It’s holiday entertaining season and an autumn charcuterie board is our favorite way to feed party guests. Everybody loves them because there’s something for everyone and because, let’s face it, it’s fun to be able to choose from a big array of food options. From our perspective, it’s much less work than a formal meal and 100% of it is done before the guests arrive so you can relax with a cocktail and be a guest at your own party. And if you needed any more good reasons, almost all the items on the board are store bought.
If you’ve wondered what the difference is between a cheese board and a charcuterie board, usually charcuterie includes some type of meat. We’re not sticklers for rules, though. We just like an appealing selection of finger foods.
But the cheese is important and expected and completely delicious so let’s start there. The general rule of thumb is that you should offer at least 3 types, one soft or semi-soft, one hard and one sharp. Obviously you can offer a bigger variety and, if you do, we’re definitely coming to your party. For the semi-soft we chose a brie which has a lovely creamy texture. If you really want to be extra, choose a double or triple cream brie. Our sharp selection was a wedge of gorgonzola although we also have great love for Roquefort. We spent the most amount of time on the hard cheese because we didn’t want to just go for a standard cheddar, however much we love cheddar.
Here’s where you can have some fun. Take yourself to a cheese store or any gourmet store with a big cheese counter and tell them you’re putting together a charcuterie board. They will offer a ton of suggestions and are always happy to give you a taste of everything. For this board, the lovely man at the cheese counter suggested an aged gouda and offered a taste. Wow is all we can say. Very different from the smoked gouda we’re used to and a wonderful crumbly texture. We’ll be getting that one again for sure.
An important tip about serving cheese is that you need to “start” it on the board. People will hesitate to cut into a pristine wedge of cheese so make the first cuts for them and they’ll dig in.
But hands down, the most popular item at any party we’ve ever thrown is a big bowl of popcorn. It’s the first thing guests reach for while they study the other options. And there are never any leftovers.
Choose a large serving board so that guests can see all the options and easily reach what they want. Slice and open the fruit just before serving, "start" the cheeses and roll the salami for a nicer presentation. Set out napkins and small plates so that people can take a few things at a time and not have to keep reaching into the board. Provide cutlery such as knives to slice and spread the cheeses.
If you have room, set out multiple bowls of popcorn in different places around the table or room.
As the host, do be the first to reach for something on the board so that your guests don't feel shy about digging into the food. Enjoy and store any leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.
Share your creations with us on Instagram! You can find our Instagram account here – or tag you creation with #dellcovespices and we would love to give you a shout-out!