The Best Places To Shop For Charcuterie And Cheese
Local Cheese Shops: Always try and support local shops when possible. Los Angeles has a few great ones like The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills and DTLA Cheese.Trader Joes: They by far, have the best deals on cheese. They carry a variety of great brands. I like to grab garnishes here too you cant beat their prices on nuts and dried fruit.Whole Foods: Whole foods is good too. They have a deli counter with a variety of salamis and prosciuttos to choose from. They also carry all my favorite crackers. Costco: Surprise! Costco has a great cheese section. The only problem? The portions are huge. If you creating a spread for a large crowd then consider checking out the selection at your local Costco.
My Favorite Crackers For A Charcuterie Board:
- Pepperidge farm Trio crackers
- Water biscuits
- Something gluten-free, like a Nut Thin or something similar
Other items to add to your board:
- Olives and/or mini pickles, for a salty bite. I love a mix of green and black olives.
- Nuts! My favorite to use are Marcona Almonds but mixed nuts, almonds, cashews anything works
- Honey I love drizzling honey on my cheese!
- Jam or mustard
- Chocolate chocolate and cheese pair well together. Get a dark chocolate bar and just break pieces to fill in the board.
Thats everything that goes into one of my easy cheese boards. My rule of thumb is that it should seem messy but its really not.
Food Items For The Seasonal Charcuterie Board
Here are the items that you can use to make our charcuterie board:
- Cured meats: You can select any of your choices. I got a package in the store that came with 3 cured types of meat: prosciutto, capocollo, and Calabrese salami. You may either choose them individually or buy a variety pack, which usually has a better price!
- Cheeses: our meat and cheese board has 3 different types of cheeses: two hard kinds of cheese and a semi-soft cheese .
- Starches: 2 types of crackers, Italian breadsticks, and baguette toast composed our board.
- Fruits: I used dried cranberries and also a variety of seasonal fresh fruits like grapes, pomegranate, and strawberries.
- Veggies: Anything seasonal and that would appeal to your picky eaters. I used celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots.
- Nuts: They cost more so I chose only one type which was pecans. But you can buy mixed nuts in a can or pick one or more of your preference.
- Spreads: For the sweet spread I picked an orange marmalade and for a savory spread/dip, hummus.
- Desserts: I chose mini treats such as macarons, caramels, meringues, and chocolate truffles. They dont occupy much space and you can easily buy them in most stores. Anything that is small, proper for the occasion, and that you love goes well.
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Tips & Tricks For Charcuterie And Cheese Platters
How much meat/cheese will you need? I recommend about 3oz each of meat and cheese per person as an appetizer. Thats about 4 slices of salami or prosciutto and 3-4 slices of cheese. If youre serving charcuterie and cheese as an entree bump that numbers up to 6oz each of meat and cheese per person. How to Assemble the board/plate/platter: First pick your serving vessel. You can use a large plate or platter, a tray as I have used in the photo above or a wooden board. I really like to lay down a piece of parchment before I start placing the meats and cheeses. It makes clean up very quick and easy plus I think it looks nice. Check out my video below to see exactly how I assemble my platter. Temperature: Cheese is best served at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge an hour before youre ready to assemble and serve. Meats should be served cold. Can the platter be made ahead of time? Yes, it can! You can make a charcuterie and cheese platter a few hours ahead of time just wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the fridge and take it out 30-40 minutes before youre ready to serve it. Leave the crackers until the last minute. They will get stale and possibly soggy in the fridge. Garnishes: I like to brighten up the platter with a little something green. You can use fresh rosemary, flowers or some green trimmings from your garden. This is totally optional.
Additional Charcuterie Board Ideas
In addition to the various cheeses and meats, some add-ons balance the flavors of a charcuterie board. They include
- Pickles and Olives
Sweet condiments, such as fig jam, local honey, and fresh vegetables and fruit in season balance the umami and salty flavors provided by meats and cheeses. Sweets mellow the flavors and add color for a visually impressive spread.
A handful of nuts add crunch and make the cheese and meat tray look abundant and full. Macadamia nuts and pistachios are excellent choices. Any nut you prefer is suitable. Spicy candied nuts take the board to a new level.
The tartness of pickles and olives is a welcomed taste on a cheese and charcuterie board. A mixture of cornichons and green and black olives is an excellent choice, but any you like work well. Dips enhanced with fresh herbs add variety and color to a spread. Suggestions include walnut and roasted red pepper dip or Mediterranean hummus.
