Making the Perfect Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
If you’re like most people, you find that your stress increases around holidays like Thanksgiving. Planning and hosting a Thanksgiving dinner is only part of it. You also have to get it prepared, cooked, and served to several hungry people – some of whom may or may not always get along.
You’re in the kitchen, trying to keep everything perfectly timed and cooking on schedule– not to mention checking on the turkey, while also juggling the setting of the table and a hundred other tasks – and people keep asking when dinner is going to be ready, are you going to have such-and-such a dish, and why so-and-so is late.
It can be a lot.
Creating and serving a Thanksgiving charcuterie board as a Thanksgiving appetizer is a great way to keep all of your guests busy, and their appetites momentarily staved off, until the main courses are served.
Brimming with meats, cheeses, antipasti, crackers, fruits, and nuts, a Thanksgiving charcuterie board has something for everyone to enjoy.
What is a Charcuterie Board?
Part of the French tradition, charcuterie is the tradition of preparing and artfully arranging cured meats and meat products. The tradition became a popular trend outside of France, growing into a Charcuterie-style meat and cheese board that has since further evolved to include copious other foods, such as cheeses, bread, antipasti, fruits, and nuts.
Regardless of what other types of food are included on the charcuterie board, the main aspect of all charcuterie boards is that they are elegantly arranged for an aesthetically pleasing presentation.
How to Make a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
If this is your first Thanksgiving Charcuterie board, then use this guide to inspire you. The primary components of a charcuterie board are typically meats, cheeses, nuts, fruits, olives, and bread or crackers, but charcuterie boards allow for culinary creativity. Feel free to add other foods to your board that are both visually and flavorfully pleasing and complement the main elements of your charcuterie.
Step 1: Select the Charcuterie Board
There are thousands of different styles of charcuterie boards out there, which can make choosing one a bit daunting. Here are some things to take into consideration:
Step 2: Choose the Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board Elements
The most vital elements of a Thanksgiving charcuterie board are a varied assortment of meats and cheeses, savory and sweet accompaniments, and artisanal crackers or bread. The flavors of Thanksgiving are sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and fatty. Having a variety of flavors and foods available is what keeps people reaching for more during Thanksgiving dinner, even though they already ate a bunch of meats, cheeses, and olives.
Offering a Thanksgiving charcuterie board as appetizer means creating a board that encompasses all of these flavors via the key aspect – variety.
Thanksgiving Charcuterie Meats
A section of Black Truffle Salami on your Thanksgiving charcuterie board will both excite and impress. This unique salami is made with 100% Berkshire Pork and 5% Black Truffles sourced from Perigord, France. The Black Truffle Salami is dry-cured, fermented, aged for three months in a dry room, and expertly prepared with red wine, Armagnac, and a blend of spices for a truly unforgettable flavor. This is especially a great choice of Thanksgiving charcuterie meat if serving red or white Burgundy wine with dinner.
Bring in more savory and spicy flavors with a section of Italian Toscano Salami, made using 100% Berkshire pork meat. The meat is prepared with black peppercorn, white wine, and fresh garlic and is dry-cured, fermented, and then aged for three months.
For a sweeter charcuterie meat addition for your Thanksgiving charcuterie board, try some French Rosette Salami. This traditional French-style Rosette de Lyon is made of 100% Berkshire pork meat that is dry-cured, fermented, and aged for three months. The sweet flavor of this charcuterie meat comes from clove, nutmeg, garlic, and white wine – a blend that embodies the traditional recipe of Rosette.
Add more exotic charcuterie meat elements to your Thanksgiving charcuterie board with Wild Boar Prosciutto. Made with 100% Texas Wild Boar, this prosciutto is dry-cured and aged for six months with sea salt and sugar-in-the-raw. This prosciutto pairs wonderfully with red or white Burgundy wine, craft beer, dried apricots and dried cranberries, and nuts.
If your guests love duck, a section of dry-cured Duck Breast Prosciutto on the Thanksgiving charcuterie board would be enthusiastically received. Our duck prosciutto is made using cage-free, whole duck breast that is air-dried to perfection before it is pre-sliced for your convenience. This would go very well with some fresh melon wedges on your board.
Thanksgiving Charcuterie Cheeses
To accompany the Black Truffle Salami, add some Black Truffle Trufa Negra cheese to your Thanksgiving charcuterie board. This impressive black truffle cheese is elegant in both appearance and character, boasting rich nuances and prominent flavors. This cheese is made from pure sheep’s milk with a cure of 20-30 days, and premium black truffles woven throughout the interior. This luxurious, sophisticated cheese will surprise and please even the pickiest of Thanksgiving dinner guests.
Arrange a section of Manchego cheese on the Thanksgiving charcuterie board, served in thin triangle wedges, to add an element of treasured flavor. The king of Spanish cheeses, this Manchego is the most famous both in Spain and abroad. This cheese is made with sheep’s milk from the Manchega sheep of La Mancha in central Spain. It is semi-firm, sweet, and well-developed; yet at the same time is also mildly sharp and nutty with long-lasting and intense aromas matched with perfect salinity.
Comté, made from cow's milk and aged ten months, is yet another perfect Thanksgiving charcuterie cheese element for your board. This Alpine cheese is similar to Swiss Gruyère, but made across the border in the French Jura region. This is a handmade, artisan cheese with a tight-knit texture and satiny body. The flavors of this cheese vary in intensity, based on season, production, and age. Our 10-Month Reserve from Seignemartin features sweet notes of apricot, hazelnuts, and toffee.
