For someone whose life is governed by aesthetics, scrolling on Pinterest is my idea of an American pastime, organizing the different ideas in my brain into a variety of visually pleasing images and those images into an aesthetically pleasing collection of boards. And like any good Pinterest user, I am captivated by the intricately planned out and executed charcuterie boards that populate the endless feed of Pinterest worthy images. Coincidentally, a Pinterest board is quite similar to a charcuterie board, replacing delicatessen delights with beautiful pictures. So, recognizing my ability to create an Instagram worthy Pinterest board, I decided to take on the challenge of going the opposite direction: making a Pinterest worthy charcuterie board.  

Jennifer Kim

Fill the Entire Board

When creating a charcuterie board, it is important that the entire board is covered. It should be flat, but any shape will do. By filling the entire board, the focus will be on the art that is created by the food and nothing else. Remember, a charcuterie board is first about the charcuterie and less about the board, which means that the board should be barely visible. I would suggest getting slightly more than you think you will need to create the board. That way, you won’t run out—and there’s always the excitement of leftovers. There should also be roughly the same quantity of ingredients per category: meat, cheese, fruit and bread. For meats and cheeses, it is aesthetically pleasing to work in odd numbers, keeping the number of each to three or five. For this board, I decided on three cheeses and three meats. 

Jennifer Kim

Start with the Cheese and Build Around It

First place the cheese on the board, creating some type of triangle with each of the cheeses. It doesn’t have to be perfect and can have different lengths on each side, but it should loosely resemble a triangle, in other words, don’t put the cheese in a straight line. This will create depth to the charcuterie board, drawing the eye towards different areas. After the cheese is down, identify common curves, which will be helpful in creating the rest of the board. 

Jennifer Kim

Fill Up Your Board

Align your meats and any sliced bread or crackers along these curves, layering them one atop the other to eliminate gaps between each slice. After this is done, there should be a few spaces left of varied shapes. These will be filled with more oddly shaped ingredients such as different fruits, nuts, and vegetables likes olives or pickles. If you are making a dessert board, these spaces could be filled by small candies or donut holes. You can also include small decorative items such as American flag toothpicks for different patriotic holidays or drink umbrellas for a summer party.

Jennifer Kim

Tips to Make Your Board Go Pro

• Don't group each category together in order to create variation and a more aesthetic layout with the different ingredients

• Try to draw the eye with different colors. For example, red strawberries and meat, green grapes and pickles, and neutrals with the cheese and bread

• Add additional containers like bowls or miniature mason jars for smaller items and to create more defined separation and height between the ingredients 

Most importantly, get as creative as you’d like, impressing your guests with your own artistic flair and charcuterie expertise.