Looking to create a festive holiday appetizer? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the art of assembling the perfect Christmas Charcuterie Board for your festive gatherings.
How to Build An Amazing Christmas Charcuterie Board
There are lots of different foods you can include on a charcuterie board and it is fun to vary the ingredients. But there are some foods that should always be included as your base ingredients. Here is how we do it:
Start with a Base
- Choose a large platter or wooden board as the canvas for your culinary masterpiece. Some ideas are:
Charcuterie boards can include so many different types of foods which is what makes them so interesting! Here are some basics to include:
- Fresh Fruits and Veggies for Color and Freshness: Incorporate seasonal fruits and veggies for a burst of color and also to complement the richness of the meats and cheeses.
- Choose a Variety of Meats: Dive into the world of cured meats. Aim for diverse textures and flavors to cater to different tastes.
- Hard and Soft Cheeses: Cheese is often the star of the show! Pick a variety of soft, and hard cheeses to pair with lots of different foods.
- Crackers and Bread: Choose an assortment of crackers, pretzels and slices of baguette. Mix shapes and textures to keep things interesting.
- Add Accompaniments: Enhance the flavors of your main foods with sweet and savory accompaniments. Honey, jam, whole-grain mustard, olives, pickles, and mixed nuts are fantastic additions.
- Garnish with Fresh Herbs or Edible Flowers: Adding a sprinkle of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme or edible flowers add a touch of whimsy and enhance the overall presentation.
Consider Dietary Preferences
Try to find out your guests’ dietary preferences or restrictions ahead of time and make sure to include options for everyone. Gluten-free crackers, vegan cheeses, or nut alternatives can be thoughtful additions.
Arrange with Intention
Be intentional in how you arrange your ingredients. Create different sections for each element, ensuring a balance of colors and textures. Leave some empty spaces for visual appeal. You can use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of cheese, meets, fruits and veggies. It doesn’t take long, but really adds a fun pop!
Start with adding like ingredients on your board in different sections. Keep doing this until you have filled in the spaces with all your different ingredients.
Provide Serving Utensils
Set out small cheese knives, spreaders, and forks to make it easy for guests to dive into the delicious spread.
The Best Ingredients for Your Christmas Charcuterie Board
An amazing charcuterie board starts with quality ingredients. These are ingredient ideas that not only taste amazing, but will make your Christmas Charcuterie board absolutely beautiful!
Quality Meats: Invest in high-quality cured meats from your local deli or specialty store. Freshness is key to elevating the flavors. Some good choices are:
- Prosciutto: Italian dry-cured ham that is thinly sliced
- Genoa Salami: Italian dry-cured sausage
- Spanish Chorizo: A flavorful and slightly spicy Spanish sausage
- Soppressata: a dry salami that comes from Italy
- Calabrese: a spicy pork sausage sold in a log form
Cheese: Find a store that has an assortment of different types of nice cheese. Consider including both soft and hard cheeses for a well-rounded experience. Choose slices, cubes, or shapes to make your board more interesting.
- Brie: A creamy and mild French cheese with a soft, edible rind. Its luscious texture and delicate flavor make it a crowd-pleaser.
- Camembert: Similar to Brie, Camembert is rich and creamy with a distinct earthy flavor. Pair it with fruity accompaniments for a yummy combination.
- Gouda: A semi-hard Dutch cheese with a sweet and nutty taste. Choose aged Gouda for a more robust flavor.
- Cheddar: A versatile classic, cheddar cheese comes in various forms, from mild to sharp. Consider an aged cheddar for a more pronounced flavor.
- Blue Cheese: Add a bold kick with blue cheese varieties like Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or Stilton. The creamy texture and tangy taste pair well with honey or fig jam.
- Manchego: A Spanish sheep’s milk cheese with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Opt for different aging levels for varying intensities.
- Goat Cheese: Tangy and creamy, goat cheese adds a delightful contrast. Consider honey-drizzled goat cheese for a sweet touch.
- Havarti: A Danish semi-soft cheese with a buttery and slightly sweet taste. It’s a great option for those who prefer milder cheeses.
- Gruyère: A Swiss cheese known for its nutty and slightly sweet flavor. It melts beautifully, making it a fantastic addition to a warm charcuterie spread.
- Fontina: An Italian cheese with a semi-soft texture and a rich, earthy flavor. It pairs well with both meats and fruit.
- Mozzarella Balls: a mild tasting and slightly soft cheese. Adds texture and a fun shape to your board.
Fresh Produce: Add freshness with seasonal fruits and veggies. They add a burst of color and balance to the richness of the meats and cheeses.
- Grapes: Red, green, or black grapes are classic charcuterie companions. They’re juicy, sweet, and provide a refreshing contrast to savory flavors.
- Apple Slices: Crisp apple slices, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith, add a delightful crunch and a hint of tartness.
- Pear Wedges: Choose ripe pears like Bosc or Anjou for a sweet and juicy addition. Pears pair exceptionally well with creamy cheeses.
- Figs: Fresh figs or dried figs bring a luscious, honeyed sweetness to the board. They pair beautifully with both meats and cheeses.
- Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries contribute vibrant colors and a burst of natural sweetness.
- Pomegranate Seeds: These little gems add a juicy pop and a touch of tartness, enhancing the overall flavor profile of your charcuterie board.
- Dried Apricots or Cranberries: A chewy and sweet option that provides a concentrated burst of flavor.
- Persimmon Slices: When in season, persimmons offer a unique sweetness and a beautiful orange hue. They pair well with both mild and bold cheeses.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Bursting with flavor, cherry tomatoes provide a juicy and colorful addition to your charcuterie board.
