FOOD

I Put Together A Fall Charcuterie Board, And It Was Almost Too Pretty To Eat

by Desirée O

Charcuterie boards are basically a dream come true for anyone who loves to snack on sweet and savory mouth-sized morsels of delicious food. And yes, I’m definitely one of those people. That’s why I decided to put together my very first charcuterie board. But not just any board! Since it’s almost Thanksgiving, now seemed like the perfect time to create a fall-themed charcuterie board.

For those who have no idea what a charcuterie board is in the first place, it’s merely a combination of meat, cheese, bread, fruits, vegetables, and/or condiments that are styled in a pleasant way and presented on a fancy wooden board — aka, perfect for Instagram and Pinterest.

With that tasty goal in mind, my first step was to search the internet to get an idea of what types of treats people include with their fall-themed charcuterie boards. I thought I’d write up a list of food that looked good to me, then head over to my local grocery store to see what I could put together.

The boards on the internet that caught my eye tended to include items that I knew would be irresistible, but were also naturally beautiful. There also seemed to be endless options. Apples, pears, and pomegranates mixed with cheddar, Brie, and Parmigiano-Reggiano in one display. Sea salt crackers and breadsticks were next to a French baguette, while almonds and pumpkin seeds were scattered about in another setup. In a final spread, there was prosciutto and Italian dry salami with champagne grapes. Yum!

There were also variations for those with food sensitivities. Anyone allergic to nuts can simply leave them out. And if you’re gluten intolerant, you can either swap out the bread for a gluten-free option or just skip it altogether. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can either forget about the meat and cheese or opt for dairy-free and meatless brands.

Now that our mouths are watering, check out my attempt at making a fall charcuterie board.

Finding a Board for My Charcuterie

Finding a Board for My Charcuterie
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Although I have a normal wooden cutting board that probably would have worked as a charcuterie board, I felt like it might be a bit too small, and it wasn’t as fancy as I wanted. But I also didn’t want to spend a fortune on a new charcuterie board, so I decided to check out my local thrift store.

Honestly, I was just hoping to find something suitable and relatively attractive. When I spotted a slick wooden board with funky metal handles, beautiful marble plates, and a separate cheese cutter, it was definitely more than I had expected. And the fact that it cost only $6 was a huge bonus!

Meat Choices

Meat Choices
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When I popped over to the grocery store, I was ready to carefully select a few different types of meat, and I was both thrilled and overwhelmed with the amount of choices I found. I wanted something that was fancier than a sandwich meat but wasn’t $100 per nibble. I opted for serrano ham, pork lomo, and chorizo because I felt like they would look great on my board, and they sounded delicious.

Cheese Choices

Cheese Choices
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Choosing cheese was easy. First, I went with a medium cheddar, which is my son’s favorite and also the perfect color for a rich charcuterie setup. Second, I picked up a jalapeno Havarti, which is my favorite and was also nice to look at due to the creamy color and tiny pops of pepper.

Fruit Choices

Fruit Choices
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When it came to fruit, I immediately grabbed a pomegranate, which I happen to think is the coolest fruit around. Pomegranates are weird and somewhat complicated, and they taste unlike anything else. On top of pomegranates being a feature in plenty of fall-themed settings due to their gorgeous color, I just wanted one!

I also thought dried apricots would create a nice pop of color alongside beautiful blackberries and classic apples. Do you love apple-picking in the autumn?

Bread Choices

Bread Choices
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I was thinking of picking up a nice loaf of bread and was thrilled when I spotted a beautiful marble rye. Multicolored tortilla chips were the other bread-like treat I had in mind, but that idea was derailed when I came across olive oil focaccia crackers. They sounded too good not to try!

Decorative Touches

Decorative Touches
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I wanted to add a little seasonal pizzazz to the charcuterie board, so I grabbed the fake decorative flowers from my fall floral pumpkins. I was also hoping to find a leaf-shaped cookie cutter to get a little fancy with my cheese and was excited (and surprised!) to find out that my kids already had one.

