How to build a grazing board full of charcuterie, cheeses and accoutrements to satisfy anyone in the party!
I make grazing boards all the time, for an easy dinner, or party food. Depending on what you buy and how much you buy, the price can vary drastically. The best part about it is the ability to mix and match with whatever you have on hand, or can afford.
I will talk you through the pictures that I have for a board I made a few months ago, and then provide a big master list of items. The recipe card will just break it down easily for when you’re at the store or checking to see what you have on hand.
First: Let’s talk meats.
Cured meats are the bomb. Some of them are probably in my top favorite foods, although my top 4 is pretty solid (chocolate, cheese, ice cream, popcorn). I love the thinly sliced cured meats like prosciutto, but you can use any type of meat you want. In the grocery store nowadays, you can find little kits that have 3 or 4 different meats in them, and that’s a good place to start.
In the pictures you see, I included a smoked sausage, prosciutto, salami, and capocolla. My all-time favorite cured pork is jamon Iberico, from Spain. Not positive you can get it in the US, so you’ll have to settle for Serrano, which is similar. Country ham is also a similar American-made alternative for these thin, fatty imported meats. If you’d like beef options, look for (kind of hard to find) bresaola, or even beef jerky or roast beef deli cuts would be great!
Second, let’s talk about the true stars: Cheese.
A “typical” cheese plate is going to have a combination of different cheese textures, but you can customize to whatever you want. At the minimum, one hard, one soft, and one “unique” cheese is my go-to mix. Hard cheeses are things like aged cheddar, parmesan, and gruyere. Soft cheeses are spreadable, and often have soft rinds, like brie or camembert. In the middle are “semi-soft” cheeses, which is where your common cheddars, gouda, and mozzarella are at.
I call them “unique” cheeses, but basically I put anything in this category that is non-cow’s milk that might be interesting for people, and might require an acquired taste. This includes goat cheese, feta, and blue cheese. Blue cheese can range from hard to creamy, so it will depend on what you want and what the rest of your plate is shaping up like to determine what direction you want to go with those. This is also a great category to include a vegan cheese spread, in case you have lactose intolerant guests. I made one at Christmas and was able to find an herbed cashew cheese spread that was very tasty.In the photographed tray, I chose a flavored brie (kind of on accident), and a fruit goat cheese, as well as an aged cheddar.
I know that’s kind of rude. But hey. We all know that the breads exist SOLELY for the purpose of shoveling the good parts into the mouth. Other accoutrements can vary widely and I encourage you to try many out! Fresh and dried fruits, nuts, spreads, honey, mustard, pickles, and olives will all pair with different cheeses in different ways. I personally love a spiced nut (like pecans) with honey and blue cheese. All of them will match something in your repertoire, so it is fun to try things out and see what gives you a good mouthfeel and flavor combo.
In the photographed grazing board, I had some cherry habanero jam, whole grain mustard, candied pecans, roasted salted almonds, melba toasts, dried apricots and wheat thins. I was missing a fresh fruit here! Good choices are firm pears, apples, or grapes.
I know they’ve gotten pretty trendy…have you made a grazing board yet? Last year was the year of the cheese for me. We collaborated on one in the summer before J’s brother and sister-in-law moved away, I made an intense one at Thanksgiving for J’s family, and made one that took up an entire table at Christmas for my (very large) family. I’m just now getting back into them again. I had to take a break – for a minute I was worried my insides were turning to salami.
MASTER LIST (this list is based off the one I made at Thanksgiving. A couple pics are on my Instagram.)
- Jamon serrano/Iberico
- Summer sausage/other cased sausage
- Country Ham
- Deli Meats
- Creamy or Hard Blue
- Aged Sharp Cheddar
- Blueberry goat cheese (flavor optional)
- Cashew cheese spread (vegan)
- Baguette toasts
- Wheat Thins
- Breton Wheat Crackers
- Flatbread Crackers
- Dried cranberries
- Spiced pecans
- Kalamata olives
- Asian pear
Ultimate Grazing Board (Charcuterie & Cheese Board)
How to build a grazing board full of
charcuterie, cheeses and accoutrements to satisfy anyone in the
- Cured Pork products
- Hard Cheese
- Soft Cheese
- Semi Soft Cheese
- Unique Cheese (blue, goat, flavored, etc.)
- Fresh Fruit
- Dried Fruit
- Sweet spread jam, honey
- Savory spread hummus, mustard
- Preserved olives or pickles
Assemble all selected items on a board or collection of dishes, to be served together.