- Baby Carrots: Sweet and crunchy, baby carrots are not only tasty but also visually appealing. They’re perfect for dipping.
- Cucumber Slices: Cool and refreshing, cucumber slices add a crisp texture and pair well with creamy cheeses.
- Snap Peas: These crisp, edible pods are not only healthy but also a delightful addition for those who enjoy a satisfying crunch.
- Pickles: Whether dill or bread-and-butter, pickles provide a tangy and briny contrast, cutting through the richness of meats and cheeses.
- Roasted Red Peppers: Soft, smoky, and slightly sweet, roasted red peppers add depth and flavor to your charcuterie board.
- Artichoke Hearts: Marinated artichoke hearts bring a Mediterranean flair, offering a tender and tangy element.
- Marinated Mushrooms: Elevate your board with mushrooms marinated in herbs and olive oil. They provide a savory and earthy component.
- Blanched Broccoli or Cauliflower Florets: These cruciferous veggies, blanched to retain their crunch, provide a hearty and nutritious addition.
Accompaniments: Include gourmet jams, honey, and mustard to complement your charcuterie selections. The more unique, the better!
- Festive Jams and Spreads: Fig Jam, Cranberry Sauce, and Orange Marmalade.
- Honey: Delicious when drizzled on cheese and meat on top of a cracker.
- Mustard: Whole Grain, Dijon, Spicy, are all good choices.
- Nuts and Seeds: Candied Pecans, Salted Cashews, Pistachios, Roasted Almonds.
- Pickled Delights: Dill Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Green Olives, Black Olives, and Marinated Artichoke Hearts.
- Sweets: Chocolate Covered Cherries, Mini Holiday Cookies, Chocolate Truffles, Gourmet Marshmallows, Chocolate Covered Pretzels, and Candy Canes.
- Fresh Herbs: Fresh Rosemary Sprigs look amazing on a Christmas themed board.
Crackers and Bread: Include artisanal crackers and breads. A mix of textures will keep your guests coming back for more.
- Festive Shaped Crackers
- Sliced Baguette
- Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers
- Sea Salt Crackers
- Multigrain Crackers
- Rice Crackers
- Pita Chips
- Naan Bread
- Rye Crisps
- Pretzel Squares
- Sourdough Bread
- Fruit and Nut Bread
The last step is to personalize your board based on your preferences and the occasion. It is really fun to include unique regional delicacies for an extra wow factor.
Wrapping Up the Festive Feast: Storing Leftover Charcuterie Ingredients
So, you’ve dazzled your guests with the perfect Christmas Charcuterie Board, but what about those leftover ingredients?
- Cheeses: Wrap cheeses tightly in parchment paper or beeswax wraps to maintain their freshness. Store them in the refrigerator, but allow them to come to room temperature before serving again.
- Meat Preservation: For cured meats, keep them in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags to prevent them from drying out. Refrigerate promptly to ensure quality.
- Accompaniments and Produce: Jams, honey, and mustard can be stored in the refrigerator for an extended period. Fresh fruits and veggies should be refrigerated and consumed within a few days.
- Crackers and Bread: Seal them in airtight containers to maintain their crunch. If they’ve lost their crispness, a quick toast in the oven can revive them.
And there you have it—a step-by-step guide to crafting a charcuterie board that’s not only visually stunning but also a feast for the taste buds. Now go ahead, gather your ingredients, and let the charcuterie magic begin! 🧀🍇✨
Favorite Holiday Entertaining Recipes
Christmas Charcuterie Board
- proscuitto, genoa salami, spanish chorizo, soppressata, calabrese
- brie, camembert, gouda, cheddar, blue cheese, goat cheese, havarti, gruyere, fontina, mozzarella balls
- grapes, apple slices, pears, figs, berries, pomegranate seeds, dried apricots, dried cranberries, persimmon slices
- cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, pickles, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower
- jam, honey, mustard, nuts and seeds, pickles, olives, chocolate, mini holiday cookies, chocolate truffles, gourmet marshmallows, chocolate covered pretzels, mini candy canes, fresh herbs
Crackers and Bread
- shaped crackers, sliced baguette, rosemary crackers, sea salt crackers, multigrain crackers, rice crackers, pita chips, naan, rye crisps, pretzel squares, sourdough bread cubes, fruit and nut bread cubes
- Start with a base. Choose a large platter or wooden board to create your charcuterie on.
- Choose and purchase ingredients. Once you have everything purchased, set it all out on your counter so that you don't forget an ingredient.
- To make a Christmas tree shape, make a triangular outline using string as your guide.
- Begin by placing your cured meats on the board within the string guidelines you placed. Arrange them in loose folds or artful curls.
- Add cheeses. Space out various cheeses around the board. Mix textures and types, placing soft cheeses and hard cheeses in different areas.v
- Add fresh fruits and veggies. Place them in clusters or scatter them around for a vibrant look.
- Add the accompaniments you have chosen. Place small bowls or jars for spreads, jams, or honey. Intersperse olives, pickles, and nuts to balance flavors and visual appeal.
- Arrange an assortment of crackers or bread. Consider placing them in different directions to add visual interest.
- Fill any empty spaces or gaps with smaller ingredients. Using a small star cookie cutter, make cheese shapes and place around the charcuterie tree with a larger cheese star at the top of the tree. Finish with adding fresh herbs around the tree to make it more festive (rosemary sprigs are great for this board). Serve and enjoy!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie