Learn How To Build a Holiday Charcuterie Board using this thorough guide. Filled with all of your holiday favorites, this beautiful board of bright flavors and delectable ingredients is sure to be the highlight of your next holiday party.Jump to Recipe
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Comté Cheese Association. All opinions are 100% mine.
Your guests this holiday season are going to run, not walk to this gorgeous and festive Holiday Charcuterie Board.
Charcuterie boards are the perfect appetizer for holiday parties, New Year’s celebrations, or for a quiet night at home with some wine. Loaded with creamy Comté cheese, meat, crackers, fruit, and nuts, the flavors are bright, decadent, and classic to the season.
Just like my summer charcuterie board, I’ll guide you through all of the ingredients you need to make a cheese board for the holidays and how to assemble it. You can keep your fridge stocked with this list all season long so you’re prepared for any unexpected guests or last minute get togethers. It’s a flexible recipe you can make for two or 20 people!
What is a charcuterie board?
Charcuterie (pronounced “shahr-ku-tuh-ree”) is all about beautiful presentation and refined flavors. It’s a French word for cured meats, such as bacon, salami, and prosciutto. Nowadays, the word is associated with assembling meat products together with other accompaniments, such as dried fruits, nuts, and cheeses.
A winter charcuterie board celebrates the season with grand displays of seasonal and warming ingredients. There are a few elements you need to make a small or large board that showcases the flavors of the holidays and winter weather.
Elements you need to create the best holiday charcuterie
Use any or all of these elements in your holiday charcuterie platter:
I highly recommend using a delicate and creamy Comté cheese on your board. Pronounced Comté (“con – TAY”), this fresh cheese is handmade every day by artisans in about 150 small village cheesemaking facilities in the Jura Massif region of France. Comté is made with no additives or artificial colorants and controlled at each level of production, making it a pure and natural food.
This unique cheese is a staple for charcuterie boards. Each wheel has a distinct flavor and aroma based on the micro-region where it was produced, the season in which it was made, and the style of the cheesemaker. No two wheels taste alike!
Not sure how much cheese to buy? Aim to serve 2 to 3 ounces of cheese per person. Pick a few high-quality hard and soft cheeses from your local deli.
- Comté Cheese: delicate and creamy
- Hawes Wensleydale Cranberry: crumbly and sweet
- Truffle Double Cream Brie: creamy and savory
Always include salty and savory charcuterie meats on your cheese board. Thin slices of prosciutto, salami, or soppressata are easy to grab and pair perfectly with the creamy cheese and crackers.
Play around with the presentation. I like to create rosettes and pretty folds with the slices of meat so they not only look amazing but are easy to grab.
Feel free to buy as much meat as you like. You can splurge on a few different kinds or just get one simple choice that’s loved by all.
- Calabrese Salami
- Truffle Salami
Crackers and nuts
A variety of crackers and/or fresh bread or crostini are necessary on your winter charcuterie. Use them to hold your soft and spreadable cheeses or top them with meat, fruit, or a slice of hard cheese. You can use a variety of storebought crackers or even make your own.
- Pistachio Pomegranate Crisps
- Rustic Bakery Crackers
Fill a few small bowls with a variety of nuts for extra salt and crunch. Nuts not only provide a beautiful presentation, but they help fill empty space. There are plenty of seasonal varieties you can include.
Nuts to use:
- Hazelnuts drizzled with honey
- Marcona Almonds
This is the fun part! These extras will fill your board with plenty of colors, flavors, and seasonal flare. You can use a variety of fresh or dried fruit, pickled things, and fresh herbs. You can also add decor like sprigs of holly, mistletoe, Christmas ornaments, or even twinkly lights.
Fruit and Berries:
How to assemble your charcuterie board
Start by grabbing your best wood board, marble slab, or a ceramic serving plate. Gather any small bowls or ramekins, then prepare some cutlery like cheese knives, forks, and spoons.
Follow these steps to arrange your holiday charcuterie board:
- Add the cheese: All of your cheeses will take up a corner of the platter or board. This makes it easier for your guests to slice or cut. You can even pre-slice the harder cheeses so they’re easy to grab.
- Add the meats: Wrap or fold the slices of meat. As the meat is one of the more popular choices, place them closer to the edges of the board.
- Add pickled things: Pour any olives or cornichons into small bowls. If you’re worried about fingers dipping in and out of the bowls, go ahead and serve them with a fork or spoon.
- Add fresh fruit: Slice the apples and peel the tangerines, then place them on the board. It always looks nice to layer the slices or sections on top of each other. Keep the grapes on the vine and layer them on the board.
- Add the crackers: Spread the different types of crackers around the board so each variety is together. This way, no matter where your guests are standing, they can grab a cracker and layer it with a slice of cheese.
- Finish and serve: Complete the holiday board with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs, more grapes, and blueberries. These will help fill in empty space and add color.
Tips and tricks
These helpful tips will help you create and serve the best holiday charcuterie:
Make it ahead of time
Assemble your board without the crackers and nuts a few hours before guests arrive. Wrap it in plastic and keep it in the fridge. Remove the board 30 minutes before serving so the cheese has time to come down to room temperature.
Keep it budget-friendly
You don’t need to go all out to make the best holiday cheese and meat board. Stick to your budget and fill it with just a handful of ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. Just buy multiples of the same ingredients to fill it out.
Make it your own
Don’t feel like you need to use every ingredient on this list. Only use the stuff you and your guests love! This will help you create the charcuterie of your dreams without anything going to waste.
If you follow these tips and make your own holiday charcuterie board, let me know! Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it with #lenaskitchenblog on Instagram. I love seeing what you come up with!
How To Build A Holiday Charcuterie Board
- ½ lb Comté cheese, sliced
- ½ lb soft cheese, double cream truffle cheese
- ¼ lb Hawes Wensleydale Cranberry, or cheddar cheese
- 3 cured meats, prosciutto, salami, or truffle salami
- 1 apples, sliced
- ½ cup blueberries
- ¼ pomegranates
- crackers, variety
- ½ cup olives
- ½ cup cornichons
- ¼ cup marcona almonds
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, to serve with honey
- ¼ cup honey, to drizzle on hazelnuts
- 8 chocolates, your choice
- 2 sprigs rosemary, for topping on cheese or board
- Assemble all the ingredients on a wood board, platter, or tray. Start with your cheeses, create a triangle, then add cured meats around the cheeses, add pickles and olives in small bowls, then grapes cascading off your board, add nuts if serving right away or add with crackers if serving later, add some tangerines around the board, add dried fruit on the board, add berries next close to the cheddar cheese, add the hazelnuts and honey in a bowl. Add some rosemary and pomegranates to the brie cheese.
- Add crackers and nuts last if making in advance. Or add last to fill the spots on the board. Add any additional grapes if you have spaces to create fullness.
- Make sure to take your cheeses out of the fridge at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.