Learn how to make the best charcuterie and cheese platter if you want to make the most delicious party appetizer or… the most romantic dinner.
‘Winter is coming’, but it’s not as dreadful as the one John Snow is facing. Oh no, none of that. Ours is cheerful, filled with holidays, parties and loads of delicious comfort food.
So winter is coming and I couldn’t be happier!
Now, if you’re like me, you’re so eager for the holidays that you’ve probably started planning your holiday meals already.
Questions like ‘what to cook for Thanksgiving or Christmas?’ have probably made their way into your heads by now, right?
So let me help with that. After all, that’s what I am here for.
I am going to show you how to make the best charcuterie and cheese board for any special occasion, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, an anniversary or a romantic dinner.
This is by far the best appetizer you could ever treat your guests with, but really, it’s a heck of a main too.
Making a charcuterie and cheese board is fairly easy but there are a few things you need to know beforehand. Like what to include on a cheese board, how to assemble everything or what kind of charcuterie and cheese to choose.
I will tell you all of this and more in the Tips & Tricks below. So let’s not waste any more time ’cause you know, ‘winter is coming’…. and we still don’t know what to serve for Thanksgiving, not to mention Christmas.
More holiday recipes:
- Whole Roasted Chicken And Veggies
- One-Pan Mozzarella Chicken In Tomato Sauce
- One-Pot Bruschetta Chicken Pasta
How to make the best charcuterie and cheese platter for the holidays – Tips & Tricks
1. Find out exactly how large your party is
The first thing you must do is to find out exactly how many people will attend your party. You don’t want to make the cheese platter too light and have everybody begging for more, but you also don’t want to stuff them up because they also need to have turkey, right?
Also, you don’t want to break the bank, do you? Because some of the most delicious cheeses and charcuterie don’t exactly sell for pennies.
Knowing the exact number of people is extremely helpful when buying the ingredients and making the right serving size.
As a general rule of thumb, you need about 2.5 oz (70g) of cheese per person. Same thing for the meats.
The amount of accompaniments is up to you and it depends on whether you want to serve the charcuterie and cheese board as an appetizer or as a main.
2. Get a nice cheese board
You could assemble the cheese and charcuterie on a simple platter and it will taste the same, but let’s face it. If it’s a special occasion, the setup matters just as much as the taste.
So if you want to make a cheese platter look great, then you need to pick a nice cheese board. And there are plenty of models to choose from, for all types of budgets.
Here are some of the most popular:
And here’s a piece of advice that will save you a few bucks. If you have some really nice cutting boards in your kitchen, you can use those.
If your budget allows, get a large cheese board on which you can assemble everything and a few marble slabs which people can use to serve themselves.
Whatever you do, please don’t just throw a few pieces of cheese on a simple platter and serve it for the holidays.
After all, you only need to put just a little thought and creativity to make the best charcuterie and cheese board and impress everybody.
Now that we’ve decided on which board to use, it’s time to see which kind of cheese to go for.
3. What are the best cheeses for a cheese platter
The cheese on the platter is as important as the setup. Usually, your taste and budget make the decision for you but when you make a cheese platter for a party, you need to keep in mind that tastes can vary.
So you’ll need to have a bit of everything and what I mean is that you need to think about texture, the type of milk it’s made of and the aging process.
You’ll need some mild, medium and strong cheese to create a perfect balance of flavors and keep everybody happy. Here’s a classification based on different types of flavor:
- Brie (Soft & Creamy texture)
- Cheddar (Soft and smooth texture) – this type ranges from mild to strong depending on how long it was aged
- Cottage Cheese (Creamy texture)
- Feta (Creamy to crumbly)
- Gouda – from mild to strong depending on how long it was aged
- Gruyère – from mild to strong depending on how long it was aged
- Mascarpone (soft & Creamy)
- Mozzarella (Soft & Chewy)
- Wensleydale (Moist & Crumbly)
- Camembert (soft, creamy texture)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) – Hard and crumbly texture, it can vary from medium to strong depending on age
- Cheddar that was aged for at least 18 months – Sharp and powerful flavor (semi-hard texture)
- Gouda aged for at least 7 months (semi-hard texture)
- Aged Gruyère (hard and firm)
- Parmesan (semi-hard to hard, depending on age)
- Pecorino Romano (hard)
- Roquefort (semi-hard, crumbly)
- Gorgonzola (creamy to crumbly)
- Gouda if it’s aged between 10 weeks and 8 months
I could speak for hours about cheese as this is one of my favorite ingredients. Actually, I love it so much that I am putting together an ebook just with cheese recipes.
