How to Build a Cheese & Charcuterie Board

Cheese & Charcuterie boards are central to any good holiday party. But building the perfect board isn’t always the easiest task. There’s a lot that goes into creating a well-balanced board that looks as good as it tastes. Fortunately, Epicuse knows a thing or two about how to build a great board. 


First off, let’s start by defining what charcuterie is. Oftentimes, we hear people referring to a cheese board as a charcuterie board, but there’s actually a big difference between the two. With a cheese board, the cheese is the star of the show accompanied by fruits, jams, mustards and other fun accoutrements. Charcuterie is cured meats and a charcuterie board has the cured meats be the star of the show with cheese and accoutrements added in. 


However, it seems the public wants to call everything a charcuterie board and when you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join them….  


Every great “charcuterie board” has these essential pieces: 

  • Cheese
  • Meat
  • Something Sweet
  • Textured Mustard 
  • Something Pickled
  • And Something Crunchy 

 

Together, these essential pieces come together to create a well-balanced board. When grazing the board, you should notice that it perfectly pairs sweet, salty, fatty and briny flavors to create a delectable contrast. 

 

Let’s get into what products you should be using for each of these essential elements in order to create the perfect “charcuterie board” for your holiday party…


Cheese 


Your charcuterie board should have a good balance of cheeses:

  • Soft and Spreadable Cheese (Goat Cheese)
  • Semi-Hard, Sharp (Aged Cheddar, Manchego) 
  • Creamy (Brie, Stilton Blue Cheese) 
  • Smoky (Gouda) 

 

Meat


 Air dried cured meats are what you should look for when building your charcuterie board. Aim to have an even ratio of cheese to meat on your board in order to create the perfect balance.  


We recommend:

  • Pepperoni
  • Prosciutto
  • Salami
  • Soppressata

 

The meat is where you’ll really get to create the aesthetic texture on your plate as well. We recommend folding the prosciutto into florets – not only does it look more attractive, it also makes for easier serving. You can also stack the sausage type meats in a layered array to create a more aesthetic look. 


Something Sweet


 To contrast the saltiness of the cheese and meat, you’ll want something sweet on your board. Some ideas that we recommend include: 

  • A decadent chocolate
  • A creamy caramel 
  • A sweet jam
  • Fresh berries
  • Dried Fruits

 

Textured Mustard


A textured mustard is a great link between other elements in your board. It’ll balance out the sharper cheeses and meats nicely. Not to mention, it’ll also add to the aesthetic appeal of the board when thoughtfully placed. Some options you may want to consider for your board include honey mustard, Dijon mustard, dill pickle mustard or one of our unique flavored textured mustards from Terrapin Ridge Farms – available at Epicuse. 

 

Something Crunchy  


You’ll also need something crunchy on your board to pair with your cheeses and meats. 

Consider adding:

  • Crackers
  • Baguette
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Marcona Almonds

 

Something Pickled


Lastly, you’ll want to finish off your board with something pickled. Most pickled vegetables will make a suitable addition to your board. 

 

Other ideas include:

  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Cornichons
  • Or your favorite pickled veggies



Build a Board at Epicuse

Epicuse has all of the ingredients you may need to build a board in-store. Our products are also available for online order – where you can either pick up in-store or have them delivered! And if you’re just a little too busy this holiday season (as so many of us are), Epicuse also offers premade charcuterie boards. You can place an order for your holiday charcuterie board from Epicuse here. 

Build a board event