As makers of authentic, all-natural pâté, it’s always an honor when one of our slices ends up on a cheese board. Over the years, we’ve been stunned by the gorgeous creations charcuterie artists have tagged us in on social media.

We’ve been known to whip up a “charc” board ourselves, but we know we’re just one (albeit delicious) piece of the puzzle. To learn more about designing show-stopping charcuterie boards, we turned to the experts! 

The Board is Your Canvas

“I always think of building a charcuterie board like creating a piece of art. Starting with a blank canvas and adding color and textures, sweet and savory.” – Juli, For the Love of Food

“Pick a star of the board, and build around it. The star of your cheeseboard could be a “salami river,” as coined by Marissa Mullen, of That Cheese Plate, or it could be a specific cheese. No matter what you choose, be sure to build your other components around the star to build a consistent pattern and easily identify pairings for your guests.” – Grace, Cheese Grotto

“My approach to charcuterie is a love letter to abundance, which takes into account natural design principles to mimic mature ecosystems rife with biodiversity.” – Clarissa, Grazing Guild

“Add color contrasting items. Just like your dinner plate, a cheeseboard should showcase the rainbow of foods. Charcuterie, fruits, and herbs are welcome additions to add some depth to a board.” – Grace, Cheese Grotto

“I try to find fun, seasonal, aesthetic garnishes like ground cherries and clementines with the leaves still attached in the fall and winter, and fresh fruits and edible flowers in the summer.” – Megan, Silverton Bake Shop 

Get Cheesy!

“I always get a soft cheese like brie, a hard cheese like asiago, a blue cheese, and a few other cheeses in between like gouda, havarti, and Cheddar.” – Megan, Silverton Bake Shop 

“One soft cheese for every two hard cheeses. I find people tend to enjoy hard cheeses more and don’t like getting left with a soft cheese that’s harder to save for later.” – Angela, @partywithang

Make a collection of miniature boards. Miniature boards, made using dinner plates, smaller platters, or whatever you have lying around, allow you to highlight one cheese per “board” and the suggested pairings that go alongside it. This tip is especially useful for pungent blue cheeses, you can build a separate plate for pickier eaters.” – Grace, Cheese Grotto

Think Beyond the Classics

For savory boards: black garlic, truffle mousse pâté, fried sage, and pomegranate add elegance and drama. For dessert boards: raw honeycomb and dried flowers keep things sweet but natural” – Clarissa, Grazing Guild

“I typically like to add some different types of mustard to my boards – an unexpected and fabulous addition. Add something that’s sweet and salty like a chocolate covered pretzel!” – Angela, @partywithang

“We love to add nuts, cornichon, caper, berries, golden berries, pâté, organic fruits, fig jam, and more. For us, food is art.” – Juli, For the Love of Food 

“I like to offer meats like salami, prosciutto, and of course, pâté! I then add a few different fresh fruits, nuts, and dried fruits. I also love the addition of pickled items such as onions, grapes, and fennel. Garnish with herbs! Serve with a baguette and crackers!” – Megan, Silverton Bake Shop 

“Trees tend to grow upward and outward; when placing sprigs, think of them as if they are growing. Hide their “roots” under a block of cheese or serving bowl and position their tips upward, as if they are searching for the sun.” – Clarissa, Grazing Guild

It’s All in the Architecture

“Forests are great inspiration for charcuterie design, and what would a forest be without its tall trees? The verticality of forest landscapes can be translated to the charcuterie world through the use of reusable props, fresh flowers, and stacked foods. My favorite props are thrifted crystal pieces, especially pedestal bowls.” – Clarissa, Grazing Guild

“When it comes to putting the board together, use small dishes or ramekins to hold a few items. It gives you more room on the board!” – Angela, @partywithang

“Use whatever small vessels you have lying around. You’ll always see a shot glass, jam jar lid, or ramekin in a Cheese Grotto-made cheeseboard. They make cheeseboard building so efficient from set-up to service to clean-up. Who doesn’t love that? Plus, those small containers and spoons are just so cute!” – Grace, Cheese Grotto

“Follow a natural, elegant vibe by avoiding anything plastic on your board.” – Clarissa, Grazing Guild

Edges in nature are where all the magic happens. Think of how an edge of a forest spilling out onto a grassy field, with little shrubs clustering along a wiggly border. In your charcuterie board, whenever you encounter hard edges, mimic nature by allowing these to overflow with bread, nuts, or cheese. Overshadow bowls of spread, hummus, or pâté with sprigs of herbs like an overgrown riverbank.” – Clarissa, Grazing Guild

Mind Your Guests

“Hide single-serving Lactaid packets in a candy jar for lactose-intolerant guests!” – Clarissa, Grazing Guild

“When I’m having guests over, I plan my menu, including appetizers, at least two weeks ahead. This will give me time to find out if my guests have any dietary restrictions and to make adjustments. Charcuterie boards’ diverse assortment of meats, cheese, pâtés, and snack items make slipping in or out one or two items easy to do. My best tip is to make sure your selections appeal to a broad range of tastes.” – Donna, Donna’s Daily Dish

“Keep a replacement jar of a popular item to replenish throughout the event.” – Clarissa, Grazing Guild

Special thanks again to all of the wonderful charcuterie artists who contributed tips! If you’re looking for specialty cheeses, a custom charcuterie board, or event-planning advice, these experts are a great place to start! And if you need some fantastic pâté for your next board, well, let’s just say we know a place.

Happy Holidays!