This Weekend Snacking Cheese and Charcuterie Board pretty much sums up my favorite way to kick back, relax and graze with family and friends over great conversation and cocktails. The weather is steadily getting nicer making al fresco dining a must and there's nothing like kicking off the weekend enjoying a beautiful board of cheese, meats, fruits, veggies and spreads in light, breezy evening air. You can customize your board with favorites to create the ultimate appetizer which may just turn into the main event. It's all good.
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How to Create a Delicious Snacking Board
When you consider arranging a large spread with a number of elements, it can seem intimidating at first, thinking where the heck do I start?! The good news is, it becomes very doable and rather easy once you commit to what you're including, tackle each category and decide what will have the most presence on your board.
- The Board or Boards - I had plenty of room to work with on this nearly 20-inch diameter board. However, feel free to use multiple boards of varying shapes and sizes to comfortably fit everything you want to include.
- Have a theme! - It's easier to compose a board that has complementary elements in terms of region, holiday, season and course. I leaned toward 'savory Italian in spring' here.
- Cheese - Burrata and marinated mozzarella are featured along with goat cheese because I had them in the fridge. Try to include 3-4 different cheeses and vary them to what you enjoy most.
- Meats - I'm never without prosciutto and the red wine salami was a delicious addition. Go with whatever you and your gang like!
- Veggies and Fruit - Marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh cherry tomatoes, and olives all went nicely together. Prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe is always a fave, and fresh strawberries and grapes easily fill in gaps with a pop of color.
- Spreads - I whipped up a pesto with my readily available herbs and included a baby bowl of honey. Sweet and savory jams and flavored mustard are always yummy options as well.
- Breads and Assorted Crackers - The look and texture of naan wins me over regularly but any type of toasted or grilled bread will be fantastic along with a variety of crackers or parmesan crisps.
Tips on Arranging
So at this point you figured out what you want on your board, now you need to actually arrange it all without feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. Fear no more! Here are some loose guidelines that will help make everything come together seamlessly.
- Put any component that's oily, marinated or a spread in a bowl and arrange the bowls on the board first.
- Arrange the next most prominent component, usually the meats, in a few areas. Roll up or curl the meats so they can be more vertical rather than just lying flat. It creates more visual interest and takes up less real estate.
- Next add larger or clustered items such as cantaloupe spears, small bunches of grapes and cherry tomatoes.
- Now you can fill in spaces that hold crackers vertically and other small spaces with pieces of fruit and piles of nuts.
- Garnish as appropriate with fresh herbs. They're always a nice eye-pop of color.
- Have some extra of each component on hand to replenish the board as needed depending on the size of your crew and intent for how long it's meant to last.
- One thing to avoid is piling things on the board that have liquid or oil and aren't contained. You really don't want oil and brine from the olives making the nearby crackers soggy.
- It's easy for the imagination to start running wild, so having some sort of theme, type of meal the board is meant for, and complementary food pairings in mind will keep you focused and streamlined so your spread doesn't run amok. This will keep you from overspending at the grocery store too!
- Don't put the whole thing together the night before! By all means there are things you can prep ahead, but if it has any chance of oxidizing (like avocado) or going from crunchy to soggy (crackers, crisps and nuts), wait until before serving to add them to your board(s).
The more forethought you put in to planning your creation whether it's for a party of 2 or 20, the more efficient you'll be in terms of time and money spent putting it together. And most importantly, have fun building! You'll feel really satisfied with the result and your gang will certainly be impressed. Happy snacking and Cheers to the weekend! xx, Kim
More Snacking Inspo!
Weekend Snacking Cheese and Charcuterie Board
- 8 ounces fresh burrata
- 8 ounces marinated mozzarella balls
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 4 ounces thinly sliced salami
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cantaloupe spears, strawberries, grapes
- Marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and assorted olives
- Store-bought or homemade pesto and honey
- Assorted crackers, toasted naan or crostini
- Place the burrata in a small bowl and top with pesto and a few cherry tomato halves.
- Transfer marinated mozzarella to another small bowl. Also place artichoke hearts, olives, pesto and honey into separate bowls.
- Arrange the bowls on a large bread board or serving platter.
- Add goat cheese to the board and drizzle with honey.
- Wrap cantaloupe spears with a slice of prosciutto and place on the board.
- Arrange remaining prosciutto and salami around the board in a few areas.
- Next add on cherry tomatoes and grapes.
- Fill in the board with strawberries, nuts, crackers and toasted naan or bread.
- Garnish with fresh herbs. Enjoy!
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