Food: How to create the perfect charcuterie board for your holiday party

Are you hosting a holiday party and looking for a simple way to impress your guests?

Here are a few steps for building an eye-catching and mouth-watering charcuterie board that will add color, flavor and variety to your holiday table.

1. Grab a platter or surface to display your charcuterie. Anything will work, even a simple cutting board. Just be sure to choose a size that you can fill completely.

2. Use dishes or ramekins of mismatched sizes, shapes and colors to hold dressings, toppings and sauces. This will keep your board clean and add fun visual details to the display.

3. Include two to four cheeses of contrasting flavors and textures to please all palates, and to complement other elements of the board. The varieties you select should represent these basic categories: hard cheese, (such as Chardonnay Bellavitano) soft cheese, (such as brie) and blue cheese (such as French Roquefort).

4. While a traditional charcuterie board typically sticks with cured meats, the holiday season is the perfect occasion for adding depth and richness to your feast with grilled meats, such as filet, sliced into strips. Whether you are firing up the grill or preparing on a cooktop, allow any cooked meats to rest well before adding them to your board.

5. No charcuterie board is complete without some crunch. Add two to three options like pita crackers, crusty breads or toasted baguettes that will stand up to the weight of your meats and cheeses.

6. Add some brightness and sweetness to your board. Fresh fruits like blueberries, strawberries and green grapes, and preserves such as peach pepper jam, will add contrast to rich, salty meats and cheeses. Don’t forget seasonal sweets and treats like soft peppermints, peanut brittle, chocolate dipped pretzels and candied nuts.

7. You’ll want your charcuterie board to look as if it’s overflowing. So, as you’re building it out, start with the largest elements like the cheeses and meats first, followed by smaller items like crackers, fresh produce and sweets. Fill in any holes with sprigs of aromatic rosemary for trimming, along with additional portions of the smaller items. The various elements of the board should pair well together, so it’s OK if they touch.

To wow your guests and their taste buds, take your charcuterie board to the next level with seasonal treats, grilled meats and a cornucopia of sweet and savory flavors.

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