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Ingredients For A Meat And Cheese Platter:
- Variety of cheeses such as Gouda, Cheddar, and Pepper Jack Cheeses
- Selection of Italian meats such as Peppered Salami, Genoa Salami, and Pepperoni
- Black Olives
- French Bread and Crackers
Round out your meat and cheese platter with some fresh and dried fruits and mixed nuts to balance all your flavors.
A spreadable herb cheese spread or goat cheese and chutney or preserves are also delicious on a meat and cheese platter. I also included olive oil and pink Himalayan salt.
Be sure to set out toothpicks, and a small spoon for your chutney or preserves.
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How To Make A Cheese Plate
An easy and delicious cheese plate appetizer is perfect for a party, holiday entertaining, and any get-togethers! In this step-by-step tutorial, Ill show you how to make an amazing cheese plate every time.
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Lets talk about CHEESE!
A cheese plate appetizer is an essential dish at 99% of my gatherings, holiday or otherwise. .
And yes this post is titled how to make a cheese plate, but you can follow these basic steps to make allllll kinds of party platters! Our cheese plate today has a bit of meat included and I also like to round things out with crackers, fruit, sausage, or whatever seasonal produce I have on hand
Ill cover things like building seasonal cheese plates, what to include on your cheese plate, and how to make a cheap cheese plate later on but lets start with the ASSEMBLY. Cheese plates can look very proper and fancy, but Im going to let you in on a secret: It is SO. EASY. to build a fancy cheese plate you just need to follow this basic order of operations.
Dont be afraid to get creative and have fun with it youre already on your way to making a perfect cheese plate every time!
PS In a hurry? Use the links below to jump to a specific section of this post!
How Far In Advance Can You Make A Meat And Cheese Platter
A couple of hours before you want to serve your platter, cut any meats or sliced cheese. Arrange the meats and cheeses on a clean serving plate that has been touched with just a few drops of olive oil. The freshness is important! Grate some aged dry cheddar over top for good measureSalami, prosciutto wrapped around aged dry cheddar are great pairings with fruit, nuts or seasoned breads alongside seed crackers!
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Building A Charcuterie Board: Where Do I Start
Though there are many easy charcuterie board ideas out there, the process is somewhat formulaic. Start by adding structure with little dishes, then place your ingredients on the board starting with the largest elements like the cheeses and meats, followed by smaller items like crackers and fresh produce.
What Is The Best Way To Serve Charcuterie
You can certainly arrange the meat alongside the cheese, but if you dont mind getting a little creative, you can also wrap fruit with some of these cold cuts.
As you can see in the pictures, I wrapped sliced cantaloupe with a few thin slices of prosciutto and breadsticks with soppressata. You can change up the fruit with whatever is in season to add color and sweetness to your cheese board.
A carefully curated meat and cheese platter is an easy, yet elegant way to turn an otherwise not-so-exciting appetizer to a gourmet dish that is delicious and visually appealing. So next time you are entertaining, treat your guests with a combination of artisanal craftsmanship and global flavors all in the form of meat and cheese. And while you are at it, be sure to pick up a few bottles of Layer Cake wines to enrich the experience and wow your guests.
WANT MORE CHEESY GOODNESS? Check out my Best Goat Cheese Recipes for more ideas.
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Where To Buy Charcuterie Boards
- The board you see in these photos is from Target. They have several options that are fantastic prices. Check out the kitchen aisle to grab a few.
- Check out Ross, Home Goods, or TJ Maxx. They often have them cheap!
- has some great options, just search wooden serving tray.
- Want to splurge? Buy a Boos Block!
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Easy Cheese Board For Beginners
- 8ouncessharp cheddarcubed
- 8ouncesmedium cheddarcubed
- 8ouncesDubliner, Gruyere, or other cheesesliced
- 1jargreen olivesuse your favorite flavor
- 6ouncesalmonds or marcona almonds
- 6ouncesother nuts
- 6ouncesseedless grapesred or green
- 2packagescrackersuse your favorite kinds
- 2packagessalami or Prosciuttouse your favorite
- 3cupschopped vegetablescarrots, cucumber, snap peas, etc.
- Arrange all ingredients on large serving tray.
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Four: Add Fruits Veggies And Herbs
This last step is the icing on the cake. Fill in any gaps on the board with fruits, vegetables, and sprigs of herbs. We used whole radishes, sliced figs, red grapes, and thyme. If you don’t have fresh items available to you, sub in dried fruits like apricots, cherries, and plums for something sweet and chewy. When your board is finished, set it out with a few cheese knives so guests can help themselves after they marvel at your masterpiece. Enjoy!
Editor’s note: Most charcuterie meats and cheeses are tastiest when served at room temperature. Perishable items shouldn’t sit out for more than two hours. Consider keeping a small selection of “refill” items, like sliced meats and cheeses, in the refrigerator so they’re ready to go when the board needs restocking.
