Lauren Ko created the enormous charcuterie board pictured above, for the kickoff of our first-ever Ultimate Charcuterie Collection done along with our friends at Coro Foods. Lauren is an artist, self-taught home baker, founder of the wildly popular Instagram account @lokokitchen, and author of the best-selling cookbook, PIEOMETRY. Check out her colorful geometric style that (as she says) “made all hell bake loose” on the frontier of contemporary pie art on Instagram, and on her LokoKitchen.com website. Her work has been featured in publications such as Vogue, O Magazine, Buzzfeed’s Tasty, and on-screen in Martha Bakes and CBS’ Sunday Morning. We love working with creative people, and it is hard to find someone more creative than Lauren! We asked her for her secrets to creating an unforgettable charcuterie board, and she was kind enough to share her thoughts, below.
PS -- Don't forget to check out SeaBear's latest Ultimate Charcuterie Collection.
President, SeaBear Smokehouse
Snack boards, candy boards, butter boards…boards are all the rage these days. But the charcuterie board–the original favorite–remains a perennial classic and a perfect way to keep a crowd satiated. Here are some tips for building a great one this holiday season!
1. Color, flavor, texture! These are my three tenets when embarking on any visual food undertaking. Pops of color, complementary flavors, and a variety of textures is a surefire strategy for transforming humdrum into huzzah, and they certainly apply when building a stunning charcuterie board.
2. Start with the base. A table-length wooden board can bring real wow factor to your charcuterie presentation, but in the absence of a novelty base, an assortment of smaller cutting boards will do the trick too. The added bonus of amassing a medley of boards is that you can stagger stack them to bring height, dimension, and an unusual shape to your arrangement. No matter the collection, make sure your boards are clean and sturdy.
3. Gather your proteins. A wide assortment of sliced meats and nuts will speak for itself, but if you only have one or two kinds of each protein, consider different ways to present them. Rolled salami, salami roses, and simple salami rows can give the illusion of range. While considering proteins, don't forget adding variety with seafoods like smoked salmon, lox roses, scallops or prawns. Two types of nuts placed in multiple spots on your board can feel the same as five different varieties.
4. Choose your cheeses. An array of flavors and textures–hard cheeses, soft cheeses, mild cheeses, stinky cheeses–present beautifully. Again, if your selection is limited, no sweat! Simply consider the way you cut your cheese (har har). Cubes, slices, and wedges are easy to execute as they are for your guests to consume.
5. Collect your carbs. Bread and crackers in all sweet and savory renditions are key components. When venturing into multiple flavors, remember to choose complementarily.
6. Assemble additional accompaniments. Olives, jams, mustards, and fresh and dried fruits are further thoughtful touches that contribute texturally and flavorfully. Place these items in small bowls or dishes to keep your board neat and easy to navigate. For extra credit, edible flowers and herbs elevate your spread with final punches of color and flavor.
7. Set out serving tools. The finishing touch on a successful charcuterie board is ensuring all the elements are easy to access. Slice the cheese ahead of time or place whole cheese wheels in a spot that is convenient to portion when a guest is juggling a plate with their other hand. Cheese knives, toothpicks, tongs, and jam spoons make for a smooth and clean serving experience.
A charcuterie board can be as complicated or as effortless as you make it! Color, flavor, and texture will elevate your final presentation whether you assemble in abundance or simplicity. Happy holidays and happy snacking!