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Charcuterie and Cheese Grazing Board

5 stars (3 ratings)

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A grazing board is the ultimate addition to the menu for your next holiday party, family gathering, or even a week night dinner. It starts as a charcuterie (meat) and cheese board. Elevate it to grazing board status with the addition of fruits, veggies, crackers, and dips. There is something to satisfy everyone, no matter their diet or what their taste buds crave. Bonus: it’s easy to throw together, clean up is quick, and it looks pretty without taking too much effort. All that is missing is the wine!

Thank you to Collective Bias, Inc. and Notable Wines for sponsoring today’s post. All opinions are mine alone.

Angle view of a grazing board with wine, kiwi, crackers, cheese, broccoli, bell pepper, charcuterie.

In our household, I don’t often throw a party without food and wine. Whether it’s a simple get together or a three course dinner party, there is always something good to eat and something fun to drink.

One of my favorite ways to get the party started is with a beautiful, homemade, cheese & charcuterie board, but what happens when you want that starter to turn into the main event? Upgrade it to a grazing board!

Choose your favorite meats and cheese, then throw in colorful fruits and vegetables. Add in dips, jams, breads and crackers, then pop open a bottle of wine (or two)!

A homemade charcuterie & cheese board can be customized by party size, season, or even for a theme. Providing whole ingredients means there should be something there to satisfy everyone, no matter their taste or their diet.

Overhead image of a grazing board display. Multiple types of cheese, charcuterie, veggies, fruits, dips, jams, nuts and wine.

Choosing the Wine for a Grazing Board

The first step in buying ingredients for my cheese & charcuterie board is choosing the right wine. I like choose at least two different bottles, three depending on the size of the party. If you know what your guests enjoy, stick with those varietals. If not, start with a red and a white and go from there.

Today’s sponsor is Notable wines. Notable wines is taking a different approach to their packaging by putting flavor notes on the front of the bottle. They tell you what flavors you should expect and let you know if the wine is more fruity and crisp or if it’s more oaky and buttery. It can really take the guess work out of trying something new. If you haven’t yet discovered Notable wines, look for them at your local wine retailer.

How Much Wine to Provide

It’s a lot easier to plan for a party if you use averages. Account for everyone together rather than trying to ask plan for each individual. The general rule of thumb is 3 alcoholic beverages per person for the first two hours and one additional for every additional hour. Note, I said everyone, not every alcohol drinker.

Example: If you have 10 people for a 4 hour party and are serving beer, wine, and/or cocktails you should have 50 alcoholic drinks and 40 non-alcoholic drinks

If wine is the only alcoholic beverage you are providing, the rule of thumb changes slightly but gives pretty similar results. The difference is that you are counting by bottles, not by drinks. You should have half a bottle per person for the first 2 hours of your gathering and one bottle for every 4 people for each additional hour.

Example: If you have 10 people for a 4 hour party and are only serving wine you should have 10 bottles of wine (approximately 50 drinks) and 40 non-alcoholic drinks.

You should also provide enough non-alcoholic beverages for everyone to have 1 per hour. Sparkling and still water are always great options if most people will be drinking alcohol. If you have a fair amount of non-drinkers, providing mocktails and fruit infused water is always a nice touch. Don’t forget to encourage your guests to drink the water too!

What to Put on A Grazing Board

When selecting options to include on your grazing board there are no set rules, but I do have some suggestions. I like to choose some items to match the wine specifically, but I rely heavily on personal favorites.

Not everyone will like everything, but the name of the game is VARIETY! Having a good variety of options means you should have something to keep everyone happy – even those with picky pallets.

I like the number three and use it often when plating, whether it’s a dinner, dessert, or the number of beverages I enjoy at brunch (water, coffee, mimosa!). Three brings a balance to a plate.

Selecting the Cheese

My first instinct when selecting the cheese is to look at the texture, then they type. Most cheeses are going to fall into one of three categories: soft, firm, or hard. I like to start by selecting one from each category.

Soft cheeses are spreadable and are best served whole with a knife. Firm cheeses are solid (like a block of cheddar) but can be easily sliced without much effort. You can chose to slice these cheeses or serve a chunk with a knife. Hard cheeses are those that have been aged for a longer period of time, like parmesan. These cheeses can be more difficult to cut without handling the cheese itself, so they are best served pre-cut.

After you’ve found a cheese in each texture category, make sure they are different types. People can be picky about cheese, especially stronger cheeses like blue cheese. You don’t want to be offering the same type of cheese in three different forms.

When in doubt, ask the cheese monger working behind the counter at your local market. They will know what’s available and should be able to provide lots of guidance.

Selecting the Meats

Selecting the meats is similar to selecting the cheese, you want to aim for variety. From prosciutto to salami to head cheese, there are lots of charcuterie meats on the market. Grab a couple different types (again, three is good) and make sure they have different levels of spiciness.

Meats can be folded or rolled and placed on tooth picks if you want. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make it look super fancy, stack the meats so they slightly overlap and are easy to pick up with a fork.

