards are a popular party dish for good reason. They are very versatile, easy to create, look amazing and offer a variety of flavors and textures, all on one platter.
This sweet and savory charcuterie board recipe covers all the basics and is a great go-to that you can customize as desired.
★ Why You'll Love this Recipe ★
This recipe covers the basics for creating a sweet and savory charcuterie board.
You can absolutely customize this line up of foods to fit your and your guests favorites foods but if you're just not sure where to start, this recipe is a good fall-back for remembering the basics.
Use this recipe as an outline, if you will, to help you build a well-balanced offering of foods, styled in a way that will make people want to dig right in!
Creating a charcuterie board is a fun and flexible culinary experience. Feel free to experiment and tailor it to your preferences and the preferences of your guests.
★ Ingredients You'll Need ★
Here's a look are the various foods we're using to build out this board.
- Grapes. Any color! But do keep in mind that a variety or color and hues will really make your charcuterie board sing. I love bright green grapes because they add a note of freshness to the board. The bright green also really plays off of some of the other green ingredients — the pickles and olives in this case. Having varying shades of a certain color is one secret to building a cohesive looking charcuterie board.
- Sea salt caramels. Almost everyone loves chocolate so this is an easy-add item that also brings in a rich earthy dark brown color which creates a beautiful contrast with the lighter, brighter ingredients such as white cheeses.
- Gherkins / Cornichons. Also known as baby pickles! These are just so cute and easy to pick up with a toothpick and munch on. They have lovely shades of both dark and light green and a fun nubby texture. All those qualities make this a go-to item for my charcuterie boards.
- Havarti, sliced. Havartis is a very mild cheese that goes with just about anything. This cheese adds creaminess to salty meats and sweet fruits. The creamy white color also adds that eye-popping contrast against the dark ingredients. This cheese can be sliced and staggered to create visual texture.
- Almonds. Not only do almonds tastes great with a sweet earth falvor, they also have a beautiful warm brown color and grainy texture making them an excellent choice for a charcuterie board. You can use other nuts instead or in addition too. I personally also really love cashews for their color, shape and of course flavor.
- Green olives. Stuffed green olives are a great little snack. You can find so many varieties of green olives stuffed with cheese, garlic and different types of peppers. You can also vary the size you choose if you want to add contrast in size of your charcuterie board elements.
- Brie cheese. A wheel of brie cheese is another go-to item that looks amazing with its rustic bright white rind, creamy texture and mild yet tart flavor. It pairs well with dried fruits and can be pre-cut into triagular slices for easy serving.
- Figs. You can go with dried or fresh figs. Fresh figs are gorgeous but a little awkward to eat and aren't always easy to find so dried is a nice alternative. Figs have a mild flavor and grainy texture that pairs well with cheese as well as cured meats.
- Fig spread. This is a great alternative to dried figs or can be served along with whole figs to offer a more subtle swipe of fig flavor and texture vs. a whole bite.
- Crackers. Unique artisan crackers can really elevate your charcuterie board by offering an uncommon look, texture and flavor that surprises and delights.
- Prosciutto. This thinly sliced cured meat has beautiful color and can be rolled or folded to show off its semi-opaque qualities.
- Whole-grain mustard. This colorful yellow and brown, heavily textured mustard can be offered with a small serving spoon to easy add a dollop to your cracker before building on that with cheese and/or fruit.
- Wafers. Offering several types of crackers not only adds interest to your board, it also delights guests with yet another flavor and texture to try.
★ How to Make this Recipe ★
There's an art to assembling a charcuterie board and that's the fun of it! Add your creative spin but here are a few tips and ideas for styling your board:
- Pre-slice your cheese. This makes grazing much easier and you don't need to worry about having a knife handy. Slicing and fanning out the cheese also adds interesting texture to the board.
- Spread out the light and dark ingredients to add contrast throughout the whole board.
- Roll or fold your meats to add shapes, creating visual interest. It also makes the meat easier to serve so it's not sticking together.
- Spread out the crackers so that multiple people can access and build their snacks at the same time. Multiple stacks of crackers also adds nice texture throughout the board.
- Offer toothpicks or small tongs if you are concerned about peopel using their fingers.
- Break up large chunks of the same type of food. Again, this allows multiple people to access the board at the same time without having to reach. And it also spreads out too much of the same color, unifying the look of the board and giving it a more dainty, sophisticated look.
- Use small ramekins to and tiny serving spoons to hold condiments like mustards and jams.
- Stick with a natural and non-patterned serving platter. A charcuterie board already has a lot going on, so a more plain serving platter lets the food be the hero.
- Having a pattern or a wood grain on the bottom of the tray that is revealed, however, can help make the platter not look bare once things are eaten.
★ Tips & FAQs ★
How much should I include per person?
Plan for about 2-4 ounces of meat and cheese per person with fruit and other accoutrements as a bonus. Adjust based on whether the charcuterie board is the main course or an appetizer.
Can I prepare the board in advance?
Many components can be prepared ahead. However, it's best to assemble the board closer to serving time to ensure freshness of fruits, meats and cheeses.
What's a good wine pairing?
Pair red wines with bold cheeses and meats, and white wines with lighter options. Sparkling wine also complements a charcuterie board well.
Honestly, since a charcuterie boards offers such a variety of food, you can serve any kind of wine you prefer. You really can't go wrong.
Can I include non-traditional items?
Absolutely! Get creative with unique cheeses, exotic fruits, or specialty condiments to add your personal touch. The key is to add unusual items that can be fun surprises and uncommon experiences for your guests.
How do I store leftovers?
Store leftover cheeses and meats separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Use within a few days for optimal freshness.
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Sweet and Savory Charcuterie Board
- 2 cups green grapes
- 13.8 oz sea salt caramels
- 12.5 oz Gherkins / Cornichons (baby pickles)
- 8 oz Havarti cheese sliced
- 1 cup whole almonds
- 7 oz green olives drained
- 7 oz brie cheese wheel
- 7 oz dried figs halved
- 6 oz artisan crackers
- 3.5 oz crackers (wafers)
- 4 oz prosciutto
- ½ cup whole-grain mustard
- ½ cup fig spread
- Slice cheese and figs.
- Arrange all ingredients onto your charcuterie board. See tips above for styling.