Show-stopping charcuterie boards

Impress your guests with these unique and flavorful spreads

Story By Jenna Wiley

Charcuterie boards have been on the rise in recent years and for good reason. A board is the perfect option when it comes to providing small bites for your guests, but what happens when not everyone is in the mood for meat and cheese? You get creative! There’s no need to stick to the rules when it comes to charcuterie. Here are some ways to spice up your food spreads while keeping every guest happy. 

  The more pancakes, the butter

How to build it

1. Prep all your fresh fruit. Make sure it is perfectly ripe, and start slicing. 

2. Gather up all the toppings you want for your pancakes, such as maple syrup and pats of butter. Feel free to experiment with other toppings/side items, like bacon. 

3. Whip up some pancakes. Use your go-to pancake batter recipe, and cook until golden brown on both sides. Add a dash of cinnamon into the batter for some extra dimension. 

4. Time to assemble. Place all the larger items on the board first to make sure they are the star of the show. Fill in the blank spots with your fresh fruit, syrups and any side items you’ve chosen.

Pro-tip: Leave cooking the pancakes and bacon until the last second possible to ensure they are still warm for your guests to enjoy.

Let’s roll

How to build it

1. These days most grocery stores sell freshly made sushi that you can grab and go. Pick up multiple rolls or sashimi from your local grocery store or takeout restaurant. If you’re feeling fancy, make your own. 

2. Pour soy sauce into a small dish, and place it in the center of the board. If you are more of an eel or “yummy” sauce eater, add those too.

3. Carefully curl your tuna and salmon sashimi into rose shapes, and place ginger and wasabi on the board. 

4. Time to place your sushi. Keep the same type of rolls in one section of the board so it’s easier for guests to differentiate between the different types. 

Pro-tip: Sushi is best eaten fresh. Don’t buy or make your rolls too far ahead of time to help maximize the taste for you and your guests.

S’more the merrier

How to build it

1. Put your marshmallows into a cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan. Don’t forget to prep your pan with non-stick spray for easy cleanup. Place the pan in the oven, and make sure to keep an eye on the marshmallows so they don’t burn.

2. Add any extra sweet treats to your board, like chocolate chip cookies and small containers of melted chocolate and peanut butter. Don’t forget graham crackers.

3. Arrange your chocolate bars. White chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate are the tried-and-true, but if you want to switch it up, add your favorite candy bars.

4. Time to assemble. Place your skillet of roasted marshmallows on the board first and work around it. Make sure to break up the chocolate bars into manageable pieces for added convenience, and add some mini marshmallows to fill in any empty spots.

Pro-tip: Keep some wet wipes handy. Assembling and eating s’mores is an inherently messy activity.

For the herbivore

How to build it

1. Prep all your fresh veggies. Not everyone eats meat. 

2. Grab some different flavored hummus spreads for the board. Place in small containers, and arrange them on the board first to guarantee that all your veggies and crackers can fit later on. 

3. Neatly arrange freshly cut veggies in rings around the hummus spreads on the board. Adding some crackers will give some additional texture and flavors. 

4. Garnish with some fresh herbs for added color and aromas. 

Pro-tip: Use any leftover veggies for other recipes, like a fresh salad mix or roasted veggie soup. Don’t let your food go to waste.

One smart cookie

How to build it

1. Bake your own cookie spread, or grab some from the grocery store. There is no shame in store-bought cookies. 

2. Place a small container in the middle of the board filled with other holiday treats, such as mints or icing for dipping. 

3. Arrange your cookies by flavors: gingerbread, chocolate, vanilla, etc. Throw in some salty treats to complement the sweetness of the cookies, like chocolate-covered pretzels. 

4. Drizzle on freshly melted chocolate or icing onto your cookies for extra decoration and flavor. 

Pro-tip: If you are going the store-bought cookie route, warm the cookies up in your oven before you serve them. Be careful not to burn them.

Wing in the new year

How to build it

1. There are a few ways you can go about procuring your favorite chicken wing flavors: takeout from a restaurant or tackling them in your own kitchen. Pick your battle wisely. Whichever one you choose, use different cooking methods. Grilling, baking and air frying all give different outcomes and choices for your guests. 

2. Prepare some celery sticks and freshly cut carrots to soothe the spice of the chicken wings. 

3. Mix your own dipping sauces. Blue cheese and ranch dressing are classic chicken wing combinations, but feel free to think outside the box with other flavors like barbecue or mango habanero. 

4. Place your chicken on the board, and sprinkle on roasted sesame seeds for extra flavor and dimension. 

Pro-tip: If you want some extra crisp to your homemade chicken wings, toss the wings in baking powder before cooking.

The OG

How to build it

1. The meats are the star of the show for a traditional charcuterie board. Salami, soppressata, calabrese and prosciutto are among the most popular. Create fun displays by folding the meat to resemble petals, or use the top of a wine glass to make a flower. 

2. Head to your local cheese counter or cheese monger to explore all the different cheese options. Hard cheeses like aged gouda and chunks of parmesan, soft cheeses such as brie and burrata are easy to spread. Get some blueberry goat cheese for an interesting flavor profile. 

3. Pick up a variety of crackers that have different flavors and textures, like whole grain or honey hinted crackers. Place on the board in stacks for easy grabbing. 

4. Fill in any empty spaces with small finger foods like pickles, fresh fruit, nuts, honey for drizzling and pomegranate seeds to complement the salty taste of cured meats and cheeses.

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