Over the last few years, charcuterie boards have become a hosting right of passage, and keep grazing guests entertained and satisfied for hours!
However, if you’ve never made a charcuterie board before, you might be wondering: Can you pre assemble a charcuterie board?
In this article, I will cover some key information about charcuterie boards, including whether you can pre assemble a charcuterie board.
Let’s get started.
What Is A Charcuterie Board?
The French tradition, charcuterie, is the art of preparing and assembling a variety of different cured meats and meat products.
A charcuterie board makes the perfect centerpiece for your guest’s to graze, and often includes other foods such as cheese, crackers, and fruit amongst other delicious choices.
Can You Pre Assemble A Charcuterie Board?
Yes, you can pre assemble a charcuterie board. That being said, you won’t want to prepare your charcuterie board too far ahead of time.
You can assemble a charcuterie board a few hours ahead of time. However, you will need to cover it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator after you have prepared it, leaving the crackers and bread until just before you serve.
In addition to this, you should only take the board out of the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before you’re ready to serve it.
This comes down to the fact that if left out, the meat will become warm and the cheese will begin to dry out. Bearing this in mind, you won’t want to prepare it too soon, as the quality of the charcuterie board will begin to deteriorate.
However, don’t panic, as one of the biggest benefits of opting for a charcuterie board is that they take no time at all to prepare!
If you do want to prepare any of the vegetables ahead of time, such as the celery sticks the night before, make sure that you place any fresh ingredients back into the refrigerator.
That being said, there are certain fruits that you won’t want to prepare in advance, including apple slices, as the air will turn their white flesh brown.
While you can delay this process with a squeeze of lemon juice, it’s best to prepare fruits like apples just before you serve your charcuterie board.
A Guide On How To Pre Assemble A Charcuterie Board
What Foods Do You Add To A Charcuterie Board?
The great thing about charcuterie boards is how open they are to interpretation depending on your preferences.
Every board is unique, and no two boards are exactly the same, which is why you can have so much fun experimenting with different foods and flavor combinations depending on the occasion and season.
The key to creating a good charcuterie board is providing as much variation as you can, as this will tempt anyone to keep grazing in order to try a bit of everything.
Your guests are far more likely to keep going back if they keep spotting new foods that they’ve yet to get on their plates!
That being said, there are a variety of different foods that are delicious to place on a charcuterie board. These include but are not limited to:
First and foremost, your charcuterie board needs to contain cured meats of your choice. These meats can range from prosciutto, to salami, chorizo, and pepperoni.
It’s good to choose lots of different types of meat, as this provides your guest with choice and will mean that there are a variety of different flavors on your charcuterie board.
That being said, if you’re catering for any vegetarians or vegans, you can find meat alternatives to place on your charcuterie board in order to produce a similar effect.
Next up, is cheese! You will want to ensure that you use a variety of cheeses, all varying in textures, colors, as well as sizes.
Hard cheeses such as cheddar, gouda, and edam are wonderful for charcuterie boards, but you will also want to make sure that you add plenty of soft cheeses such as brie, goat’s cheese, and blue cheese, too.
Again, if you’re vegan or are catering for vegans, it doesn’t mean that they have to miss out on all the fun! There are plenty of vegan cheese alternatives available on the market that are perfect for adding to your charcuterie board.
You can’t have a variety of different cheeses without a good selection of crackers! Crackers had something crunchy to have alongside your cheeses, and this combination is an absolute classic.
You can add a variety of crackers of your choosing, including wheat thins, cream crackers, as well as Ritz crackers to name a few! In addition to this, if you have any guests with gluten or wheat allergies, make sure that you provide suitable crackers for them, too.
Bread And Breadsticks
Alongside crackers, you will also want to add some bread and bread sticks to your charcuterie board.
Breads are great for layering and dipping in the variety of yummy spreads that you have on your charcuterie board.
Bread is a hearty and satisfying side to have alongside charcuterie, as it fills your guests up!
From pita bread, to ciabatta rolls, and garlic breadsticks, the options are endless when it comes to choosing which bread to display on your charcuterie board.
For people with gluten intolerance, you could also offer some gluten free breads, too.
Olives And Antipasto
Olives are an absolute must for charcuterie boards! Both black and green olives provide a bitter tang and work to cut through the fattiness of the various cured meats and cheeses.
Antipasto is another great option to display with the olives, and usually involves foods such as artichoke hearts, pickled vegetables, Italian cured meats, and small chunks of cheeses.
Dips And Spreads
Dips such as hummus, whipped feta, and baba ganoush are always a winner on a charcuterie board.
Not only are they great for dipping your chips and crackers into, but dips and spreads are also wonderful for pairing with fresh vegetables, too!
There are many fruits that work well to fill up any gaps on charcuterie boards, while providing a fresh sweetness to cut through a lot of the fatty foods.
When it comes to choosing fruits, you can include both green and red grapes, figs, apple slices, and even pomegranate seeds!
Vegetables add a nice freshness to your charcuterie board, even if you’re not hosting vegetarians and vegans!
Cutting up fresh vegetables such as carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks provides you with a healthier option to dip into the array of dips you’ll have on the board.
Chutneys And Jams
Chutneys and jams are great condiments to serve alongside your charcuterie board. From chili jam, to caramelized onion chutney, the variety is endless!
These condiments add a lovely element of sweetness that works super well with the various cheeses and cured meats.
There are a variety of different nuts that you can add to your charcuterie board. From walnuts to pistachios, peanuts to macadamia nuts, this adds another crunchy element to your board that your guests will continuously keep going back for!
Tips When Assembling Your Charcuterie Board
- When it comes to prepping your fruit, drizzle your apple slices in lemon juice to prevent the air from turning the flesh brown. This will keep your charcuterie board looking fresher for longer.
- Don’t prepare your charcuterie board too far in advance, as you don’t want the cured meats to warm up or the cheese to dry out when it is uncovered and out of the refrigerator.
You can pre assemble a charcuterie board, but make sure that you don’t make it too soon ahead of time. Once you have assembled your charcuterie board, you need to cover it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.
You should only take the board out of the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before you’re ready to serve it, as the quality of your charcuterie board will begin to deteriorate after this time has passed.
Good luck and enjoy assembling your charcuterie board!