Whether you're looking at a traditional platter of cheese and meat, a sweet version, or even a reimagined gingerbread house, they're the perfect appetizer, especially as the pandemic downsizes celebrations and gatherings.
While the Instagram-friendly boards might look a little complicated, Food Network co-host Katie Lee has all the tips and advice you need to make your own cheese board at home. Her step-by-step advice even doubles as a grocery list — just add all of this to your cart and you're ready to go!
Variety is the most important part of the board, so start strong with a range of cheeses. Lee recommends always including a goat cheese, a hard cheese like an aged cheddar or Manchego, a soft or stinky cheese like brie or camembert, and a blue cheese like a Maytag or gorgonzola.
Cured meats are another essential staple, so add your favorites, like prosciutto and salami. This is a great way to use up any fancy meats you may have gotten for Christmas that you don't want to let go to waste!
Fruits are the third major part of the board. Lee recommends adding a dried fruit like dates, which work well with blue cheese, some sliced fresh fruit like pears and apples, and some nuts. If you are using sliced apples, soak them in a little bit of lemon water before serving so they stay crisp and don't brown!
4. Jazz it up
Once you've got all your main ingredients assembled, it's time to get a little fancy — and what you do in this step is up to you! Lee recommends drizzling honey and cracked pepper on the goat cheese or baking the brie and adding some fruity jam and a sprinkle of granola to the top, but you can do whatever you'd like to make the charcuterie board truly yours.
If you're really ambitious, try Lee's easy, quick onion jam recipe: Simply sauté some sliced onions, add sugar and vinegar, and reduce until it has a thick, jam-like texture.
5. Add brine
The fatty tastes of the meats and cheeses can be a little overwhelming, so switch it up by adding some olives and something pickled, which will provide a touch of acid.
6. Add crackers
Finish off the board with some crunchy snacks: Crackers are an easy staple, but a toasted baguette can bring your board to the next level.
7. Add decor
If you really want to wow your table, use some herbs and sweets to give your board a holiday touch. Lee recommends using rosemary for an evergreen look and adding sugared grapes, which look like they're covered in wintery frost, for accoutrements that add as much flavor as they do design.