A charcuterie board is a step up from a traditional cheese board. It’s an array of cured meats, cheeses, pates, preserves and crackers with a dash of fresh fruits, berries and nuts. When creating your board, be mindful of your choices. Choose fruits that won’t turn in color when exposed to the air. Fruits such as bananas turn brown and look less appetizing over time. Also, leaving a bit of the stem on fruits and vegetables can make them easier to pick up with your hands, without the use of a fork. It also adds a little texture/contrast and color. A great example would be radishes, strawberries, cherries and grapes. I like to provide a mixture of spreadable and firm cheeses that can be cut into small bite-sized cubes or sliced to fit the size of a cracker. The same applies to olives. You have the ability to display a mixture of whole olives as well as a tapenade (A spreadable mixture of finely diced olives, capers and sometimes anchovies) Preserves can be spread over the top of a wedge of cheese, spooned directly onto the board or placed in a small dish. I like to place preserves in a dish to avoid contact with other items. Dried fruits or nuts work as a great barrier to keep items separate. Fresh herbs and edible flowers also add great color and aroma to the board.
When deciding on placement, think of what items you would want to eat together on a cracker. Try to keep fruit separate from items like olives or capers unless additional salt adds to the fruit’s flavor. Instead place fruits next to nuts or cheeses. Wellington crackers are a perfect addition to your charcuterie board. The variety of flavors and textures give you great options without overpowering any item you choose to place on the cracker. When styling your board to include crackers, try not to place crackers too close to soft cheeses or fruits where they can absorb their moisture and become wet or stale.