Appetizer boards have become incredibly popular! This delicious concept combines fruits, vegetables, crackers, nuts, cheese and the focus on cold, cured meats brings the French term charcuterie to the table. Often arranged on a wooden board, the variety of foods can also be attractively served on vintage dishes, small plates or a rotating plate. A charcuterie spread can be prepared for one or two people, or a crowd.
Creating an assortment that is pleasing to the eye and the palate takes design into consideration. Think about colors and textures when putting your board together. Small bowls of jam, honey, fine mustards, soft cheeses or pickled vegetables can be placed on the board first. Bright red beet chips, cherry tomatoes, pickled beets, rainbow carrots and dried apricots can fill empty spaces and bring an appealing splash of color.
Create a good base with a variety of sliced meats like salami, prosciutto or go Flint Style with ring bologna. Next onto the board goes a variety of cheeses – arrange large wedges, cubes and slices. Mild farmer’s cheese balances out the peppery salami. Fresh mozzarella is a win or try a log of creamy, herbed goat cheese. For pizzazz, add some rich and tangy blue cheese and a sharp cheddar. Quality olives are a must-have, as are several kinds of pickles, or more unusual pickled items like dilly green beans or asparagus.
For even more texture and flavor – as well as added nutrition – don’t forget to include nuts like pistachios or pecans, as well as fresh berries, grapes and dried fruits such as figs, dates or cherries. The crackers or bread are the vehicle that completes the spread, so add a few flavorful, savory types and something neutral, like a water cracker.
Appetizer boards can be made the day before an event, just be sure to pat dry any juicy items. Garnish with some fresh and pretty herb sprigs like rosemary, mint and lavender. Finally, choose a wine to accompany your beautiful and festive array of goodies.
Don’t want to make your own? Check out The Local Grocer’s holiday boards!