How Far In Advance It Is Best To Set Up The Cheese And Meat Platter
The answer to this question depends on the weather or the temperature of the room you are serving it in. However, if you are serving it in room temperature or not-so hot outdoor temps, I recommend setting it up 20-30 minutes before your guests arrive.
Alternatively, if your fridge has enough space to accommodate a big cheese board, you can arrange the meat and cheese and cover it tightly with stretch film a few hours before serving. This way, right before you are ready to serve you can add all the other goodies onto your board.
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Faqs About Making A Classic Charcuterie Platter
Are charcuterie platters expensive to make?
They can be as expensive as you want them to be. It all depends on the quality of the ingredients you use. Some varieties of cheese can be pricey but you can find more middle of the price range that will work just as well. Domestic cheese tends to be cheaper than imported cheese. Whatever you end up using, the cost will still be much less than it would be if you were to special order a charcuterie platter from an outside source.
What should be on a charcuterie platter?
The list is endless but Id definitely start with four meats and four types of cheese. After that, items that are brined or pickled are always a good option and can last a while in the fridge. Spreads can include honey, jelly, hummus and mustard.
Does it take a long time to create a board?
Once you have all of your ingredients laid out in front of you, the fun part begins and should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. You can make it slightly ahead of when you plan to serve it and have it at room temperature. This way the cheese will be soft and he flavors will be at their strongest.
How do I eat it?
No hard rules here! I usually like to start with a cracker or baguette piece as a base and then add some cheese, meat and maybe a drop of honey or jam to complete that sweet and savory taste experience.
Meat And Cheese Tray Vs Charcuterie Board
This meat and cheese tray is more of a deli-style platter than a fancy charcuterie board. This tray is meant for making deli sandwiches or serving as more of a catering platter. We make trays like this for game-day parties, baby showers, work meetings etc. Charcuterie boards are typically more involved with everything being more bite-sized with more textures and dips. We have LOTS of great charcuterie board ideas! If a charcuterie board is what you are looking for, check out these fun ideas:
- Corned beef
For purposes of folding and/or rolling the meat, you will want to have it sliced fairly thin. You can ask your deli to slice it as they would a typical sandwich slice. It will be easiest to ask your deli to give you the slice amount rather than the weight you are looking for. For meat and cheese trays you will want ten slices of each kind of meat.
It is a good idea to separate the turkey and the roast beef on a deli platter. The roast beef is really dark and can discolor the turkey if it is sitting next to it.
When preparing the meat to be placed on the tray, you can either roll it or fold it. Rolling is great for when you are serving the meats on their own . If you are wanting to use the meat for your guests to make sandwiches, it if better to use the folding method. That way it is easier to pick up and place on the roll or bread. When folding, you just fold like an accordion, back and forth with about 1 1/2 folds.
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Add Meats Bread And Crackers
Next, add charcuterie to your cheese plate! I used soppressata, a basic deli salami, and prosciutto here.
You can add your meats a few different ways: In a simple stack , fanned out in a line or half-circle or by folding larger pieces into fun shapes .
For this cheese plate, I opted to fold our charcuterie pieces to help them take up less space since we had a lot to get onto the board.
I fold charcuterie meats a few different ways on cheese plates:
- Fold large, thin, circular pieces in half, and then in half again to make a triangle. Tuck the points of the triangles tight in between a large cheese and one of your bowls . I like to stack quite a few pieces this way and then fan it out. This is the technique we used for the soppressata in at the bottom of this cheese plate
- Fold large, thin, circular pieces in half, and then roll them to form a small cone. Tuck the points of the cones tight in between a cheese and a bowl to keep them in place . This is the technique we used for the deli salami on the far left side of the cheese plate.
- For thinner meats like prosciutto, simply hold each piece vertically above the cheese tray, then gently lower it down, twisting your hand a little bit as you go to help it develop some folds and stay in a small space. This is the technique we used for the prosciutto, slightly right of center on this cheese plate.
- If youre using sausage, cut the sausage on a bias and fan the pieces out in a row.
How To Build A Meat & Cheese Tray
Choose your cutting board.
I know. Ground-breaking information here.
But you want to take a look at how much food you have and pick your cutting board accordingly. You dont want to choose such a large cutting board that your food looks small.
You also dont want to pick such a small cutting board that your food is falling off the edges and your guests have no room to cut the cheese.
Leave some space around the edges to let that wood shine through. The wood tones complement the colors in the food so well!
I chose a round cutting board for my meat and cheese tray for a couple reasons:
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