We consider charcuterie an instant party and a must-have at the holidays. Charcuterie is simple to serve and makes a beautiful presentation when paired with fruits, nuts, cheeses of all kinds, chutneys, pickles, olives, honey, and truffle butter.
But this post is about the elements that bring the ultimate charcuterie display together. With a few items, you can create a sumptuous charcuterie board with varied textures and colors – just like the ones you see on Pinterest.
Slate: A Key Element
There is something so perfect about charcuterie and cheese on slate. You can buy beautiful slate slabs that are finished for food, or you can get untreated slate tile at a hardware store. These inexpensive tiles often come in 12-inch squares, which are perfect for large charcuterie and cheese spreads at the holidays. Wash them well, then scatter the slate between wooden cutting boards, marble slabs, and plates. Slate gets extra points for the fact that you can write on it with chalk to identify the foods being served.
This photo from Bon Appétit shows how neatly a charcuterie buffet can be done for a party or event. Note the 12-inch square slate tiles at the back, elevated over a large marble slab and surrounded by baskets and plates loaded with offerings.
Elevate with a Cake Stand
Think about creating different levels. A cake stand will give your display height and texture, whether made of glass, metal, or wood. This galvanized metal stand would look very handsome on the table with other servers of slate and wood and can hold bread, fruit, cheese, or the like. Also very nice is this marble-topped cake stand, but feel free to use what you have already, as any cake stand will do the trick.
The Natural Beauty of Wood
Most charcuterie is served on a wooden cutting board. If you have a large enough board that is presentable for serving, use that and surround it with bowls and trays if needed.
With its varied lines and patterns, smooth olive wood is a great choice for a serving board. These are often available in small sizes, with irregular shapes and edges. Get a few and place them on the table with charcuterie arranged on top.
The bark or live edge of a cutting board brings rusticity and texture to the table, and we love to use these for our own events. You can purchase raw-edged wood boards from any number of places, but there’s an easy way to DIY with a slab from a craft store, as demonstrated in this project.
Use the Whole Table
This is often seen at weddings or large events, but you can replicate it at the dining room table, or on a side buffet for your holiday party. At The Stinking Bishops, a restaurant and cheese shop in Australia, they call them grazing tables (we love it!). Here’s one they did for an office party, which is an inspiration.
One method is to cover the entire table with sturdy kraft paper, set out your slate boards, wooden cutting boards, etc. and write the names of items you are serving directly on the paper. Saucy by Nature, a catering company in Brooklyn, shows how to use this technique so that nobody has to guess what they are grabbing at the buffet.
Baskets, wooden bowls, and trays are good for serving crackers and bread, and small Mason jars are useful for jams, olives, mustard, or anything spreadable.
We liked this 3-foot long charcuterie board in the center of the table at the blog Apartment 34.
If you don’t have access to a cutting board that long, head to a home improvement store and buy raw wood boards and have them cut there, and sand and finish at home. You will get the exact length you need for your table, and at a reasonable price. The DIY project is explained in this wedding party post, and pictured below.
If you make a charcuterie board this season, be sure to share some photos with us on social media. Tag @dartagnanfoods on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to show us your party pics!