How to Stock a Party-Perfect Charcuterie + Cheese Board

‘Charcuterie’ is a French term that’s derived from the words for cooked (‘cuit’) and flesh (‘chair’) and refers to cured meats that can be served cold. A well-stocked charcuterie board makes entertaining easy – just pile it high with deliciousness, then let guests help themselves while you mix, mingle and enjoy the party without worrying about preparing or serving food.  

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Entertaining Made Easy

Any seasoned host will tell you that selecting food to appeal to a wide variety of palates can be tricky. Enter a charcuterie and cheese board: With a mix of cheeses, meats, nuts, fruit and bread, it's an easy way to put out a savory-meets-sweet spread that has a little bit of something for everyone.

For the Charcuterie, We Chose

Salami (top left): Heavily seasoned pork with a characteristic fermented flavor and dense texture. Top a chunk of baguette with salami sliced thin, spicy mustard and a cornichon for a savory bite of awesomeness.

Soppressata (top right): an Italian dry salami with a spicy flavor similar to pepperoni. Pair it with sharp cheddar for added bite.

Pâté (bottom right): Decadent and creamy, pâté is ground poultry, beef, seafood or vegetables combined with spices and fat to form a spreadable paste. Use it to top toasted bread rounds or fresh baguette, then pile on other sweet or savory toppings like fresh fruit or a cornichon.

Prosciutto di Parma (bottom left): Dry cured ham with a sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with fruit or tart cheeses.

Add Flavorful Accompaniments

Other traditional accompaniments are salty cornichons (mini French pickles), coarse-ground mustard and assorted nuts (like pistachios, almonds and cashews) for crunch. 

Bring On the Baguettes

Warm-from-the-oven baguettes are a perfect partner to slices of the cold meats. Place a bread knife nearby or allow guests to break off crusty chunks. 

But, It's Not All About the Meat

Partygoers can’t live on cured meats alone, adding a selection of cheeses, fruit and nuts to your charcuterie board will ensure that vegetarians can happily nibble as well. 

For the Cheeses, We Chose

Chevre (top left): Made from goat’s milk, this oh-so-creamy cheese is mild and slightly sweet and is irresistible when drizzled with honey. Spread liberally on a chunk of warm baguette and top with honey or fresh fruit for a crunchy-meets-creamy winning combo.

Mimolette (top right): With a bright orange flesh and tough, tan rind, this sweet and nutty cheese resembles cantaloupe but the flavor is more like a great cheddar. Pair it with sweet or savory toppings.

Bleu (bottom right): The perfect balance of creamy and tangy, spread bleu cheese on crostini and top with dried fruit for a sweet-meets-savory mouthful.

Manchego (bottom middle): A firm Spanish cheese, made from sheep’s milk, with a flavor that becomes richer the longer it’s aged.

Aged Cheddar (bottom left): A perennial favorite, this tangy cheese pairs equally well with spicy meats, like salami or soppressata, or fresh or dried fruit.

Don't Forget the Flowers

What would a party table be without a centerpiece? For ours, we filled a vintage glass canister with a variety of flowers and greenery including ornamental cabbage. 

Make the Drinks Self-Serve, Too

Partygoers are certain to get thirsty so set up a beverage station nearby so guests can pair their nibbles with a glass of their favorite vintage. 

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