With the holidays coming up, let this serve as your not-so-official, official charcuterie board guide! You can bring these as a guest, make them as a host, or make mini ones for lunch!
The key to all the cheese you have on your board is to add a bunch of different textures, flavors, and varieties! A spreadable cheese like goat cheese can be great, some even come covered in cranberry jam or herbs. Aldi has a ton of cool cheeses if you want to be adventurous, I've tried the wasabi one and it was interesting! I always like adding one that I've never tried. I love havarti, cheddar, pepper jack, brie, and manchego. I would say those five are my go-to's, and Trader Joe's has a really interesting mushroom brie that is amazing! Go for at least four different types, the more the better! Presentation also really matters, make sure to place pieces well, in designs, or even cut out from the outside wax and place it back in. Some like to just provide the knives for cutting from blocks of cheese.
I love boards that have a ton of fresh produce. You can never go wrong with berries to fill empty space, or pomegranate halves and figs! Sliced or cubed pears and grapes are the basic go-to's that pair well with cheese and should be a staple! Israeli cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and carrots are easy to prep and grab off boards. Dried fruit is the best and is easy to store — I love figs, dates, and apricots! I also love throwing on some of those mini pickles for the perfect crunch. Fruit jams are some people's jam to have to top off the cheese and cracker combo!
Crackers are crackers. Pick what you like. I tend to put mine in a totally different dish than my cheese board so there's more room! I love the fig and olive crisps, pita crackers, and everything crackers from Trader Joe's. I like having some plain crackers for the interesting cheeses so they don't clash. You really can't go wrong, but the worst are stale crackers.
Unfortunately, I don't have much experience in this department since I don't mix meat and cheese much for religious regions. If I do throw it on, it's Russian kielbasa or the beef snack sticks from Costco, and deli buffalo turkey is also super yummy! I know most people throw on some prosciutto, genoa salami, and chorizo — all of which look super good and cute all folded up.
Put all of those together and you're set! All your friends will love you even more if you bring one of these to the next wine night. Happy cheesing!