A good Charcuterie Board will always have a few main ingredients: cheese, meat, and crackers or bread. The best trays also include something pickled or tart, or something sweet. You want to include about 2 ounces of cheese and meat per person. The Olde Hickory Station provided us with this excellent board, crafted entirely out of local ingredients. It’s a great starting point, but you have so many choices. It’s easy to get intimidated.
Cheese: it’s hard to go wrong, but it’s a good idea to sample cheeses from several categories. Cheese tend to be aged (gouda, cheddar), firm (parmigiana-reggiano and the like), crumbly (goat cheese, feta), creamy (brie or brillat-savarin), or blue (stilton or gorgonzola).
Charcuterie: Again, you’ll want to sample different textures. Include some hard meat, like salami, but also something creamy like pate, and then a dry cured favorite. I’ve never made a board that didn’t include prosciutto, and I’ve never had a piece left at the end of the evening. It’s like Country Ham, but sliced more thinly, and it’s a true favorite.
Bread or Crackers: This is important because it’s how you’ll get the cheese and meat to your mouth. Crispness is as important as flavor here. I usually make sour dough toast points and include crackers as well. I avoid heavily flavored crackers because I think the taste should come from the meat and cheese.
Extras: This is what makes a good board stand out. I include something pickled (carrots are great choice, but any pickled vegetable will work), something sweet (fruit, like grapes or pears, is a great choice, and so is local honey), and some mustard based sauce. I usually put spicy whole grain mustard, but the options are endless.