One of my favorite things to put out when entertaining is a board. Some people call them grazing boards, or Nibble boards, some are both cheese and charcuterie boards. I even love a breakfast board.
One reason I really like putting all these things together on one board is to help your guest see how to be creative without having to pointed out to them. When it’s all on one board, it all seems to go together, so they are less inhibited to try new things. Maybe they will add a mustard to something that you would never put mustard on, but that’s what they want to eat. When things are all separated on a buffet, that’s fine too, but it doesn’t create the “safe” atmosphere to be more adventurous.
I thought I would share with you some tips on how to create all types of boards for you to use at your next event.
Let’s start with a very basics, how you are going to present it. I collect boards, I love them all. I have purchased new ones anywhere from HomeGoods to Pottery Barn, I’ve collected vintage ones from some of my local favorite vintage shops or Etsy, and I have some boards made of other materials like agate from Anthropologie. You can even just use your kitchen counter. If you put some butcher paper down, no one will even know.
I like to use a charcuterie paper or butcher paper on my larger boards for easy cleanup but they aren’t necessary. You can find some neat ones on Amazon.
There are a lot of serving pieces available on the market. Little spoons, spreaders, tiny forks, all of the things to make your board look next level.
You want to have some napkins. I love these cocktail napkins from Italy. They are so soft and I always get so many comments from my guests asking where I bought them.
For things that have some liquid in them or if you want to create a certain vibe, you can use beautiful jars and bowls. I really enjoy using jars from Le Parfait. It also helps when putting everything away at the end of your party to just put a lid on it.
There are a wide range of boards out there to be had. Cheese and charcuterie, breakfast board, nibble boards, graze boards, heck, there are even butter boards popping up every where! Here are some ideas for my favorite way to entertain, a board.
Let’s start with the basic cheese and charcuterie board. Well, they might seem very en vogue, but charcuterie has been around forever . The word charcuterie comes from France, not surprised are you? Wayback in the 15th century, the French wanted to use every last bit of meat and leave nothing to waste. Out of that wisdom came cured meats aka Charcuterie. Charcuterie, in general, means prepared meat, like pate, salami, prosciutto. In modern times, we started adding things like mustard, jams, honey, nuts, dried fruit, etc. to that general meaning.
Not all charcuterie boards have cheese on them, and that all cheese boards have charcuterie on them. But my favorite is a mixture of the two.
I tend to go for 3 to 4 cheeses and 2 to 3 meats. Let’s talk about cheese first. I like to choose a variety of flavors and textures. You want a balance of flavors, but also create some buzz. I would not do all soft cheeses, but a brie and maybe an herbed goat cheese would be fun with a really hard cheddar or gouda for contrast.
For meat, I like to take one type, and form it into a rose, and then have one laid out in rows. If I’m going to spicy, let’s say a pepperoni on one I will do a milder meat for the other. If you want to throw in an extra meat on there, something a little unexpected, like a pate, is fun.
Now, you need to choose the vehicles in which to get these items into your guests mouths. I love a variety of sliced baguette, water crackers, and something with a lot of seeds. A lot of the gluten-free crackers that are on the market have a lot of seeds and they’re great to have not only for variety, but for possible gluten-free guests.
For me, it’s all about the accoutrements. Some of my favorites are pitted olives, cornichons, both fresh and dried fruit and nuts.
I also love spreadable things that guests can build off of for example some mustard or jam. My favorite is the Tarragon Dijon from Edmond Fallot. The color alone is worth the purchase. Honeycomb is always good, especially with blue cheese!
What exactly is a nibble or grazing board? Nibble boards can include meat and cheese on them but I like to think of them as expanding your guests mind by offering a variety of small bites.
I typically go with a theme let’s say Mediterranean. If I were to do a Mediterranean style nibble board, I might include things like hummus, olives, grape leaves, marinated feta and fresh figs. Pita bread that might be seasoned with some za’atar for the extra punch would be fantastic.
I recently made a grazing board for a neighborhood event that featured whipped Brie. I included on that board, some pimento cheese and pork Rillette but also a variety of snack, mixes, nuts.
Breakfast is one of those meals that everyone seems to treat differently. Some people are big breakfast eaters, and some people don’t eat breakfast at all. When I have guests in my home, I like to provide a breakfast board so people can eat as much or as little as they like.
One of my favorite things to put on a breakfast board is either smoked salmon or gravlax. To pair nicely with that I can do some pickled red onion, capers, or caper berries, some scallion cream cheese, and either rye crackers, latkes, or bagels.
I also like to provide a variety of muffins or breads, and serve them with butter, jams, and honey.
I hope you were willing to try a new board whether it be all cheese, all charcuterie, a breakfast board, or some thing for grazing. They are such a great way to entertain and most it is just assembling it.
Please make sure you comment below and let me know what is your go to board of choice.