At the core of every successful dinner party, there are a handful of entertaining essentials that make it great. Of course, a free-flowing stream of spirits and cocktails definitely helps. But add in a diverse array of snackable, bite-sized treats and that will instantly take things to the next level. Sure, you have the cheeseboard and the oh so trendy crudite platters that have been taking the entertaining world by storm but, there is a classic that is too often overlooked: charcuterie boards. Comprised of a mouthwatering combo of cheese, cured meats, and sweet bites, it’s a trifecta of perfection.
So, what exactly is charcuterie anyway? In layman’s terms, it refers to any sort of artisanally cured meat, one that typically pertains to pork, hams, sausages, and even pâté. When it comes to charcuterie boards, don’t be deterred by the size or abundance of what you may typically come across—simplicity is a trait you’re more than welcome to embrace and sticking to a single type of meat is surely allowed. Mixing in various sorts of cheese has become increasingly common but overlook the ratio and you run the risk of the board becoming something entirely different altogether. Fruits, veggies, and various dips are just a few of the other common accouterments you may come to find, each one lending a unique flavor detail to the overall spread. Ahead, see the inspired recipes we can’t wait to try out at our next fete.
What’s Gaby Cooking‘s ultimate appetizer board is one that does not disappoint. Bountifully loaded with goodies spanning sweet and savory flavor profiles, it’s the variety that makes a difference here. Herb and hot sausages and thinly sliced soppressata salumi represent the cured meat category, amply complemented by dried fruits, roasted nuts, and plenty of cheese to go with.
Pâté is an undeniable staple of a charcuterie board and Bon Appetit’s rendition, Pâté de Campagne, is one you surely won’t want to miss out on. Less is more here—fine dijon mustard, a jar of cornichons, and crunchy baguette slices are all that is needed to complete the set. After all, what is more impressive than whipping up your very own batch of pâté?
A sublime blend of marinated heirloom tomatoes and grilled zucchini are just a few of the additions that take this charcuterie board from Half Baked Harvest to the next level. From the mix of hard and soft cheeses (that burrata!) to the healthy sprinkling of various herbs, the eclectic variety of flavors found in this board bring on all the essential flavors of the season.
The aptly named Presidental Cheeseboard from The Modern Proper leaves little else to be desired. Fruitful accents, sweet honey, and salted nuts, for an added bite, are just a handful of the thoughtful details incorporated in this abundant display. That said, we can’t overlook the hefty dose of fine cured meats, meticulously layered in, though not overlooked. Salami, roast beef, and prosciutto comprise the charcuterie portion of the board, each to be paired with a delicious combo of fruits and cheeses.
The simplicity of this one is not lost on us and the fact that it’s sized perfectly to be indulged by one is yet another pro. Before you take on the challenge of assembling a grand board, try your hand at this modest plate from Bon Appetit, utilizing it as an excuse to experiment with various flavors and ingredients. So when the time comes, you can really wow your guests with your unique creation.
Make the most of summer eggplant by transforming the veggie into a mouthwatering pate. Honestly Yum‘s rendition of a charcuterie board comes with a ginger-garlic eggplant pate, lending a healthier and lighter alternative to the classic. That said, sliced prosciutto and salami bring on the protein, all to be paired with sweet pickled onions and mini cornichons. Ahh, perfection.