Charcuterie is all the rage – it’s a sophisticated French snack dominating headlines and food blogs worldwide. It’s not hard to see why; it looks glamorous, tastes great, and it’s fun to eat. A DIY charcuterie board is the perfect centerpiece for a dinner party, but it’s also a fancy treat for a cozy night in. It’s even better when the food is farm fresh, organic, local, or all three!
Charcuterie consists of preserved meats, soft and hard cheeses, fruits, nuts, and spreads. It is typically served on a chopping board for a bit of rustic flair, and accompanied by bread and crackers. Select your meat, your cheese, your spread, and anything else you’d like to add, pop it on a slice of baguette or a cracker, and enjoy! Each charcuterie board offers dozens of unique flavor combinations for a “snacktivity” everyone can enjoy.
Wondering how to assemble your own charcuterie board? No problem! It’s fun and easy to do.
Charcuterie literally means “cooked flesh”, but boards usually feature dried and salted meat. This can be hard sausage, preserved ham, cold cuts, and smoked goods. As a general rule, you want to have a few different meat options on your board. After all, it’s the point of the whole thing! Try for 3-4, with a variety of different tastes and textures. Stop by the Martindale’s meat cold case for inspiration, but here are some good places to start:
Applegate cold cuts
Applegate pepperoni and salami
Epic pork and venison bites
Kalahari biltong (air-dried, thinly sliced beef from South Africa)
Waterhill cold cuts
Spence and Co. smoked salmon
While the meats tend to headline charcuterie boards, they’re nothing without their opening act. Pairing your meats and cheeses is part of the fun of assembling a DIY charcuterie board, and there’s no shortage of choices at Martindale’s. As with the meat, you want a range of textures and flavors. Try to pick two hard cheeses and two soft. Of course, you can adjust this number to fit your needs! Give some of these beautiful local cheeses a try:
Lancaster Local garlic cheddar
Old Croc extra sharp cheddar
PA Noble cave-aged cheddar
Swiss Villa cave-aged bleu
Swiss Villa goat cheese curds
Vermont Creamery herb chèvre
Looking for vegan options? We have you covered. Adding a non-dairy cheese to your board helps change things up, and means vegans or folks who don’t eat dairy can enjoy some of your flavor sensations!
Field Roast chao cheese
Follow your Heart bleu cheese crumbles
Miyoko’s Creamery cashew soft cheese
Nuts for Cheese dairy-free cheese wedges
Breads and Crackers
You have your meat, you have your cheese; now you just something to put them on! Every morsel you assemble is a chance to try a new and yummy combination of flavors, so picking the right base is crucial. It’s the carbohydrate canvas for your masterpiece. We have plenty of choices when it comes to bread and crackers, including a wealth of gluten and grain-free options.
Absolutely Grain Free gluten-free baked flatbreads
Bob’s Red Mill oat crackers
Crunchmaster multiseed crackers
Dang Thai rice crisps
Firehook baked flatbreads
Granorolo cheese crisps
Mary’s Gone Crackers baked flatbreads
Wasa sourdough crackers
Fruit and Nuts
Fruit and nuts are a great way to add unexpected dimensions of taste and texture to your board. Start with the bread or cracker, add a piece of cheese and a piece of meat, and then top with a sprinkle of nuts or sliver of fruit. The result is a multi-layered bite that serenades the tastebuds with complex flavors. Both fresh and dried fruit are excellent. When it comes to nuts, feel free to experiment with flavored, whole, and chopped nuts.
Cosmic Crisp apples
Dried shiitake mushrooms
Sides and Spreads
Last but not least. Sides and spreads are another way to round out your board. They can be served directly on the board itself or nearby, offering guests yet another option while they’re fixing the next bite. Spreads and sides also offer a bit of moisture to the dry spread of a charcuterie board. Consider spreads like hummus, baba ganouj, or fruit preserve. Pickles are also a great shout. Whether it’s cucumber, olives, onions, or beet, the acidity will make an excellent counterpoint to rich meats and cheeses.
There you have it! Assembling (and eating) a DIY charcuterie board is a fun and relaxing way to spend an evening. You can put as much or as little effort into as you like – it will be delicious either way.