[Read: The Best Salami and Cheese Pairings for Quick and Easy Charcuterie for more delicious salami and cheese charcuterie pairings!]
Thanksgiving Charcuterie Accompaniments
A culinary delicacy, like Taggiasche Olives in Brine, would complement the meats and cheeses on your Thanksgiving charcuterie board. Taggiasche Olives are a classic characteristic olive from the hills of Oneglia, Italy. Frantoio grows their Taggiasca olives on the Liguerean coast 200-500 meters above sea level, where they are harvested by hand. The plump olives are a delicacy due to their low flesh-to-pit ratio. These Taggiasche olives have a firm texture with a sweet and fruity flavor profile that holds hints of nutty almond.
Italian Artichoke Hearts are another savory addition to your Thanksgiving charcuterie board. Artichoke Hearts from Angel’s Salumi & Truffles are freshly harvested artichoke hearts grown in Italy and marinated in pepper and our extra virgin olive oil for a richly flavorful charcuterie accompaniment.
A surprise Thanksgiving charcuterie board accompaniment would be Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, which are delicious spread on crackers or bread. These Frantoio sun-dried tomatoes are made according to the family’s great-grandmother’s ancient recipe: Marinated in their famous extra virgin olive oil.
Another ideal garnish for any Thanksgiving charcuterie is Ligurian Black Olive Paste. This black olive paste is made using Liguarian Stoned Black Olives, extra virgin olive oil, salt, rosemary, thyme, and balsamic vinegar for an intense and truly vivacious flavor.
A little saucer of Lemon Mosto Olive Oil pairs perfectly with the Thanksgiving charcuterie meats you have selected for your board. This Frantoio Di Sant’agata D’Oneglia’s Lemon Mosto Olive Oil is made with cold-pressed Taggiasche olives. This oil has a strong flavor, made with 99% extra virgin olive oil and enhanced with 1% fresh lemon during traditional hand-pressing for less than 0.5% acidity.
Make your Thanksgiving charcuterie board an opulent one with Maison Crayssac’s Black Truffle Pearl Caviar as an addition. This black truffle pearl caviar is made with 98% pure Black Winter Truffle juice that has been transformed into pearls by means of spherification. From there, squid ink is used to enhance the natural coloration of the truffles. This Black Truffle Pearl Caviar is free of any animal products, with the exception of the squid ink. It is a decadent garnish on your Thanksgiving charcuterie meats, and can also be added to a glass of champagne for unique flavoring.
[Read: What Are Truffles and Why Do We Love Them? to learn more about truffles.]
Add a variety of dried fruits and nuts to your Thanksgiving charcuterie board for visual and gastronomic enhancement. Savory Farms Dried Fruits and Nuts are excellent options, with a variety available that includes dried apricots, dried cranberries, whole fancy cashews, pistachios, and almonds.
Step 3: Arrange the Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
There are no set rules for how to arrange a charcuterie board, but there are some guidelines you can follow to make the arrangement easier and the board more visually appealing.
The best part of serving a Thanksgiving charcuterie board is its versatility. You can increase the size of the sections in accordance to the number of guests, select different elements depending on dietary preferences or restrictions, and even pick charcuterie ingredients that fit within a specific color scheme or overarching theme.
1: Add the Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board Structure
Place small dishes for olive oils, artichoke hearts, and other smaller or liquid items on the charcuterie board. The other components will fill in the space around this to create the structure of the charcuterie spread.
2: Add the Thanksgiving Charcuterie Meats and Cheeses
Add the Thanksgiving charcuterie cheeses first, artfully arranging them symmetrically around the board. Allow space on the board between each section for slicing and spooning. The items on the Thanksgiving charcuterie board are fully meant to be enjoyed together, so there is no need to worry about the sections on your board overlapping or touching.
3: Place the Crackers on the Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
Set two or three small stacks of crackers, seasoned toast, or sliced fresh bread between the sections of meats and cheeses on your Thanksgiving charcuterie board. Pay attention to the colors and textures of the different foods on the board, arranging them in the most visually appealing formation.
4: Drop the Fruits, Nuts, and Olives on the Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
Pour the fruits, nuts, olives, and other vegetables into the remaining spaces on the Thanksgiving charcuterie board. Add sprigs of fresh herbs for vibrant color, aroma, and garnishing. If you do not have fresh fruits available, substitute with dried fruits like dried organic cranberries or dried apricots. Cashews, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and pecans are all great choices for the nuts sections on your board. Antipasto options like Taggiasche olives or Cornichons can be spooned into the remaining spaces or put into the small dishes that were first set on the Thanksgiving charcuterie board.
Your Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board Made Easy
Making a Thanksgiving charcuterie board to serve as an appetizer is a fun (and effective!) way to keep everyone out of the kitchen and busy while the main dishes are being finished.
We have all of the ingredients you need to make the perfect Thanksgiving charcuterie, from the meats and the cheeses to the fruits, nuts, and antipasti.
Order your charcuterie online or visit us in our Angel’s Salumi & Truffles store in Carlsbad.
You can also select one of our gourmet gift baskets for a pre-packaged charcuterie assortment that all you have to do is arrange on the wooden cutting board it already comes with!