Learn how to assemble a stunning cheese and charcuterie board from start to finish with these simple step by step instructions.
I know this cheese and charcuterie board tutorial is slightly different than our regular cake and baking content. Still, if you can make a beautiful cake, you are also capable of making an epic cheese board! It’s perfect for holidays, ladies’ nights, or everyday entertaining. Charcuterie boards are a fun, versatile, delicious addition to any gathering! There’s usually something on a cheese board that everyone will enjoy!
Fun fact one of the last jobs I’ve had before going all-in on my business was when I was working as a Fromager (aka Cheesemonger) in Beverly Hills. I learned so much about gourmet foods from all over the world – cheeses, specialty cured meats, caviar, exotic chocolates, wine, and so many other items that are decadent and delicious.
It was this job where I learned the art of putting together a cheese and charcuterie board that is visually stunning but always tasty and is quickly devoured.
You can use the same techniques and category to make small cheese boards go or an impressive jaw-dropping grazing board that’s the length of your kitchen island!
Throughout, I’ll teach you step by step how to choose the right cheeses, perfect meats that compliment your beverage choices, and accompaniments that make the cheeses and meats shine.
I’ve written out a list of categories we need to get started, like Cheese, Cured Meats, and Accoutrements, followed by a list of tools we need to make serving a breeze!
You can choose to make an all-cheese board or an all-meat board, but you’ll know exactly how to the grazing board of your dreams through this tutorial.
For gourmet cheeses, you’ll find some info on the label like the name of the cheese (Humboldt Fog, Drunken Goat, Midnight Moon, and Parmesan di Parma), what type of milk was used (like cow, sheep, or goat), style of cheese (like soft brie, blue, cheddar, gouda) and facts like where it’s from, the age of the cheese and more.
You might be knowing why it’s essential to know where the cheese is from, but this can be helpful, for example, when you are planning a menu or pairing wine. A general rule of thumb is if you know where the region of wine is, you can be confident that the same area of cheese would pair nicely together.
Reading the label will give you a lot of information, so be sure to give that a look or ask a Cheesemonger for help.
Cheesemongers can help you cut cheeses that are too big or give you a taste before you buy and give you recommendations for pairing the wine you are serving.
Fun facts about cheese:
- Those who are lactose intolerant have a difficult time digesting cow milk cheese. I recommend serving sheep or goat milk cheeses as they are easily digested and freaking delicious.
- The white part of soft brie cheese is a type of mold that you can eat. The mold is a natural rind that helps protect the cheese as it ripens on the inside.
- Aged cheeses have crispy bits that are developed salt crystals from the aging process. It gives the cheese texture and different levels of savory notes. Aged cheeses also are a shade darker in color from aging.
- The best way to store opened cheeses is in cheese paper. Cheese paper is a layer of plastic wrap inside a layer of wax or parchment paper. This is the paper that Cheesemonger will wrap freshly cut pieces of cheese. You can also buy cheese paper in the grocery store’s cheese section or a specialty cheese shop.
- When you cheese molds in the refrigerator like on a block of cheddar, most people get nervous and through it out. However, you can use a sharp knife to gently scrape off the mold layer or carefully cut it away to reveal edible cheese once again.
- Semi-firm or hard cheese often have inedible rinds that keep the cheese protected in the aging and delivery process. Some rinds are made with bark, some wax, and some powdery or funky. However, when cutting those semi-firm or hard cheeses, you can choose to leave the rind on or cut it off. I recommend leaving the rind on to make it easy to identify each cheese.
Milk for Cheese:
- Cow Milk: has a mild, neutral flavor and a more cohesive protein structure that makes it popular for cheesemaking. Goat cheese tends to be softer and tangier than cow’s milk cheese.
- Goat Milk: are tart, with a soft, almost spreadable texture. Goats’ cheese is intense in its youth, providing earthy and tangy nuances that sharply sweep the palate.
- Sheep Milk Cheeses: are most often described as gamey, but they can feature a range of flavor undertones, from milky and sweet to vegetal, tangy, and nutty.
