What Is The Difference Between A Charcuterie Board And A Smorgasbord

Charcuterie boards are something that have taken the modern world of entertainment and hosting by storm. They make for elegant arrangements of cured meats, cheeses, and accompaniments that are as pleasing to the eye as they are on the taste buds.

But what about a smorgasbord? The Swedish way of presenting food for guests has been explored below. 

It is believed that they were first seen in the Bronze Age where cured meats began to take off, but the French tradition is still strong. The celebration of meat and cheese is second to none, and it’s no wonder why it has seen such popularity in the recent years. 

Charcuterie Board

Firstly, let’s get on the same page by covering what a charcuterie board actually is. It is essentially a cheese board, usually made up of things that go well with meats and cheeses, like olives, fruit, nuts, and spreads. 

People can enjoy small nibbles provided on a wooden board by using their fingers, or the host can include some crackers, toasts or slices of bread as a base. Usually, charcuterie boards are enjoyed with glasses of wine or beer, depending on what the group believe would work best with the food. 

The great thing about a charcuterie board is that it is extremely customizable. This means that you can easily assemble one with your favorites if you have a small group of people coming together.

Alternatively, it would be a great appetizer for a dinner party as guests can pass the board around or each take from the same board, or it could be the final course in a meal. 

what is the difference between a charcuterie board and a smorgasbord


Another form of entertaining guests while keeping them fed is a smorgasbord, the traditional Swedish range of dishes that allows guests to help themselves to an abundance of preserves, smoked fish, cheese, salad, and relishes.

The idea is that guests can use the hot and cold selection to their advantage by creating open sandwiches containing anything they like.

A smorgasbord is usually arranged like a pot luck, where everything is set up in dishes and plates, and guests can help themselves. The great thing about this concept is that guests can be encouraged to bring one of their favorite dishes to add to the table for everyone to enjoy in a buffet-like setting. 


In order to determine how they differ from each other, it is important to see how charcuterie boards and smorgasbord arrangements are similar. They are both used for entertainment purposes, and celebrate goof quality food with friends and family.

In addition to this, some of the ingredients that are seen on both charcuterie boards and smorgasbord are the same. These include relishes, cheeses, and often bread. 

In addition to these, both of the food arrangements are completely customizable. This means that you can make them your own, and include some of the things that you believe work well together, or choose to omit certain ingredients if you aren’t as enthusiastic about them.

Being able to create your own combinations can be an exciting prospect, that is celebrated by both smorgasbord and charcuterie boards. 


Moving on, it can be difficult to distinguish between a charcuterie board and a smorgasbord, which is why we have outlined some key differences. Depending on your preferences and how you like to feed visitors, it is down to you to make an informed decision on which method is preferred. 

A smorgasbord usually features a bigger variety of foods than a traditional charcuterie board. The whole point of a charcuterie board is to celebrate the meats, cheeses, and jams from local areas that have been arranged neatly on a wooden board.

Some people enjoy gently arranging the meats or folding sliced of cured meat to make patterns. 

There is considerably more food on offer with a smorgasbord because there is more surface area to fill. It is typically set up like a buffet that anyone can use to assemble their own meals or snacks.

Put simply, smorgasbords are often seen with several regular sized plates and dishes containing different foods on one table. This can be a great way to entertain guests because everyone can bring something to add, and it can work similarly to a potluck. 

Charcuterie boards are more mobile. Because they have been carefully made to sit on a single wooden board, charcuterie boards are easier to pass around amongst friends. This isn’t really achievable with smorgasbords, because they offer more food that is arranged on a table. 

There is also a key difference between charcuterie boards and smorgasbords because of the difference in the food offered. While some of the foods are the same, smorgasbords usually offer a selection of both hot and cold foods.

These include meatballs, casseroles, pates, and salads. Because of the increased range of foods offered, it is easier to share something that you love with your guests. 

Another key difference between charcuterie boards and smorgasbords is the social purpose within the modern world of entertainment. Smorgasbords are known for their quantity of food, and the simplicity of it which appeals to most people who want to spend more time with loved ones rather than worrying about food.

Stripping back the need to spend time in the kitchen when entertaining guests can eliminate a great deal of stress. 

In comparison, charcuterie boards have become somewhat commercialized. More people are using intricate arrangements to impress their guests, rather than as a way of making life easier when entertaining.

Because of the emphasis placed on the single board, it is frequently used as an after dinner snack or even appetizer. This means that there is still a lot of time that you will need to spend in the kitchen preparing the main meal. 

what is the difference between a charcuterie board and a smorgasbord

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Kind Of Wood Should Be Used In A Charcuterie Board?

A: There isn’t any specific type of wood that is more traditional or favorable, it mostly comes down to what type of wood is the least porous. Acacia, American cherry, and hard maple are perfect, although you could consider using other materials like slate or bamboo. 

Q: What Time Of Day Would You Usually Have A Smorgasbord?

A: Nowadays, it doesn’t really matter and can be determined by what time your guests are arriving. Traditionally, smorgasbords were gravitated towards during the wait for dinner during the winter months. 

Q: Can I Make A Sweet Version Of These Arrangements?

A: The whole point of smorgasbords and charcuterie boards is that they are celebrations of delicious foods, so you should absolutely create a sweet version of these concepts! Have a little fun and set a table with some of your friends’ favorite desserts.

Another thing you could do is incorporate the concept of fondue into the charcuterie board, using melted chocolate and different fruits. 


There are a lot of key similarities and differences between charcuterie boards and smorgasbord, but they are both fascinating ways of presenting food to guests and attempt to make entertaining a little more seamless.

They are both highly celebrated across the world because of the excitement and interesting new approach that comes with presenting food in a new way.

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