Please do not set out a roll of meats and expect your guests to cut it. You don’t want someone who has been eating from their hands handling that roll of saucisson sec to slice off a chunk. Furthermore, you don’t want a guest that has been drinking handling a knife sharp enough to cut charcuterie.

Selecting the Fruits and Vegetables

The rules for selecting fruits and vegetables are generally the same. Stick with options that are finger food friendly and low on the messy scale. Think small fruits and veggies that can be eaten whole, options that don’t get super messy when sliced up or thawed, and things that won’t turn brown when exposed to air.

Dried fruits are always good, but they can be high in sugar. Make sure to have a balance between dried and fresh.

Good fruit options: grapes, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, dried dates, dried plums, raisins, dried cranberries, figs, mango chunks, peach slices, orange slices, cherries.

Fruits to avoid: apples, pears, pineapple, frozen berries, bananas.

Many of your veggie options will need to be sliced or chopped in advance to make them more accessible to your guests. Keep in mind that vegetables that are served raw will be less work for you.

Good veggie options: olives, broccolini or broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or baby carrots, celery, asparagus, cherry tomatoes.

Veggies to avoid: large tomatoes that need to be sliced, beets, potatoes.

Adding in Crackers, Breads, and Nuts

Go for at least two different types of crackers or bread and one type of nut, keeping your other items in mind as you choose. Look at both flavor and texture when looking for variety.

There are lots of flavored crackers on the market and some of them can easily overpower or clash with other thing you are serving. An onion cracker may not go well with a fresh strawberry, and a gouda flavored cracker may clash with your carefully selected cheddar. Pick at least one plain or salted cracker or bread that will go with everything.

Crostini, aka toasted baguette slices, are a popular choice with a bit of homemade flair, even if buy the baguette from the bakery. You can season them by brushing them with olive oil or butter then sprinkling on dried herbs and/or ground spices before toasting them in the oven.

You can do plain nuts or seasoned ones like these brown butter roasted pecans. the nuts provide a nice crunch and are a good low card option for those friends who like fad diets.

Don’t forget the dips!

Round out the rest of the board with dipping sauces and jams. They add a little something savory and a little something sweet. As you make your selections, think about how your guests may use them. Some may want something to dip their fruits or veggies in, while others may want to make cheese and cracker stacks with a bit of extra flavor on top.

Dips like hummus, ranch dressing, or a caramel fruit dip are all good options. I have a personal distaste for ranch, but highly recommend my homemade garlic herb dressing. Homemade quick jams like this small batch blueberry jam or a fig jam would be a nice touch too.

Setting up a grazing board for a crowd

The set up for a grazing board completely depends on the size of your crowd. You’ll find photos of set ups that take an entire countertop and cover it with food. I prefer to minimize my clean up, so using multiple small boards and plates works better for me.

You can divide things by food type or stick it all in together. When you are serving something that is intended to go with something else (think pita chips and hummus) stick them close enough together that people will make the connection quickly.

I like to mix different food textures, shapes, and colors to create patterns with my display. Remember, we eat first with our eyes!

Image of a grazing board: garlic herb dip, charcuterie, cheese, dried figs, broccoli, cheese, crackers.

Charcuterie and Cheese Grazing Board Instructions

A grazing board is the ultimate menu addition for your next holiday party or family get together. With gorgeous colors, multiple patterns, and tons of variety, there is something for everyone. All that is missing is the wine!

If you are looking for more appetizer options check out my sweet potato fritters, bacon beer cheese dip, or see all my appetizer recipes.

If you like this recipe, please give it a FIVE-STAR rating, leave a comment, and share it on your favorite social channel!

Angle view of a grazing board with wine, kiwi, crackers, cheese, broccoli, bell pepper, charcuterie.

Charcuterie and Cheese Grazing Board

A grazing board is the ultimate menu addition for your next holiday party or family get together. With something for everyone, all that is missing is the wine! AD
5 stars (3 ratings)
prep: 10 minutes
total: 10 minutes
servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • Cheese
  • Charcuterie
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits (fresh & dried)
  • Vegetable Dip
  • Preserves (Fruit Dips, or Jam)
  • Bread or Crackers

Instructions

Select a variety of seasonal products to make your own charcuterie and cheese board at home. Adjust the quantities as needed, based on how many you want to serve.

  • Choose 2 – 3 types of cheese. Try for different kinds, like hard cheeses that should be cut up ahead of time or a soft cheese that can be spread on a cracker. 
  • Choose 2 – 3 types of charcuterie. Salami, pepperoni, sliced turkey or roast beef, and jerky are all good choices. Look for different levels of spiciness.
  • Choose 3 – 4 types of veggies. Go for fresh, seasonal items in a variety of color that can be eaten as finger foods.
  • Choose 3 – 4 types of fruits. Look for options that won’t be messy or turn brown. I like to have a combination of fresh and dried fruit for a little something sweet. 
  • Add in a dip or two. These should be more savory to go with the vegetables.
  • Add in a jam, preserve, or sweet spread of two. These can be spread on crackers, paired with the cheese, or used as a dip for fruit.
  • Lastly, make sure to include crackers, bread, and/or nuts. You can do all the same, or you can switch it up for variety.

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Nutrition

Calories: 150kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

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About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

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