Snack Board BasicsMar 16, 2023
Charcuterie and snack boards are super versatile, fun, kid-friendly ways to serve up what we like to call in my house “snack dinner.” These are simply visually appealing ways to present small bits of varied types of foods for your household or for guests. You can dress it up or down as much as you want, make it a variation on a theme, the sky is the limit.
First things first, let's talk about the base. You'll need a large wooden board or platter to showcase your goodies. Make sure it's big enough to accommodate all of your tasty treats.
These boards can have WHATEVER you want on them (for real) but to create a basic skeleton for you to flesh out here are the categories I use. You do not “have to” have all of these categories to “do it right” but also, please examine why you’re concerned about the rules of something totally inconsequential like making a snack board — I DIGRESS — the categories are:
Meat: This category includes cured meats such as salami, prosciutto, and pepperoni, as well as cooked meats like ham and turkey.
Cheese: Cheese is a staple on any charcuterie board and can include a variety of types such as cheddar, brie, gouda, and goat cheese.
Nuts: Nuts add crunch and texture to a charcuterie board and can include almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews.
Fruit: Fruit provides a sweet and refreshing contrast to the savory meats and cheeses and can include grapes, strawberries, figs, and apples.
Crackers and Bread: These items provide a base for the meats and cheeses and can include crackers, sliced baguette, and crostini.
Dips and Spreads: Dips and spreads add flavor and variety to a charcuterie board and can include hummus, guacamole, and pimento cheese.
Pickled and Fermented Items: These items provide a tangy and sour note and can include pickles, olives, and sauerkraut.
Sweets: Sweets provide a sweet ending to a charcuterie board and can include chocolate, cookies
My favorite places to look to find good deals and bargains on the items needed to create a luxurious charcuterie and snack board from base to bread:
Grocery stores: Check out your local grocery stores for sales on cheeses, meats, crackers, and fresh and dried fruits. Many grocery stores also offer bulk discounts on nuts and dried fruit. Choose your selections based on the sales.
Discount stores: Stores like TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Marshalls, and HomeGoods often have a selection of stylish wooden platters and bowls that can be used for charcuterie boards at a fraction of the price you'd find elsewhere. I got a wooden board and tiny honey pot & comb at T. J. Maxx for $12.99 and $4, respectively. You can also pay a lot less for the non-perishable items here and get fancier mustards/jams/nuts than at the grocery.
Farmers markets: Visit your local farmers market for fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables that can add color and variety to your board. Often, prices at farmers markets are very reasonable, and you're supporting local farmers and artisans.
Wash, prep, and cut your fruit. Slice cheeses. Toast crostini, pita, etc. Roast nuts.
Collect the ramekins, small serving spoons, cheese knives, spreading knives, and any other utensils you will be using.
Now that you've gathered your ingredients and you have your base, it's time to assemble your board. Start by placing your cheeses on the board, spacing them out evenly. Next, add your meats, folding them into different shapes for visual interest. Then, add your crackers, nuts, and dried fruit around the edges of the board. Finally, add your fresh fruit and grilled/pickled vegetables to fill in any gaps.
To take your board to the next level, consider adding some decorative elements. A sprig of fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, adds a touch of greenery. You can also use small bowls or ramekins to hold your olives, honey, or jam.
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