The Daily Texan’s holiday charcuterie board guide

Kiernan McCormick, Life & Arts General Reporter

The holiday season unifies people through cheer, graciousness and tons of food. Charcuterie boards —  platters of assorted meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, olives, crackers, bread and more — serve as the perfect staple for holiday gatherings. 

Wondering how to make an equally delicious and visually appealing charcuterie board for the holidays? The Daily Texan compiled a guide of the best tips and tricks for assembling the most delectably Instagrammable display. 

The Board

The size of the board determines the layout and quantity of foods in the spread. For serving, bread and wood cutting boards function as effective bases for food items. Find these boards online and at stores such as Target, Sur La Table, Crate & Barrel and Amazon


The ideal charcuterie board consists of a variety of foods which compliment one another in some way. For example, parmesan and prosciutto pair well together, as do gouda and salami. Add cheeses such as cheddar, colby jack, marbled blue jack, Gruyère, brie, burrata, feta and goat cheese for extra variety. 

Other cured meat options include salami, mortadella, Spanish chorizo and soppressata. Crackers and bread should accompany the meats and cheeses. Try Ritz crackers or Triscuits for crowd pleasing classics and Stonewall Kitchen’s sea salt down east crackers or Carr’s table water crackers for a fancier spread. Include breadsticks or mini toasts for an extra crunch, along with hummus or grainy mustard dip. Add slices of a French baguette for a delicious touch.  

Add color and sweetness with fruits such as grapes, berries, dried apricots, dried pears, dried peaches, dried figs and dried cranberries. Fig spread and strawberry, raspberry, apricot and peach jam or preserves compliment the cheese, crackers and mini toasts. For more sweetness, sprinkle individual pieces of dark chocolate or chocolate-covered pretzels to pair with berries and nuts. To contrast the sweet, add saltiness with olives or cornichons (miniature pickles). 

Where to purchase ingredients 

H-E-B, Trader Joes, Central Market and Whole Foods offer all components of a basic charcuterie board. However, shop for gourmet products at local cheese markets, such as Austin’s Antonelli’s Cheese Shop

Assembling the board

To start, use larger items, such as the cheese, bread and dip as reference points for the placement of the other food groups. For example, arrange crackers, olives and nuts around blocks of cheese, slices of bread and bowls of dip in small clusters. 

Next, add bunches of smaller foods in the empty spaces. For a more elaborate design, try arranging food in festive shapes such as Christmas trees, snowflakes, candy canes or snowmen. To express even more creativity, organize the cured meats in lines curving around the other food items, or make a meat rose using any glass with a wide brim.