But I can’t wait to show you how to make a cheese platter for the holidays, so if you want to know more about the cheeses outlined above, you should read this article from Nutrition Advance. They speak about the nutritional content of each type, its origins and the aging process.
Now it’s time to move on and see which kind of charcuterie goes on a cheese platter.
4. What charcuterie goes on a cheese board
There are many types of charcuterie that go with cheese, but ultimately it all depends on which one is more accessible to you (and your budget of course).
Sure, we would all love to make our charcuterie platter with Jamon Iberico De Bellota or maybe with French pistachio Saucisson.
But that’s not always accessible, isn’t it?
So the best alternative is to head over to your nearest grocery store or deli and see what their selection of cured meats is.
Some of the most popular are:
- Parma ham
- Different kinds of deli meats (like turkey or ham)
- Smoked meats
- Jamon Serrano
Again, you’ll want to cater to all tastes if you’re having a party, so it’s best to get a varied selection instead of just your favorite.
If you’re lucky enough to have a French deli nearby, I recommend pistachio and figs saucisson. If you know a Spanish deli then you must try their Jamon Iberico.
Make sure you know the most popular cured meats before making a decision.
But remember to keep a balance between cheese and charcuterie. After all, taste balance means perfection when it comes to food.
Now let’s see what else to include on a cheese board.
5. Accompaniments for charcuterie and cheese platter
The extra nibbles will bring tons of flavor and texture to our charcuterie and cheese platter. The possibilities are vast here but there are a few basics you need to be aware of.
First of all, you need something a little acid to go with all that fat from the cheese and meat. Think about pickles, marinated olives and chutneys.
And here are some ideas:
Pickles: cornichons, capers, cabbage
Olives: Kalamata, Spanish olives, Noccelara, Picholine
Chutneys made of mint, onion, apples, pears, tomatoes.
Second, you need freshness, like fruits or veggies: apples, pears, grapes, carrots, celery
Third, you need some crunchy texture to create the perfect balance, like crackers, roasted nuts or slices of crusty baguette.
And last, but not least, you need some sweetness. So if you want to make the best charcuterie and cheese platter, you need to add some dried fruits as well. They are flavorful, textured and have just the right amount of sweetness.
Furthermore, you can add honey, fig jam or other sweet preserves.
We’re almost there now, I just have one more point to touch.
6. What cheese knives to use
Using cheese knives is optional but helpful. I am aware that not everybody has cheese knives in their cutlery set, and in this case, you can use any thin knife you have available.
But if you are going to buy a new cheese board make sure it’s one with a knife set.
They come in particularly handy when cutting hard and semi-hard cheese and you can also use them to spread the soft cheese on crackers.
They are useful accessories for any charcuterie and cheese platter, not to mention they look super cool.
Here is a list of all types of cheese knives and how to choose one according to your needs.
And the last tip for today is make sure your charcuterie and cheese platter is full and diversified. There’s nothing worse than seeing a plate with just a few slices of cheese and 3 crackers on it.
But what am I saying, if you’re reading this it means you are foodies who pay attention to detail and there’s no need to worry about that.
And if you’ve got to this part of the page, you now know how to make the best charcuterie and cheese board for the holidays.
So put what you’ve learned into practice, make it and then snap a shot and post it on Instagram using the tag @theblondelish and hashtag #blondelish.
And if you like this recipe video and want to see more, please Subscribe to my YouTube Channel.
How To Make A Charcuterie And Cheese Platter
2.5 oz. / 70g per person Cheese mix:
- Aged Cheddar or Gouda, Gruyère, Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, Manchego, Abondance, Hard goat cheese
- Brie, Camembert, Herb coated goat cheese
- Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Danish Blue, Devon Blue
- Prosciutto, Bresaola, Jamon Iberico, Chorizo, Saucisson, Pancetta, Soppressata
- ham turkey, roast beef, or chicken
- 2-3 varieties of crackers: plain, whole grain, oatmeal, sesame, cheese crackers
- Fresh fruits: apples, pear, figs, berries
- apricots, dates, figs, apples, cranberries
2-3 types of nuts:
- walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashew, pistachio
- cornichons, baby carrots, radishes, cauliflower
- green, black, kalamata, stuffed olives
Chutneys, mustards, jams or preserves:
- Mango, pear, apple, plum, green