Put together this impressive Christmas Charcuterie board in a wreath shape for nibbles on the big day, or as a lead up to Christmas when the holiday season starts. Easy to create once you've picked your preferred accompaniments. With a bit of planning and some careful arrangement, anyone can throw this together.
Why not try this Christmas hot chocolate with Bailey's whipped cream for afters! For dips to serve with your charcuterie board, have a look at this easy beetroot hummus or this healthy tuna pâté.
What's to love about this Christmas charcuterie board
- Charcuterie boards are popular with most people. It always looks impressive and appetising.
- Great to serve when guests are peckish, before or after a meal.
- Easy and quick to put together.
- Incredibly versatile in terms of the huge array of cheeses, meats, fruits, dips and crackers you can add.
- Can be assembled before your guests arrive.
- Scalable to how many guests you are expecting.
Typical ingredients of a charcuterie board
Depending on the size of your board, aim for 3-4 cheeses. Don't add cheese you don't actually like. There is no hard and fast rule that says you *have* to add blue cheese if you don't love it. The charcuterie police won't come after you. Ideally, try using a variation of soft to hard cheeses.
- Soft - Boursin, Camembert, Brie, Feta, Lancashire, Wensleydale, Mozzarella etc
- Hard - Parmesan, Cheddar, Emmenthal, Farmhouse, Gloucester, Gouda, Havarti, Isle of Mull, Manchego, Red Leicester, Muenster
Attempt to add at least three different types of meat and cured meats. Again, this will depend on how many guests you are serving. This recipe only contains two types of meat as it only serves six. Experiment with salty meats to compliment the cheese, like prosciutto and bresaola. Salami is always a good addition for it's richness and bit of spice. Add some milder meats to cater for those guests who don't like strong flavours, like a good quality ham.
- Parma ham
Crackers and bread
Crackers or some version of small breads are a great addition to your board. It adds some mildness and texture to the rich cured meats and cheeses. Add visual and textural interest by serving crackers both plain in taste, like water crackers, as well as herby crackers or even crackers with a little sweetness, like digestive biscuits.
- Artisan crackers
- Water crackers
- Herb crackers
- Multigrain crackers
- Digestive biscuits
- Charcoal crackers (for the drama!)
Fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts
- Grapes, apple, pear, figs, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries etc
- Dried apricots, dried figs, dried apple rings, prunes, dried figs, dried cranberries
- Cashews, walnuts, pecan nuts, macadamia, almonds pistachio, candied nuts, brittles
Dips and spreads
- Various flavoured cream cheeses
- Extra virgin oil and balsamic vinegar
- Stuffed olives
- Pickled onions
- Sundried tomato
- Marinated roasted peppers
How to assemble a wreath charcuterie board
Note: Although this recipe is specifically for a wreath shaped board, you can really build this into any shape you'd like. Assemble it straight onto a clean table or use wooden chopping boards or platters. If you'd like to stick to a Christmas theme, you can also shape your board into a Christmas tree!
For this festive Christmas wreath you will need:
- A large accessible surface or board that will be big enough to build your wreath on.
- A large dinner plate.
- 4-5 large handfuls of rosemary or thyme (this will depend on how large you would like your wreath to be)
- A pair of scissors.
- Your ingredients.
Step 1: Prepare your surface by giving it a thorough clean. You can line it with some parchment paper, or if you have a large enough wooden board you can use that instead.
Step 2: Place the dinner plate upside down on your surface
Step 3: Snip the rosemary or thyme into roughly equal lengths and arrange it around the plate. This looks better if you place the herbs at a 45 degree angle to the plate, so it's more of a 'swoop' around the board, and not a sun beam effect.
Step 4: Remove the plate and rearrange any stray herbs that would have shifted whilst lifting the plate
Step 5: Start with your largest item first and arrange it around the circle with roughly equal spaces in between each item. Now start placing your second largest item next to the first and follow this pattern around the wreath for all your larger items.
Step 6: Start filling in all the gaps with the smaller items like cubes of feta, other cheese, pickled onions and olives.
Step 7: Chop salad cress into smaller bits and scatter over your creation for extra colour, texture and freshness.
Step 8: Finally, tidy up the circle shape by pushing areas in or out that may need some adjustment. If the rosemary/thyme have disappeared under all the toppings, gently pull the strands from underneath to make them more visible. Ta-dah!
- If you can afford it, use only good quality ingredients. Most items on the board will be had on their own, so there is no hiding bad quality. Don't confuse expensive with good quality though. Supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl sell excellent quality cheeses and cured meats at very affordable prices.
- Ensure there is ample of everything. The whole idea of a charcuterie board is that it should look and feel like a feast. You can flesh it out with cheaper ingredients like grapes and crackers.
- Separate soft items, or items that can leave a residue on their neighbours with herbs or small pinch bowls
- Look carefully at your fresh fruits, like grapes, and remove any with marks on them.
- Personally, I have a pet peeve for food items that look like they have been handled too much in arranging it. Leave the 'salami roses' back in the 70's where they belong. Try to arrange the food in such a way so that it looks natural and handled minimally.
Charcuterie is a French term for a culinary style devoted to the preparation of cured meats. These days, a modern charcuterie board can contain many more types of food to compliment the cured meats.
Absolutely, everything on the board is already gluten free, just replace the crackers you serve with gluten free ones
Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel are bold and rustic wines that will compliment the cured meats and rich cheeses well
Christmas Charcuterie board - Wreath shaped
- 4-5 handfuls rosemary or thyme
- 100 gram Prosciutto - separated and loosely bundled up individually
- 120 gram quality ham - like parma, roma, genoa etc. Loosely rolled
- 150 gram brie - sliced into thin slices
- 150 gram feta cheese - cubed
- 250 gram grapes - red or green, broken into small bunches
- 80 gram olives
- 15 pickled onions
- 3 radishes - sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons salad cress - chopped finely
- Prepare your surface by giving it a thorough clean. You can line it with some paper or if you have a large enough wooden board you can use that too
- Place the dinner plate upside down on your surface
- Snip the rosemary or thyme into roughly equal lengths and arrange it around the plate. This looks better if you place the herbs at a 45 degree angle to the plate, so it's more of a 'swoop' around the board, and not a sun beam effect
- Remove the plate and rearrange any stray herbs that would have shifted whilst lifting the plate
- Start with your largest item first and arrange it around the circle with roughly equal spaces in between each item. Now start placing your second largest item next to the first and follow this pattern around the wreath for all your larger items
- Start filling in all the gaps with the smaller items like the cubes of feta, pickled onions and olives
- Chop salad cress into smaller bits and scatter over your creation for extra colour, texture and freshness
- Finally, tidy up the circle shape by pushing areas in or out that may need some adjustment. If the rosemary/thyme have disappeared under all the toppings, gently pull the strands from underneath to make them more visible
For food safety advice, including guidance on food allergies
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