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A charcuterie board always fits the bill at any party, but even more so around the holidays. Arranged with bite-sized gourmet delights, packed with everyone’s favorite flavors — sweet, sour, salty, bitter — and presented in an aesthetic manner, a charcuterie board is the definition of yuletide merriment. Here are my five tips for creating a beautiful and delicious holiday charcuterie board:
#1 Mix Tastes, Textures, and Type
The key to a mouthwatering charcuterie board is variety. Tastes should be sweet and savory, textures should be soft and crunchy, types of snacks should span from cured meats to chocolate. Here are my favorite selections:
#2 Use only Bite-Sized Pickings
While it may sound obvious, the fun and beauty of a charcuterie board is that all the elements are finger foods that can be easily grasped and immediately enjoyed. Aside from a knife for soft cheeses, all ingredients should be sliced, cut, rolled, and ready for the picking!
#3 Have a Perfectly Placed and Plentiful Palette
I always buy more than I think I’ll need just for the board. When you work from a perfectly placed and plentiful palette the board will come together in a more creative way. You’ll quickly get a sense of what works and what doesn’t and you can always put items like nuts, olives, and dried fruit as stand alones in other dishes and bowls around the buffet or at end tables.
#4 Stay in the Flow
Once you have your plentiful palette in place the true secret to a beautiful charcuterie — as in life — is to allow for the flow instead of forcing a fixed image. Once you begin to play with the different items you’ll see how the colors, sizes, and shapes either compliment each other or look cumbersome. Instead of tackling it as a puzzle and stacking items piece by piece, allow for the board to develop organically by placing a bit here or a bit there.
#5 Playfully Replenish
Approach replenishment with the same playfulness and whimsy. Instead of replacing each item in the same spot allow your board to beautifully evolve throughout the party with new foods placed in different ways.