Charcuterie guide

You can get creative with your charcuterie by theming it to fit a specific season or holiday. 

If you have no idea what a charcuterie board is or means, don’t worry. With some new knowledge of just a few simple categories of ingredients, you can channel your inner connoisseur.

Swanky cheeses? Check. Seasonal fruits? Check. Wine to pair? Check. Here’s a guide to build your very own charcuterie board, and inspiration for a fall-themed one as the leaves start to drift onto the ground and the air gets colder.

Charcuterie boards are something you can have a lot of fun with. Whether it’s focusing on a particular region, season or event when creating one, these sharable boards invite friends and family to connect.

It’s also something you can pull together while already at the grocery store or local farmers market. A charcuterie board is meant to have a wide selection of flavors and textures so you’re able to pair different items and find combinations of the foods you enjoy.

Let’s break down the components of a captivating charcuterie board.

Sliced meats: Prosciutto, Genoa salami or spicy Calabrese salami are solid and varying options.

Cheeses: This is arguably the most important part of a charcuterie board. Use a variety of hard and soft cheeses. Some include a French brie cheese, goat’s milk cheese, white sharp cheddar and Manchego. Try cutting your brie cheese in the shape of a coffin to give it a spooky feel.

Pops of flavor and texture: This can include nuts, fresh or dried fruits, olives, mustard and cocktail pickles.

Crackers and bread: The perfect canvas to top with different cheeses, spreads and meats. You could choose from olive oil breadsticks, a French baguette and flatbread-like crackers topped with sea salt flakes.  

A sweet element: You could add meringues and turn them into ghosts by taking melted chocolate and dotting on eyes. You can also add Pirouette cookie straws, honey, a fruit jam, truffles or chocolate covered pretzels.

Decorations: Flowers, mini pumpkins and food picks have been popular to scatter throughout a charcuterie board.

To add a fall twist, some seasonal flavors to build off of are pumpkin, cranberry, maple, ginger, apple, nutmeg and cinnamon. Be sure to follow a fall color pallet as well, experimenting with shades of red, orange, yellow, brown and green.

Next, place everything on a flat wooden surface like a cutting board. 

Pair all of this with your favorite alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks that complement or contrast the food. 

Being on a student budget, I decided to create a smaller and simpler charcuterie board that still radiated the aesthetics of autumn. And because convenience is key, I gathered most of these ingredients from Target while out on a shopping trip with my housemates.

The day I put it together, it became a group effort and my housemates helped contribute some tasty elements from their snack corners that would go along with the fall theme. We also added a candle, decorative flowers, Halloween lights and black spider web cloth.  

Here’s what my board consisted of: 

  • Halloween themed sugar cookies
  • A Halloween donut
  • Chocolate sunflower butter cups
  • Parmesan Crisps
  • Almonds and cashews
  • Apples
  • Mandarin oranges
  • French baguette
  • Cranberry cheddar cheese
  • Honey goat milk’s cheese
  • Spreadable Swiss cheese
  • Peppered salami
  • Wheat crackers
  • Prosecco and apple cider to make apple cider mimosas

Some stores in Spokane, WA to find more local artisan brands are Huckleberry’s Natural market, Petunias Marketplace and Main Market Co-op. 

Trader Joes is the ultimate grocery store for students to go charcuterie ingredient shopping due to its largely popular seasonal items (you know it’s fall when you see pumpkin Jo-Jo’s on the shelf), the reasonably priced cheeses and meats and its good selection of fresh fruits. 

Now it’s time for you to put your skills to the test and surprise your friends at your next wine night or dinner with a charcuterie board that is sure to wow them.

Melina Benjamin is a news editor. Follow her on Twitter: @melinabenj.

News Editor

Major: International Relations & Journalism I work for the Bulletin to gain professional journalism experience while strengthening my reporting, editing, and design skills. I love the people I work with!

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