Preparing and Placing the Meat

Preparing and Placing the Meat
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

The meat came in lovely lines, and I did my best to keep them intact while moving each one over to my board. I kept the meat together on one side of the spread and felt like the dark green of the marble circle made a nice contrast to the color of the ham, pork, and chorizo.

Preparing and Placing the Cheese

Preparing and Placing the Cheese
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

I was excited to use the cheese cutter on my board and was thrilled that it worked perfectly. I sliced up a few pieces off the end of the cheddar but left most of the block whole so that those who were enjoying the board could try out the cutter themselves.

The Havarti was the perfect size for the maple-leaf-shaped cookie cutter, so I punched out quite a few slices. I layered them on the board and couldn’t get over how much I loved the way they had come out.

Preparing and Placing the Fruit

Preparing and Placing the Fruit
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

When it came time to add the fruit, I started with the apple. I was already aware that I would have to use the rest of the room on my board wisely, since I had quite a few items still left to include. I decided to put the apple slices along the side of the board. While I initially thought I’d place them inside up, I changed my mind and turned them over so that you could see the beautiful bright red outside of each piece.

I then kept half of the pomegranate intact and decided to remove the seeds from the other half and spread them around the board. There are various ways to get the seeds out of a pomegranate, but my favorite method is to simply cut it in half and give the rind side a few taps to loosen the delicious pods. Seriously, they’ll fall right out — but it can get messy!

I didn’t need to prep the dried apricots in any way, so I simply placed them on the board along with the blackberries.

I also set aside a few pomegranate seeds, apricots, and blackberries for one of the finishing touches (see more on that below).

Preparing and Placing the Bread

Preparing and Placing the Bread
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

I placed the olive oil focaccia crackers in a layered row, the same way that I’d arranged the Havarti cheese. I got a little fancier with the marble rye, using the maple leaf cookie cutter again. The rye was so wonderfully fresh that the cutter worked perfectly, and I was able to get two leaf-shaped pieces from each original slice of bread.

Final Touches

Final Touches
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Now that the food was arranged on the board, I added a few decorative flowers at the top. I sprinkled the remaining pomegranate seeds, apricots, and blackberries randomly around the board to fill it out and add little pops of color everywhere.

The Final Product

The Final Product
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

I was incredibly pleased with my result, especially since this was my first attempt at putting together a charcuterie board. Not only did it look like a delicious spread, it definitely had a fall vibe. The only problem was that I loved it so much, I didn’t want anyone to touch it or move anything!

If I had been able, I would have somehow sealed it so that it would permanently stay in the same perfect condition. However, my family was eager to try out the tasty treats (my kiddo seriously grabbed a blackberry the moment he spotted its deliciousness), so my arrangement stayed in place for a only few minutes before I got a few reviews of my charcuterie skills.

Reviews

Reviews
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

After I shared the charcuterie board with my husband and two children, I asked what they thought of the end result.

When I first showed Kid No. 1 the charcuterie board, he immediately told me, “I liked that you used my maple leaf cookie cutter for the cheese.” Once he had enjoyed a few nibbles, he added, “I really liked the cheddar and Havarti and blackberries.”

Kid No. 2 made a little sandwich that used the marble rye, both kinds of cheese, and all three types of meat. His opinion: “It was good. I liked the chorizo.”

According to my husband, “The presentation was beautiful, and the colors really fit a fall theme.” He also “enjoyed the creaminess of the Havarti” and thought “the leaf-shaped bread was a kick.”

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

This was so simple and so delicious, I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the entire experience. I love the variety of options that can be used to create a charcuterie board and the fact that you can customize it to suit your tastes, the season, or any other theme that strikes your fancy.

As for my own setup, I was happy with the mix of sweet fruits and savory meats along with the creamy cheeses. However, next time I might add some veggies and perhaps a dip or two.

I would definitely use the cookie cutter again since it was so simple and added such an adorable touch, and I felt the same way about the decorative flowers.

Overall, making a fall charcuterie board was a delicious success! I’ll absolutely be making one again in the future, for any and every season and occasion — fall, spring, summer, winter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Hot Sauce Day (yes, it’s real, and it happens on January 22). Honestly, I’ll take any excuse to make one of these again. Yum!