‘Tis the season for entertaining, so let’s talk charcuterie.
Holidays are the perfect excuse to go big, bold and colorful, but it can also be a time that is busy and chaotic. That’s just one reason to love charcuterie. These gourmet eats give you an opportunity to create a festive entertaining spread that is as gorgeous as it is easy to put together.
Whether you’re hosting a holiday get-together with a few friends or you’re in charge of feeding the whole office at your yearly holiday party, charcuterie presentations can be made to suit any crowd.
For advice on serving sizes per number of guests, check out How to Build a Charcuterie Board for Two, a Few or a Crowd.
Our entertaining experts are always looking for new and exciting ways to make you the host with the most. That’s why we’ve compiled a simple, easy-to-follow guide for building an eye-catching spread for holiday happy hours, office celebrations, block parties, family dinners and all of your holiday entertaining occasions.
First, choose the foundation of your presentation. Keeping in mind how much food you’ll be serving, select a few surfaces on which to build. Use slate boards, marble slabs, ceramic platters, large cutting boards… mix it up and keep things interesting. Consider adding jars and bowls to give some height/depth. Remember: you can always add to the presentation if you find you need more space later.
Next, it’s time to choose your charcuterie. Select a variety of cured meats and salumi. From spicy pepperoni to the delicate and savory prosciutto, there are so many flavor profiles to consider. Mixing it up means you can accommodate many palates.
Bring on the cheese! Select artisan cheeses with a variety of textures, flavor and milk types—ranging from the super sharp aged kinds (Parmigiano-Reggiano, Aged Cheddar and Asiago) to fresh and creamy types (Chèvre and Mascarpone). Blues, like gorgonzola, and bloomy-rind cheeses, like Brie, are popular upgrades.
Our recommended favorites: Havarti, BellaVitano, Asiago, Manchego, Gouda, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Aged Cheddar, Brie, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Gruyère.
Olives & Antipasti
These marinated Mediterranean goodies are an essential component to any entertainment spread. Visit your local deli’s olive bar to pick up some cured olives, pickled peppers, marinated artichokes, Italian-style mushrooms, giardiniera vegetable salads and more. Not only do they add to the eye-appeal of your offerings, but they are natural complements to meats and cheeses. Olives and antipasti can really add a new dimension to your charcuterie and cheese boards, boasting big and exciting flavors— bold, bitter, briny, sweet, tangy, vinegary, smoky, tart, etc.
Some of our favorites:
Accent your board with a selection of tapenades, bruschettas, mustards, honeys and fruit spreads.
Add sprinkles or sprigs of fresh herbs—like rosemary, thyme or dill—to give your charcuterie offerings a fresh finish.
Now all that’s left to do is add some wine, beer or cocktails and your favorite people.
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