How to Build a Beautiful and Balanced Charcuterie Board

The Scout Guide Charcuterie Tips

With all due respect to the beloved cheese board, our current appetizer of choice is charcuterie. Easy to put together and perfect for summer entertaining, the charcuterie board invites us to pair the bright, fresh flavors we crave in the warmer months alongside a selection of spicy, sweet, and salty cured meats from our local butcher or specialty food shop. Here, we outline our approach to creating a charcuterie board that will start the evening off on a delicious note or serve as a light summer supper.

Aim for abundance. There’s a time for editing, and there’s a time for adding. We tend to take a more is more approach to the charcuterie board, filling every available inch with as many elements as we can to encourage people to dive in.

Strive for balance. While meat is the star of the show, it’s always enhanced by the supporting cast. Be sure to balance the flavors of your meat selections with sides like nutty cheeses, briny olives, spicy radishes, and sweet almonds. 

Create a visual feast. Remember, we eat with our eyes. Avoid a monochromatic board by taking color into account as you build the platter. Leave greens on radishes and add grilled asparagus spears for a fresh look, or consider incorporating a pop of color with fresh berries.

Use small vessels. Keep marinated or potentially messy components contained in little jars or containers. Small Ball jars are perfect for serving olives and artichokes, while little ceramic dishes can corral berries and nuts.

Ask the experts. If picking out prosciutto and pâté isn’t your thing, don’t hesitate to ask the experts behind the counter for guidance. They’ll happily steer you in the right direction and help you procure the perfect variety of options—and possibly even offer samples to boot. We like to aim for a minimum of three types of meat.

Find a local butcher near you in the TSG Directory.