Creating The Perfect Charcuterie Board

You don’t need to be a master food stylist to master a charcuterie board filled with meats, cheeses, and more!

2 min read



What Rules?

The first rule of making a charcuterie board is… there are no steadfast rules!
It’s your charcuterie board, so feel free to customize it your way! 
The second ‘rule’ of making a charcuterie board is really more like a set of guidelines. 
Some insist that you follow the ‘3-3-3-3 Rule,’ which must include 3 cheeses, 3 meats, 3 starches (breads and/or crackers), and 3 accompaniments (such as fresh and/or dried fruit, nuts, spreads). 
However, if you refer back to the first rule… There! Are! No! Rules! 
Use what you and your guests like to eat, but be mindful of any dietary restrictions or preferences of those who will be surrounding your board.


Now that we’ve established that there are no rules, only guidelines, no one wants to be left without. 
A guideline (not a rule!!) is to not only align the size of your charcuterie board with the number of guests, but also with its intended course.
When serving it as an appetizer, followed by additional food, smaller portions are acceptable.
On the other hand, if it's the main course, consider increasing the portion sizes.

Preparation & Assembly

In the eloquent words of Bob Ross, “This is your world. You’re the creator. Find freedom on this canvas.” 
As we mentioned earlier, the ‘3-3-3-3 Rule’ may be a little too paint-by-numbers for many. Instead, create your own mental roadmap in advance, trust your instincts, and have fun putting together a charcuterie board.

Here are some thoughtfully phrased tips…
Consider the Goldilocks Principle by selecting a board that’s not too big, too small, but just the right size for your number of guests.
Heighten flat slices of meat by folding them into three-dimensional shapes.
Embrace variety with an assortment of flavours, colours, and textures.
Ease accessibility by ensuring complementary pairings (read: crackers and brie) reside in their logical neighbourhood.
Spare your guests the anxiety: if possible, remove any inedible rinds or peels before they hit the board.
Encourage your guests to dig into a wheel of brie by pre-cutting wedges.


Building a fabulous charcuterie board really shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, but it can be done up to 24 hours in advance. 
If you choose to assemble ahead of time, try to keep wet or oily items like olives or sliced fruit separate from dry crackers, crisps, and nuts to help maintain freshness. 
Then, lightly cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. 
Also, cheese is best enjoyed at room temperature, so allow enough time for your board to come up to temperature before your guests get hungry.

L’OCA’s own cheese monger shares her charcuterie board pairing expertise

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