How to Craft the Perfect Charcuterie Board (+ a couple easy condiment recipes) - Chris Loves Julia (2024)

The word “charcuterie” has expanded a bit beyond its classic French roots, and is sometimes used to describe a collection of meats, cheeses, fruits and other finger foods arranged together. I understand that purists scoff at this change, but I care less about what I call it and more about whether or not the people I make it for are enjoying it. And no joke, they enjoy the crap outta this.

How to Craft the Perfect Charcuterie Board (+ a couple easy condiment recipes) - Chris Loves Julia (1)

I know this is a bit odd since I’m not really cooking anything, but Jules and I loveentertaining – having people over and spending time with them while sharing great food – it’s the best. I’ve had a lot of practice at putting together charcuterie boards, and I think they’re perfect for so many occasions (or no occasion at all). So here are my favorite things to include, along with a couple condiment recipes and a video below walking you through it all.

How to Craft the Perfect Charcuterie Board (+ a couple easy condiment recipes) - Chris Loves Julia (2)

The best things to include in a charcuterie board

Something pickled and/or brined
Olives, pickles, artichokes, peppadew peppers (a personal fave) – lots of things to choose from, but the tang is important for cutting through the richness of some of the other items. I love these gherkins from Gaea – tangy, but not sweet like most gherkins are.

Something crunchy
Crackers, toasted bread, nuts, or even pork rinds (for my keto folks out there). The crunchy texture makes the board more enjoyable, because it’s not just mushy thing after mushy thing. You gotta have that texture in there – something mild flavored is great. And don’t forget some gluten free options if making for larger groups. There’s usually someone and having something for them really goes a long way in making them feel welcomed.

Something meaty
Sopressatta, prosciutto, pepperoni, salami. This is where a lot of people have problems with the term “charcuterie” because most meats represented on “charcuterie” boards are actually Italian salumi. But again, let’s not worry about it, because these things are delicious. And if you’re worried about all the nitrates in the cured meat, opt for uncured options like this turkey salami. It’s pretty dynamite.

How to Craft the Perfect Charcuterie Board (+ a couple easy condiment recipes) - Chris Loves Julia (3)

Something fruity
Berries, grapes, and whatever is seasonal. Right now that means peaches and plums, but soon we’ll be looking at pears, citrus and pomegranates. Fresh fruit is another great thing for cutting the fat in the meat, but you can also use dried, unsweetened fruit (cherries are my go-to).

Something cheesy
Creamy cheeses, hard cheeses, sharp cheddars and specialty cheeses. Get a good mix of cheese like whole milk mozzarella (mild, fresh), aged cheddar, blue stilton (sharp), and manchego (a hard cheese with a great flavor that goes with just about anything). Super hard cheeses like parmesan I think are better used in other ways, but that’s for my taste.

How to Craft the Perfect Charcuterie Board (+ a couple easy condiment recipes) - Chris Loves Julia (4)

Condiments
Fruit spreads (can’t go wrong with a fig preserve) and mustards. Harsh mustards may not be the best choice, but below I have a recipe for a honey mustard made with stone ground whole grain mustard. It’s super delicious, as is the sour cherry chèvre (which can also act as one of your cheese options).

Something chocolate
Always. I always have some form of chocolate. I use Lily’s when I’m on keto, but anything dark will do. And chocolate covered almonds pull double duty – love them on a board.

How to Craft the Perfect Charcuterie Board (+ a couple easy condiment recipes) - Chris Loves Julia (5)

Fresh herbs
This is optional, because people won’t eat them. But at the risk of sounding pretentious, I find that the smell of fresh rosemary or basil makes eating everything else more enjoyable. You still get the flavor through smell, and it’s really great.

Of course, with all of this, you also want to make sure you have some great serving pieces to arrange it in and on. Here are all my favorite pieces that were used in the video above:

Small olive wood cheese board
Medium olive wood cheese board (the one in the pictures is no longer available, but I also have this one and it’s about the same size and I love it as well)
Large round bread board
Olive wood fruit bowl

There are so many things you could use – make some boards of your own and put them on Instagram, tagging @chrislovesjulia. Would love to see what you come up with! Until next time, friends.

How to Craft the Perfect Charcuterie Board (+ a couple easy condiment recipes) - Chris Loves Julia (6)

Print Recipe

5 from 8 votes

Sour Cherry Chèvre

A quick goat cheese spread that is amazing on crackers, pizza, or paired with meats, fruits or other cheeses.

Prep Time5 minutes mins

Course: Snack

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup goat milk chevre
  • 1-2 tbsp sour cherry spread

Instructions

  • Mix the ingredients together - that's it!

Print Recipe

5 from 8 votes

Stone Ground Honey Mustard

This mustard is perfect with cured meats, cheeses, fruits and crackers. Great condiment for a charcuterie board.

Prep Time5 minutes mins

Course: Snack

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup stone ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Mix the ingredients together until smooth. Put it on whatever - it's amazing.

How to Craft the Perfect Charcuterie Board (+ a couple easy condiment recipes) - Chris Loves Julia (2024)

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