I love entertaining in the summer and whats better that being able to treat a crowd with something as gorgeous and tasty as a charcuterie board. Read on to see all my charcuterie board ideas for the summertime or really anytime! I am excited to be collaborating with some amazing bloggers to bring you everything you need to know about Charcuterie boards. Make sure to check them all out at the end of this post!
Let me tell you why I want to share some of my favorite charcuterie board ideas for the summer.
Summertime in the Bryce Canyon, Utah area is dreamy. I have lived here for almost 20 years and have never really talked about how beautiful the summers are here. It’s no wonder people flock to this gorgeous area to sight see and visit on vacation.The weather is absolutely beautiful, the evenings always have a bit of crispness to the air. Being in a tourism town in the summertime can seem overwhelming at times, and I often forget I am in a small town because of the mass of people, but don’t underestimate the quiet that I can enjoy in my own backyard.
Something I have always touched on when people ask how I can live in a small town is that it doesn’t seem so small in the summer. You see, I live in a small town in Southern Utah right outside Bryce Canyon National Park. This area is a tourist attraction because of that National Park in my backyard. Literally. It is right outside my backyard. We enjoy views of certain parts of Bryce Canyon whether we are working in the yard or enjoying a fun cookout with friends.
When we built our house, the views were one of the most important factors. It has been one of the highlights of living here.
Since we have a large yard, and we have really tried to focus on creating a space that is slightly magical, surrounded with trees, edible plants, luscious lawns, and a large garden. I wanted my backyard to be an escape and I think it truly is.
Our kids spend hours out in the yard exploring, playing games and trying to avoid chores.
This summer we have really loved spending time out int he backyard eating our lunches and dinners. We have created a fire pit, along with my handmade picnic table to create a fun outdoor space out in the yard where we can congregate and spend time with family and friends.
One aspect of summer that I want to talk about it my extreme lack of desire to cook through the warm months….and for this reason my family has really embraced dinner charcuterie boards. Sometimes we will grill up some chicken and eat it along side a nice bountiful charcuterie board. Sometimes we will simply eat the charcuterie for dinner. Ive got some great charcuterie board ideas.
Often times, these types of foods are considered an appetizer or pre dinner snack. We have really loved turning them into a yummy, and filling dinner. Throw a salad in the mix, and you have a light and easy to make dinner.
One other reason I love making charcuterie boards is when we have a large group coming over. Charcuterie boards are a great way to feed everyone’s food desires without making a ton of food. Today I wanted to talk about my favorite charcuterie board ideas and how you can use them this summer, or anytime of the year.
Charcuterie Board Ideas
The first rule of Charcuterie boards in my house is, “you touch it you take it” It’s not okay to graze over touching as you go picking and choosing. You touch it, you take it.
The first thing I like to do when I’m making a charcuterie board is to find a cute plate or tray that I can put my food on. I have a lot of different options that I can use. It’s not necessary to purchase something fancy to put all your Charcuterie assortment items on but it’s nice to have something that’s special if you have it.
Here are some ideas of trays you could use for Charcuterie boards:
When I making a charcuterie board for my family always something smaller such as a dinner plate or an oval-shaped tray. Over the years I have collected an assortment of cutting boards and wouldn’t trays as well as metal trays and have come in really handy for things like this.
Take for instance last week when I had some friends over for a nightly cookout with just adults. We built a nice large fire in the fire pit and I created a large charcuterie board that we can all sit and enjoy as we enjoyed the fire.
For this sure Charcuterie board I used a large wooden tray that has handles. I wanted something large enough that I could create a charcuterie board with lots of different options for all the different people coming.
Different food options you could use on your Charcuterie board:
When I’m setting up my charcuterie board I like to focus on having a few different major elements. For me I like to have sweet, salty, savory, creamy, crunchy. I also like to have plenty of spreads and meat options that people can enjoy.
Here are the main food ingredients that I like to use in my Charcuterie boards:
- dried fruits
- condiments including mustards, honeys, jams, dips and more
If you’ve never made of charcuterie board before, it’s important to focus on finding items that you really like and adding those to it.
If you are fond of Brie or Gruyere cheese make sure to include those. My family loves just about every kind of cheese so we have a pretty diverse collection in my fridge at all times.
My kids love salami, chorizo, and Prosciutto so we try to include these meats when I am planning a charcuterie board. I often find really great options at Costco or other specialty grocery stores. Believe it or not I’ve also seen really great cheeses at Walmart. If this is your first time creating a charcuterie board, and you’re not really sure you want to spend a ton of money, make sure to stop and check out some of these cheeses because they can be really good and not break the bank.
