Create the charcuterie board of your dreams with simple tips from grazing-platter curator (yes, there’s such a thing) Missy Stines
By Missy Stines
We’re all spending more time at home these days — so what better use of your time than perfecting the art of charcuterie-board making? Here are my tips for putting together a beautiful, tasty spread. Don’t forget the wine!
1. Select your board
Selecting a board doesn’t have to be tricky. First, consider the number of people you plan to serve (the bigger the crowd, the bigger the board, of course). Then make sure the size, shape, and functionality of your board can handle what you’re about to load it up with. In a pinch? A basic wood cutting board can always do the trick. If you’re planning to transport the board, choose something with sides: a tray, a cute casserole dish, or even a pan.
2. Choose your ingredients
Start with buying the star of the show: cheese. It will dictate the direction of your board. For a smaller board, select two to three cheeses; for a larger platter, choose more. Make sure you include a variety of textures (soft, hard, and spreadable, etc.). Also, consider your fellow grazers’ taste buds to determine whether to stock up on milder cheeses or their stronger counterparts. Here are some can’t-go-wrong options:
Hard cheeses: Syrah Toscano, Manchego, Irish aged cheddar, Aged Gouda and Asiago
Soft cheeses: Triple cream Brie, Chèvre, Blueberry vanilla Chèvre (sweet), Harbison (softens to spreadable), Cave-Aged Blue. Cambozola
Spreadable cheeses: Boursin, always. It’s a crowd pleaser, plus it’s budget-friendly.
After you’ve nailed down your cheeses, pick a selection of cured meats. You can’t go wrong with hard salami, prosciutto, Calabrese or Sopressata. Also include fruits — especially grapes and any other seasonal produce. Dried fruits and nuts are must-haves, too — apricots always add a great pop of color.
To finalize your flavors, add the following: chocolate, olives, pickles, peppers, bread, crackers, preserves, or honey. Boom, your ingredient list is complete.
3. Setting up your spread
When creating your board, set the cheese out first. Make sure to slice all hard cheese for a user-friendly grazing experience. After the cheese is placed, I suggest adding in the larger ingredients and then topping the board with the smaller fillers.
Here’s a good order to follow when setting up your spread:
- Cheese design
- Condiment bowls if you’re using them (I opted to put the preserve directly onto the cheese)
- Crackers (I find they take up a lot of space so I add them early on)
- Hard salami and cured meat
- Olives, pickles and peppers
- Smaller fruit and dried fruit
- Garnish (rosemary, thyme, mini sweet peppers, or even flowers make a board more beautiful and professional looking)
Now, time to pop some bottles and truly enjoy the evening!
Missy Stines is a Metro Detroit-based blogger, social media influencer and the owner of Cheese to Please. Her passion for good food, cheese, fine wine, and love for family and friends led her down this path to start her own business. The Cheese to Please concept is to make entertaining effortless as well as incredibly delicious and beautiful. Cheese to Please delivers gourmet-grazing boards for all occasions perfectly packaged like a present to your door. Follow her on Instagram @cheesetopleaseboards or visit the website cheesetoplease.com for for information.