When preparing your grocery list for your next charcuterie board, it can feel overwhelming trying to remember everything that you need to buy for your board. There truly is no way to go wrong with charcuterie, but we want to walk alongside you today to help give you some helpful tips on all of our favorite charcuterie board options. From cheeses to chocolates, there are so many yummy options, and you can purchase all of these in a cost effective way so that you don’t break the bank!
For a complete shopping list and self-paced tutorial for building your next charcuterie board, visit our online course – Charcuterie Made Simple by clicking HERE! This course will help you feel comfortable and confident to build your next charcuterie board & wow your guests!
Let’s dive right in with my personal favorite – CHEESE!
It is commonly said that a good cheese board has at least three different kinds of cheese milks on it- cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, and goat’s milk. I know – it sounds weird, milk from a sheep, but I promise there are some great sheep’s milk options to include on your board – my personal favorite being Manchego. Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese that originated in Spain and is a fan favorite across all of our boards today. Its rind makes it very distinctive, and it has a smooth taste to it!
For our goat’s milk, I like to include options like Chevre, Blueberry Vanilla Goat Cheese, or Honey Goat. Each has a unique flavor, and some even have fun, vibrant colors that add a whole new element to your charcuterie board!
There are countless great cows milk options like Brie, Bellavitano, Double Gloucester, Gorgonzola, Dubliner, etc! Most guests are more familiar with a wider variety of cow’s milk cheeses, so there really is no way to go wrong.
If you want some ideas of fun unique cheeses to try, make sure to check out our blog post “7 Must-Try Cheeses from Trader Joes” HERE.
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Jams & Mustards
My personal favorite jam pairing for a charcuterie board is definitely spicy or peppered jam! It adds a whole new flavor to the board & pepper jams pair so well with all of the cheeses & meats! There are also some great sweet jams that also make a great pairing, some of my personal favorites are mixed berry, strawberry-cranberry, and pomegranate! Really any fruit jam is my fav! Seasonally, Trader Joe’s carries a sweet-pepper jelly, that one is guaranteed to be a fan favorite!
I know I have some big mustard fans out there and there truly are so many great mustard options! I always include a Garlic Aioli Mustard from Trader Joe’s, and then I also like to iclude a Honey or Dijon Mustard on my grazing tables!
Now onto the charcuterie! In case you didn’t know, charcuterie is the french word for prepared meats, like salami, prosciutto, etc!
On all of my boards, I like to include basic meats that I know are going to be fan favorites (even for ny pickiest guests!) Salami or Pepperoni are a great option for this! I also look for fun, unique meats that guests may not typically try, like Soprasetta, Dry Coppa, Prosciutto, Peppered Salami, etc! There are many great meat options out there, so I urge you to try them all so that you can find your favorite!
Let’s Get to the Good Stuff: Breads & Crackers
Depending on the size of the board, I always include plain water crackers to my boards because it pairs well with all of the meats and cheeses! If I am building a grazing table, then I will typically go out and find some other flavored crackers to add to the board as well! For example, some other great flavored crackers include vegetable herbs, cracked pepper, whole wheat, etc. A classic french baguette is a great pairing for any charcuterie or cheeseboard! I typically slice my baguette into thin slices and place it throughout the board in various spots.
Time to add some VEGGIES!
Adding vegetables to your grazing table is not only beneficial for the added vibrant color, but it helps balance out all of the food options on our board! All of the meats and cheese that we include are very rich in flavor, so having light fruits and vegetables helps balance out all of the flavors! As for vegetables, I like to include english cucumbers for their bright green color – which adds SO MUCH to a board, especially when all of your meats and cheeses are red, white, orange, etc! I slice up the cucumber into thin slices and place them in various spots throughout the board, breaking up all of the concentrated neutral colors throughout the board.
Other great vegetable options are bell peppers. I typically include orange or yellow peppers, rather than red, because the yellow and orange bell peppers pop and stand out more than red peppers do! Other great options for veggies are tomatoes, and I love to include the mixed tomato medley that includes a variety of green, orange, yellow, and red tomatoes! This adds so much color and unique flavor to your charcuterie board!
If you are building a larger grazing table and want to include even more vegetables options (which is a great option, especially if you have vegetarian/vegan guests at your event) you can also incorporate cauliflower, broccoli, or jicama!
Time to add our fruit!
When adding our fruit options, we want to add it to our board in order by size – so I always start with small bunches of grapes. To help with balancing the colors on the board, I almost always include green grapes on my boards (the green grapes do the same thing as the cucumbers, they help add a bright, vibrant color to the board!) If you prefer red or black grapes, then obviously, it’s YOUR board, you choose what you want on there! Next, I typically add either raspberries or strawberries to add a pink/red color to the board, then I will add blackberries, and then top off the board with blueberries! Adding fresh fruit and berries adds a light flavor to the board and helps in balancing all of the diverse flavors on a charcuterie board!
Onto the garnishes!
Garnishes serve the main purpose of filling in any little gaps or spots throughout the board! Some great garnish ideas include: roasted almonds, turkish dried apricots, dried cranberries, chocolate covered almonds, or white chocolate pretzels! There are so many great options, so next time you see some nuts, dried fruit, or a sweet treat you want to include on your board, don’t hesitate to try it out!
For a complete, step-by-step tutorial of how to build traditional charcuterie boards, brunch boards, and grazing tables check out our online, self-paced class Charcuterie Made Simple! For only $39 you can access all of our video courses, shopping lists, portion guides, and other valuable resources!