At Costco they have really great meat samplers that you can buy that will have three or four different sliced meats. I find this really helpful because I don’t have to do a lot of thinking about it.
I think sometimes people think that you have to really know what you’re doing in order to create a charcuterie board and I disagree. If you overthink it it’s going to become more work than fun and this is something that you can eat in the summer and have a laid-back and fun time.
Focus on adding foods you and your friends love. Don’t spend time searching for all the exotic cheeses and meats when sometimes the most simple ingredients are the best.
If I am making a meat and cheese platter like this one, here is the ratio of what I like to add:
4-5 different cheeses: I like to make sure there is a good assortment of cheeses to make sure that everyone has something they like. I try to have a good assortment of hard and soft cheeses Some of my staple cheeses I start with are aged extra sharp cheddar cheese, Brie, and a soft goats cheese. I then add some fun cheeses such as Jarlsberg(which tastes similar to swiss), a balsamic Bellavitano, Manchego, Iberico, blue cheese, and so many more. I have purchased pre sliced cheeses and ones I had to cut myself
3-4 meat options: This is the obvious choice when coming up with charcuterie board ideas. My kids love Chorizo so if I can find it, I use it. You can often find precut meats at Costco in a trio. Peppered Salami, Italian Dry Salami, Calabrese Salame, Prosciutto, even summer sausage. These all go so well with a cheese and spread combo. You can add any kind of meats you love. I do make sure they are cut thinly so that they can be easily picked up and used.
3-4 fruits- I love adding fruits to my Charcuterie boards. 2 different types of grapes is always a must for us. I like to pop a few strawberries and raspberries as well. Something sharp and sweet to break up the cheeses and meats.
1-2 dried fruits- My husband loves dried fruits as well. We add figs, dates, apricots, and cranberries or cherries. Really whatever you have on hand or can find.
Assorted nuts- I love to add pistachios, almonds, cashews…whatever I have on hand. I often buy a jar of assorted nuts from Costco, and they work perfectly for my charcuterie boards! My goal is to keep the work to a minimum while having big impact.
3-4 different spreads- This is where it gets fun. We like to combine sweet spreads and savory spreads. A nice coarse ground mustard is so good. We also love this fig and lemon preserve. We also add a yummy apricot or strawberry jam. And one of our favorites with the Brie is honey. A dollop of honey, Brie and a grape, and my day is made.
Pickles/Olives: These I add only if I already have them. My family doesn’t love green olives so we usually omit them. We do love pickles though, so they are a popular item. Mini Gherkins are the best for this.
Breads: We love to add breads to our board. My kids live for it. We usually add a traditional baguette, olive oil bread, or french bread. Sometimes a little of each. I slice them into small bitesized pieces so that none goes to waste and its easy for anyone to grab and eat.
Crackers:We also love adding crackers to our tray. Find some that you love and use those. Its so nice to have an assortment of different kinds too.
A few tips about your Charcuterie board set up…
When arranging your ingredients on your serving tray it can seem daunting to put everything on it and feel as if its done right. There really is not right or wrong but I have a few tips:
- Layout your cheeses putting them in different areas on the tray.
- Start to add in your breads and crackers also arranging them in random places. There no need to stack things in an orderly fashion.
- Make sure you have dry fruits so that they do not make the bread or crackers soggy. I try to place my fruits by my cheeses and nuts. Nobody wants a soggy piece of bread.
- I like to put my spreads in small containers and nestle them in between ingredients on the board.
- I like to add the smaller fruits and nuts at the end, nestling them into the tight spots and filling in some of the empty spaces that may be hard to fill with cheese or breads.
Now let’s talk about how I like to serve mine.
We are very laid back at my house. I do like to have a bit of order when serving a charcuterie tray though. Its nice to provide some small plates, butter knives and even some spoons. Often, I will grab another large basket or tray to hold all the cutlery, plates and napkins. It makes it easy for them to grab what they need.
I also like to keep it simple by adding some bottles of root beer or fun soda of some kind. This means no washing cups and extra work. I’d say those are great charcuterie board ideas!
In the end, there is little cleanup. Throw the drinks in the trash, wash off your tray and other serving items and you are done! You can also use paper or plastic plates if you want even less cleanup.
And that is how to serve a charcuterie board to a crowd. You can turn this into a full meal by adding a salad, or some grilled steaks or chicken. You can also keep it as a simple appetizer! Make sure to look into fruit that is in season when you are preparing yours! You could most definitely find apricots, peaches, and so much more in the summer that you can add.
Now check out all these fresh plate ideas from some of my friends!
Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
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