3-5 Kinds of Cheese
- Brie, Double Creme Brie
- Goat Cheese, Feta, Humboldt Fog
- Gouda, Gyreue, Cheddar
- Aged Cheddar
- Aged Gouda
- Pungent or Funky
- Blue cheese
- Truffle cheese
For gourmet meats, you’ll find it interesting that knowing where the meat is from can be helpful, for example, when planning a menu or pairing wine. A general rule of thumb is if you know where the region of wine is, you can be confident that the same cured meat region would pair nicely together. For example, French wine will taste well with french cheeses and cured meats.
Reading the label will give you a lot of information, so be sure to give that a look or ask a cheesemonger for help.
Cheesemongers can help you cut, slice, and prepare that are maybe too big or give you a taste before you buy and give you recommendations for pairing the wine you are serving.
Fun facts about Cured Meats:
- The white stuff on that salami is a kind of mold that you can eat. There is a casing underneath.
- If you’re getting sliced Genoa, Hard salami, or dried sausage, it will either have been peeled already or have a casing skin on it if it’s still whole. For the most part, many times, you do not need to peel. However, it’s always good to check.
- There are many different types like the variety of pate, whether its course or smoothly ground, has nuts or spices added for pate. For serving, all you need is a butter knife so the pate can be enjoyed easily.
2-3 Kinds of Cured Meats
- Salty & Savory
- Prosciutto di Parma
- Jamon Serrano
- Sweet & Savory
- Soppressata Salami
- Finocchiona (Fennel) Salami
- Spicy & Peppery
- Game or Exotic
- Duck Sausage
- Duck Salami
- Wild Boar Sausage
- Smoked Fish
Accompaniments for the Cheese & Meats
- Fresh fruit
- Dried fruit
- Mustard (Stoneground, Hot)
Garnish for Both
- Fresh bread like ciabatta, focaccia, baguette
- Crackers 2-3 different types
- Flavored butter
- Hummus or Dip
- Fresh Vegetables
- Fresh herbs
- Bonus: Chocolates, cookies, sweet treats, etc.
Tools You May Need
- Display board (cutting board, marble slab, wooden board, or butcher paper on a countertop)
- Cheese knives
- Small spoons
- Honey dipping stick
- Serving tongs
Here’s how to assemble a cheese and charcuterie board!
Let’s Get Started!
- First, pick a few items from each category, mix and match the cheeses like- milk types, regions, styles, etc. Choose a few types of cured meats as well.
- Next, based on the cheese and meat choices you made, think about the accouterments that would complete the board.
- Prepare the cheeses by cutting semi-firm and hard cheese into slices, cubes, wedges, or chunks to make them easy to eat. Then leave soft or semi-soft cheeses whole, so they keep their structure when they come up to room temperature.
- Place the cheeses onto the board. Start by using the corners spreading the cheeses out.
- Cut, roll, stack, or fold the cured meat. Leave soft meats like pate in whole pieces since they are easy to cut into and spread onto bread or crackers. Add the cured meats around the board, keeping them spread out the best you can.
- Start to fill in the gaps with accouterments. Add the largest fruit like a bunch of grapes, pomegranates, citrus along with small bowls filled with jams, honey, mustard, olives, pickles, or any savory dip you want.
- The fuller the board looks, the better, so fill in any gaps with nuts, dried fruit, crackers, bread, herbs, veggies, and so much more. By packing in all the delicious goodness, the board looks enticing and almost too beautiful to eat.
- Add serving utensils like cheese knives, small spoons, honey dipping sticks, etc., to complete the board.
- Finally, serve the cheese board at room temperature and enjoy!
- You can make a cheese board ahead of time, carefully wrap the board in plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before enjoying.
- Below I’ve attached an image of how much cheese or meat you need to feed any number of guests.
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- Homemade Focaccia Bread
- Panzanella Caprese Salad
- 17 Garden Party Recipes That Are Light and Refreshing
- Sweet & Tart Rosemary Vanilla Lemonade
The best part about learning how to make an epic cheese and charcuterie board is to make one for an intimate dinner, party for 30, or a holiday celebration. You can choose to make an all cheese board or all meat, and it’ll be delicious!
I’m so excited to see your cheese and charcuterie board creations. Please feel free to email me here at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have; I’ll be happy to help!
Watch The How-to Video Below: