By Natalie Richoux

Translated from French, charcuterie means delicatessen and that is precisely what this board is! A charcuterie board must have a variety of cured meats, cheeses, olives, figs and baguettes, but often fruits and vegetables are added accouterments. Impress your guests at your next party with this guide to making a great charcuterie board!

There are specific items a true charcuterie board must contain, but beyond these items, you can add any additional food items you enjoy! A charcuterie board must contain at least one of each of the following: pre-sliced food (often cured meats), slicing food (like a cheese block), spreadable food (a soft cheese or olive tapenade), crumbly food (like blue cheese), olives, roasted nuts and a grain.

Once you determine what will be on your charcuterie board, you must find a large,wooden board to use as a tray for your foods. Preferably one that is food safe, but if you do not have a food safe board, you can create a make shift one by placing parchment paper over a wooden board.

While there is no specific way to assemble a charcuterie board, there are recommendations. Nuts, olives and spreadable food should be placed in small ramekins around the board. If you are serving hard salami, it is recommended that you serve a sharp cheese (such as white cheddar or shaved parmesan) with the salami and position these two items close together to signal that they are complimentary foods.

As for your accouterments, you should use these to break up the must-have charcuterie board foods and add color to your board, but you use only all fruits or only all vegetables, never a combination.

Charcuterie boards are as delicious as they are beautiful. With our guide to building the perfect charcuterie board, you can make this a focal point of your next gathering to impress your guest.