4 Steps to Creating the Perfect Charcuterie Board
Cheese is our love language.
By Elyse Notariannni

One of Rachael Ginter’s signature holiday cheeseboards. Photo: DreamBoardsCo

A charcuterie board can elevate the mood of any party. Seriously. South Jersey’s Rachael Ginter, founder of @DreamBoardsCo, is a firm believer that even the prettiest food should be fun and accessible. She shares 4 easy steps to creating an effortless spread your guests will spend all night huddled around.

1. The cheese: “That’s the first thing we’re here for, right?” says Ginter. She recommends going with 3, and keeping them varied. “If you like funky flavors, check out the blues, the goats, and balance that out with a simple hard cheese, like a cheddar or manchego. You’re going to want to slice ahead of time and place around the plate to make it easy for people to grab. For a soft cheese, I definitely recommend a brie – it’s creamy and delicious. Place that toward the edge of the board because your guests will be cutting into it to serve themselves.”

2. The meat: Head over to the deli counter for some salami, prosciutto or pepperoni – cut thin. “You might have to ask them to cut some fresh if the pre-packaged ones aren’t right,” she says. But don’t just slap them on the board. “You want to at least fold them in half or even form them into a rose – which takes only a few seconds. You can find tutorials online,” Ginter adds. “Just make sure to leave your meat in the fridge until the last moment, because the colder it is, the easier it is to work with.”

3. The crackers: “This is contentious for some, but I’m a firm believer that the carbs go on the plate,” says Ginter. “It adds extra layers and textures, which makes the plate beautiful. You can do a heartier cracker that’s seeded, or if you have a cheese with a stronger flavor you can do a water cracker instead.” You’ll want them spaced out around the board in patterns, she adds, so don’t be afraid to create little cracker fans or curved lines to create the shape.

4. The extras: Now, she says, it’s time to fill in. “Any extra space can be filled with the stuff that gives it color – fruit (fresh or dried), jams, vegetables, fresh herbs, edible flowers – even decorative pine branches or cranberries to make it more seasonal.” Just consider color, she says – you don’t want a red strawberry next to a red pepperoni. “Mix it up, and keep adding until you can’t anymore. That’s what puts it over the top.”

December 2021
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