By Chef Amanda DeLaura
David asked me to build a tutorial on how to build a grazing / charcuterie board and I was thrilled by the proposition! More than once I’ve joked about quitting my full-time cheffing job and just selling charcuterie boards on the side. Is it too late? I guess we’ll find out…
There are several principles to consider when building your board.
- You should always consider the cheese as the foundation of your board. Depending on the size of your party (or family) you’ll want three to five cheeses that vary in taste, texture and age. I always choose a soft cheese (something similar to Brie), a hard cheese (something like a well-aged goat cheese or pecorino Romano), and something with a little more zing/flavor (like smoked gouda, dill Havarti, or bleu du Mazet).
- Once I’ve chosen my glorious cheeses, I fill my board to the edges with as many varied fixings and nibbles I have on hand, my favorites including roasted or raw nuts (avoid candied nuts to reduce sugar intake), fresh and dried fruit (again avoid dried fruit with added sugars or sulfur, sorry no orange apricots for you), pickles or cornichons, olives, preserved meats, crudite and anything else you’d like. For seasonal fruits this time of year, I adore fresh pomegranates and clementines - together, they create a gorgeous dynamic.
- A picture is worth 10,000 words: my favorite way to create a beautiful board is to be sure to use fruit that adds color and to use fresh herbs. Not only do herbs increase the “beauty” of the board, but they also make your kitchen or dining room smell gorgeous with the fresh scent of sage, rosemary, thyme, dill, or basil. All or any fresh herbs will do.
- Last but not least a board is incomplete without some form of cracker, bread or “vessel” for your cheese. And no, it doesn’t have to be a Ritz cracker. Think creatively. Maybe some Almond Mill’s crackers if you’re keto, gluten-free bread, seed-bread sliced thin, a homemade loaf of spelt bread, a French baguette or even some sliced apples and cucumbers. Apples and cheese are one of my favorites, undervalued combos and will always remind me of my Mom.
If you have questions, holler!
Better ideas? I’d love to hear them.
Reach me on Instagram at @chefdelaura.
xoxo & bon appétit!