Here's how to make the perfect charcuterie board this festive season
Top charcuterie tips
With the festive party season just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to create a charcuterie board.
Accompany your favourite cheeses with sweet or savoury treats to maximise flavour and aesthetic.
Over the past 12 months, search terms for ‘charcuterie board ideas’ have seen an increase of 222 per cent and with the festive season just around the corner, what better way is there to impress your guests than with a mouth-watering food board?
Experts at VonHaus have shared their tips on how to make the perfect charcuterie board, complete with which chutneys, wines and accompaniments.
What you need for a charcuterie board
1 - A serving board, tray or slates
2 - Plenty of knives for cutting the cheeses
3 - Small serving or dipping bowls for chutneys and jams
4 - Small plates for guests to use
5 - How to make a charcuterie board
Building your board is fun and there is no wrong way to display your food art.
For a fun festive activity, include the entire family when creating your board to make sure everyone’s favourite cheeses and snacks are featured. Here are VonHaus’ top tips for making the perfect board:
Cheese – Start with the cheeses as the foundation of your board, laying them out alongside knives for slicing or spreading.
Chutneys – For your jams, chutneys and tapenades, place the jars or little bowls close to the cheese they best pair with. For honey, place it in one corner with a serving spoon to help prevent it from getting drizzled across everything.
Meats – Meats should be easily folded and arranged to save space. Try folding your meats into triangles or get creative making flowers and roses for cute features.
Olives – Place all the olives into a bowl with toothpicks for easy serving and snacking.
Accompaniments – For bread and crackers, create little rivers or paths across the board to separate different
cheeses and sections. Then use anything else like nuts, fruit and veg to fill gaps and add colour and decoration.
Wine – Let your guests serve their own wine, but you could make little labels to suggest pairings. You can also make an array of mocktails which align with the palette of your cheeses.
What to pair with soft cheeses:
Brie is a firm favourite and it’s easy to understand why. The creamy cheese is best paired with sweeter flavours such as jam or honey. Spread this cheese and other softer cheeses onto a thick, crusty bread for the best bite.
Chutneys – Cranberry jam, honey, fig
Accompaniments – Candied nuts, fresh fruit like apples or figs
Wine – Chardonnay, or a crisp fruity white wine
Like brie, this soft cheese is perfectly matched with sweeter flavours. The taste of camembert is enhanced when baked and adds variation in temperature and texture.
Score the top of your cheese, add garlic, rosemary and honey and bake for 10-20 minutes. Dip your favourite crusty bread into this oozingly delicious savoury treat.
Chutneys – Honey, sweet and slightly spiced fruit jams
Accompaniments – Crusty bread, crunch fruit and veg, fresh rosemary
Wine – Chardonnay or a rich apple cider if wine isn’t your thing
Mozzarella & Burrata
Although cheese can be quite a dense food, mozzarella and burrata are fresh and light. Best paired with savoury accompaniments including chilli, meats and olive oil – mozzarella is best eaten as a small snack which you can quickly marinate for even quicker flavour.
With burrata, you can’t go wrong with adding rocket, or for those looking to expand their palette, pair this cheese with melon or prosciutto.
Chutneys – A savoury oil like basil or chilli
Accompaniments – Meats, olives
Wine – Sauvignon Blanc or a citrusy white wine
What to pair with hard cheeses:
Cheddar is the most versatile cheese and can be matched with both sweet and savoury pairings. For those with a sweet tooth, accompany this cheese with fresh apple, fruit jams or honey.
For those with a savoury palate cured meats or olives will amplify the flavour.
Chutneys – Caramelized onion chutney, honey
Accompaniments – Cured meats, olives, dried apricots, grapes, fresh apple
Wine – Malbec or a rich chocolatey red wine to subdue the sharp taste
Parmesan or pecorino romano
These two salty cheeses make for easy pairing. Slice these cheeses thinly across a cracker. Both can be perfectly matched with olives, salami or pickles.
Chutneys – Pickles
Accompaniments – Cured meats, olives, cornichons
Wine – Anything from a pinot noir to a bubbly prosecco – strong cheeses deserve a strong drink.
This Spanish cheese is beautifully nutty and therefore pairs up perfectly with savoury, rich and oily accompaniments. Add roasted peppers, tapenades and salty olives for your guests who love savoury flavours.
Chutneys – Olive, tomato tapenades, chutneys
Accompaniments – Roasted peppers, olives, prawns, sundried tomatoes
Wine – Pinot noir or a malty beer like a brown ale
What to pair with blue cheese:
Blue cheese is full of flavour and adds contrast and texture to your board. Paired with the perfect wine and sides, this can become an instant favourite.
Black olives, honey and cured meats are one way you can match the strong flavour of the cheese.
On the other hand, you can pair blue cheese with cucumbers, apples, or grapes. Both approaches can be placed on top of a whole grain cracker or crusty bread.
Chutneys – Honey, fig jam, tapenades
Accompaniments – Cucumber, apricots, apples, olives, almonds, pecans
Wine – Any red wine or a sparkling prosecco or champagne for a fresher option.
For more charcuterie board inspiration, visit: https://www.vonhaus.com/vh_en/blog/how-to-make-the-perfect-charcuterie-board--cheese-pairings.html