By Peggy Davenport

The December holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for entertaining — and nothing completes your table setup better than a charcuterie board. Listed below are some helpful hints from Davenport’s Daily Delights (DDD) to help you build the perfect charcuterie board. DDD was a leader in bringing charcuterie boards to our area and we have perfected the art. It’s easier than you think if you follow these tips.

First, you want your board to look completely full, so start with the right size board for your gathering; a full grazing table works well for a large crowd. You can also include and/or use small plates, ramekins, etc. as needed. A smaller surface or board works just as well as a full table spread and will be as elegant and jaw dropping; the trick is to have it overflowing.

The best rule of thumb is to have at least three cheeses and three meats, but more is always better. Davenport’s always has at least one soft cheese, like brie, camembert or even Boursin cheese. You should also include hard cheeses; some favorites are Spanish manchego, Italian parmesan and sage Derby cheese. The sage Derby is perfect for the holiday season — the beautiful green color stands out. Strategically place the cheeses on the boards, usually whole for the wow factor, then fill in with your cured meats — prosciutto is always the first to go but there are beautiful salamis to use as well. You can even add meatballs, sliced steak, grilled chicken, etc. Artfully arrange the meats, draping them in piles, forming a rosette or even lining them up snakelike across the boards.

Once that is done, next comes the fun part with all the accompaniments, including crackers, bagel chips, breadsticks and sliced baguettes, to name a few. Some of our favorites are Thinsters, because they are sweet and savory, and almond crackers for the gluten intolerant. We suggest four to six different types of crackers; place them both on the board (lined up or standing up) and in cracker trays. Add some dried fruits, honey and jams and assorted nuts as well. Cornichons, pickles and/or olives are a must. And to round it all out, add a little bit of sweet — we tend to use the Lindt chocolate candies because they are wrapped, but you can personalize and make it festive with seasonal treats as well. Finish it off with spreaders, forks and honey pots and you are good to go.

While you’re at it, try your hand at the next big thing, butter boards, but more on that next time. Be sure to check us out at Happy Holidays!

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