CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards! (2024)

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CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards! (1)

Making a Charcuterie board is like creating a work of ART! And just like any art piece, you need the right supplies and tools for the job. And sometimes you need to stop what you are doing and ask yourself "why?".

Whether making a board for 100 people or your close family and friends, planning ahead will always be your best bet.

Here are my top tips on what NOT to include on a Traditional Style Charcuterie board -->


The cheese section at the grocery store can be overwhelming and intimidating. If you start looking at fancy cheeses and glance at the price tag, it can make your eyes pop out of your head. So stick to only the favorites cheddar, white cheddar, Brie, Boursin, Goat, Manchego and Gouda. A warning: some people love super stinky cheese, and others do NOT. I am in the latter. I am not trying to discourage you from buying and trying fancy cheeses. Make sure it will be a crowd favorite before spending your paycheck on one you will end up tossing.

CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards! (2)


Charcuterie boards are known for being over the top and so colorful. All of these incredible colors are thanks to, in large part, the fruits. Bananas, pineapples and melons are not such a great idea. Bananas can be mushy and turn brown quickly; melons and pineapples can be juicy, and the juices might mix with other foods. Here is a list of great fruits to include on a Charcuterie board: Apples, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, oranges and pears. These can be sliced and presented beautifully.

CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards! (3)


Okay, so I am definitely in the camp of an excellent spicy dressing, sauce or jam. But if you are serving food to a large crowd, you should label these items and warn the group or choose to pass on serving them altogether. Many people are sensitive to spicy foods and suffer when eating these foods. I generally steer clear of spicy foods when making Charcuterie for a group. When I make food for my family and myself - I like it HOT!


Food on a charcuterie board should be ready and easy to pick up and eat. When buying bread and crackers, avoid ones that are hard to chew. Choose fresh, soft baguettes that you can warm in the oven and crispy, flavorful crackers. Here are a few crackers I like: 34 Degrees Thin Crackers, Carr Water Crackers, pretzels, puff pastry and French Sourdough Baguette. You can also plate these separately from the charcuterie board to leave more room for the other goodies.

5. Veggies

Veggies are another way to add variety, flavor and textures. Luckily the produce section is brimming with colorful options. There are a few that I would stay away from eggplants, brussels sprouts, turnips, beets, zucchini and mushrooms. Many of these vegetables taste best when cooked, and Charcuterie boards generally don't include steamed or cooked veggies. Here are the fresh veggies I like on the charcuterie boards I make: cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap or sugar peas, carrots and sliced radishes.

CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards! (5)

6. Allergens and Sensitivities

If you are going to be hosting, make sure to check on food allergies and sensitivities. Nuts and seeds are a great filler food for Charcuterie boards and help fill spaces between meats, cheeses and veggies. If someone has a peanut or nut allergy, it is best to skip them and add extra ingredients guests will enjoy eating. Some people have sensitivities to gluten, dairy and even nitrates. There are so many vegan and dairy-free options available now at the grocery store, and choosing these alternative options or leaving them off will make guests feel comfortable and relaxed.

7. Dips, Sauces and Jams

Okay, there are quite a few sauces I wouldn't include on a Charcuterie board. Leave off the ketchup, mayo, BBQ sauce, teriyaki and soy sauce. These are just a few…now that we have gotten these out of the way, here are sauces and spreads that go great with cheese, crackers, veggies and cured meats: honey, jams, chutney, Tapenade and fancy Dijon mustard. Hummus is a common Grazing table spread but is not commonly found on Charcuterie boards.

CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards! (6)

8. Boring and Bland Foods

Pass on being bland and boring. Charcuterie boards are meant to be extravagant, fun and exciting. They're great for entertaining and offering many different foods to ensure something for everyone. When choosing your meats, cheeses, fruits and veggies, make sure to buy three to four several different kinds and flavors. I also LOVE to include pickles, olives, dried fruit, cookies and chocolates.

CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards! (7)

*BONUS* - Boards and Platters

Now that we've discussed what NOT to include on your Charcuterie board, we need to talk about what you ARE going to serve all the approved ingredients on. Having a board designated for charcuterie is a must. Avoid using cutting boards that are also used for meal prep because these can have lingering smells and knife marks. Charcuterie Boards come in a range of sizes and shapes. Choosing a board depends on size and preference. I have a BUNCH of suggestions on my Valentine's Gift Guide Blog for Charcuterie Boards. Check it out.

CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards! (8)

Want to build a traditional Charcuterie board all on your own without making any mistakes? Check out MY RECIPES so you can order the exact ingredients I use through Instacart. This is the easiest way to give instructions so that your board looks professional. And stay up to date on all the latest by signing up for my email list.



CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards! (2024)


What are 5 things to avoid on a charcuterie board? ›

CHARCUTERIE // Stop Adding These 10 Ingredients To Your Charcuterie Boards!
  • STINKY CHEESES. The cheese section at the grocery store can be overwhelming and intimidating. ...
  • SPICY FOODS. ...
  • Veggies. ...
  • Allergens and Sensitivities. ...
  • Dips, Sauces and Jams. ...
  • Boring and Bland Foods.

What are the ingredients in a charcuterie? ›

  • variety of sliced cured meats and salumi such as Sweet Sopressata, salami, proscuitto, pepperoni.
  • variety of soft and hard cheese options such a Brie, Havarti, Gouda, Mozzarella, Provolone, Blue Cheese, etc.
  • cured olives and colorful antipasti,
  • roasted and fresh veggies on the side, optional.
Dec 11, 2022

What is the 3-3-3 rule for charcuterie board? ›

The 3333 rule applies to the number of foods to create the perfect board. To follow the 3,3,3,3 rule, stick to three cheeses, three meats, three starches, and three accoutrements.

What are the do's and don'ts of charcuterie? ›

Rules to follow for the perfect Charcuterie Board
  • Everything should be easily accessible. Hard cheeses should always be on the outside of the board. ...
  • Something Hard, Something Soft & Something BLUE. ...
  • Meats should stand out! ...
  • Something Sweet & Something Spicy. ...
  • Garnish!
Sep 22, 2019

What are 3 good cheeses for a charcuterie board? ›

Here are the best cheeses for your charcuterie board
  • Hard cheese: chunks of parmesan, aged gouda, asiago.
  • Firm cheese: gruyere, comte, manchego, colby, cheddar.
  • Semi-soft cheese: havarti, butterkäse, muenster.
  • Soft cheese: burrata, mascarpone, stracchino.
  • Blue cheese: gorgonzola, dunbarton blue, marbled blue jack.

What are two main charcuterie items? ›

Here are the five key elements to a perfect charcuterie board:
  • Cheese. ~ You have limitless options in this category so you can not go wrong. ...
  • Sweet. ~ Cheese can pair well with sweet components like honey, fig jam, and/or a chutney. ...
  • Savory. ~ You need to have one or two savory elements to pair up to the meats. ...
  • Meat ~ ...
  • Bread.

What does a traditional charcuterie board have? ›

The most important elements of a charcuterie board are meats, cheeses, savory accompaniments, sweet accompaniments, and crackers. Cheeses: choose a variety of hard and soft cheese, and cheese made from different animals (cow, sheep, goat).

What are some good ideas for a charcuterie board? ›

A balanced board should have a range of complementary flavors and include cheeses along with meats. Pickles, olives, jams, fancy cut fruit, fresh veggies, crackers and nuts are all great items to include. Beyond that, the sky's the limit!

Are there rules for charcuterie boards? ›

Stick with cuts of meat shaved from a larger piece of meat, like prosciutto or cured, thin-sliced ham, as opposed to blended meat like salami.) The flavors can be paired with the cheeses or chosen for their unique qualities, but always aim to have something spicy, something smoky, and something unexpected.

How many cheeses should be on a charcuterie board? ›

Three to four is a nice number to have a variety of flavors. I've also made really special cheese boards that spotlight one cheese and all the different pairings that could go with it. Plan on one to one and a half ounces per person per cheese for an appetizer board.

What is the secret to charcuterie? ›

In addition to balancing flavors (sweet, salty, sour), you also want to balance textures. For cheese, you'll want something hard, medium and soft. For meat, pair a thinly sliced meat (like prosciutto) with something a bit denser (like a salami) and something more spreadable (like a pate).

What is the best soft cheese for charcuterie? ›

The best cheese for charcuterie includes:
  • Soft cheeses like brie or ricotta.
  • Semi-firm cheeses like cheddar or emmentaler.
  • Hard cheeses like aged gouda or aged cheddar, romano, or parmesan.
  • Blue cheese like gorgonzola or a cheddar blue.
  • Crumbly cheese like ricotta salata or cotija.

What are the 5 ingredient charcuterie? ›

Often, chocolate or sweets are included, too. However, the simplest board will always have five key ingredients: fruit, nuts or olives, cheese, meat, and a carb like toasted bread or crackers.

What is the secret to a great charcuterie board? ›

After all that meat and cheese, you're going to need something to balance those rich flavors. Cairo suggests accenting the board with acidic pickles, crunchy nuts, whole grain mustard (Maille is his favorite brand), tinned fish, and something sweet like quince jam or a drizzle of honey.

What is the disease in the charcuterie board? ›

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that the Salmonella in the charcuterie sampler was closely related to bacteria from sick people. This suggests that people got sick from eating the charcuterie sampler. USDA-FSIS collected Coppa and Antipasto tray products from Fratelli Beretta which tested positive for Salmonella.

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