How To Build the Perfect Cheese and Charcuterie Board

Cheese and charcuterie boards at parties might look effortless — and if so, that means your host or hostess has done it just right. But, in reality, a lot of work goes into creating the perfect cheese board. Here, the anatomy of it all.

Every good cheeseboard will have at least
one of the following categories:
One type of blue cheese like a Gorgonzola or Maytag
A soft cheese. Think a Boursin or goat cheese
A firm aged cheese. Think Parmesan or Asiago
A familiar cheese like a cheddar
And, of course, a soft cheese like a brie or Camembert

Non-cheese components:
1. Crackers and bread Long, large crackers can be broken up and placed on the board in a very organic way. A sliced loaf of rustic bread (not toasted so that it stays soft) is perfect for slathering on cheeses and piling high with meats.
2. Fruit Fruit acts as a palate cleanser between salty bites. Grapes, apples, pears and figs are all good options. Melons like cantaloupe and honeydew can be sliced and wrapped with prosciutto for a mouthwatering bite.
3. Charcuterie Vary pre-sliced in the package with some whole cured sausage. As with the cheeses, make sure to vary the meats that you choose. Know nothing about charcuterie? No problem. Just make sure that they look a little bit different. That means that they have likely been cured with different spices.
4. A salty component Caper berries are a must, and olives, cornichons and tapenades are a nice addition. You could even go with a salty cured fish like oil-packed anchovies.
5. Condiments A spicy mustard and a rich olive oil with fresh herbs are the perfect choices for dipping and spreading.
6. Extras Adding a cooked element, like roasted garlic, to your board is an excellent addition and always very popular. Other cooked additions could be a spicy, toasted nut mix fresh from the oven.
7. Sweets Always make sure to have honey, and it’s best with the honeycomb. Preserves, like a fig and orange preserve or even a sweet chutney, look beautiful.

Plating tips
1. Try not to shove everything on one board; instead, use a variety of platters. Use everything from servers to regular dinner plates to wood boards to marble.
2. Throw in some decorative china to mix it up and keep it looking interesting.
3. Try to make each plate that you are creating its own little story. Try to have at least a bit of fruit, cheese and meat on each platter.