Have you found your Christmas spirit yet? Personally I’m loving a scaled-down, minimalist approach to the holidays this year. The simpler the better. Why? Because without the million decorations and gifts and trips to the mall crowding my life, I have more time to be present with my people. And one of the tricks to gathering your people is food. Piles of delicious food.
Christmas has gotten the distinction of being a cute, cuddly holiday of baby smiles, pretty wrapping, and twinkle lights. And of course it is that. But we forget that Christmas also packs a punch. Those festive lights sparkling out of the darkness mark the advent of a King who would break into the despair of our lives and upend the status quo. He would tear apart the chains digging into the flesh of slaves, and He would make our souls feel their worth. He would declare victory over life-eroding diseases and bring earthly kings to their knees. It was this baby who would declare war on Darkness itself. In His name, all oppression shall cease. Hope is here. And His name is Jesus.
It’s time to celebrate.
There is nothing like a charcuterie board to make a get-together special and classy. Without a doubt, a pretty cheese board will elevate your holiday vibe. And I guarantee your guests won’t mind the eating part, either!
While traditional French charcuteries focus on cured meats, the modern charcuterie board is a gorgeous free-for-all curated by the personal tastes of the creator.
Charcuterie Step 1: Plan
First, select your board. A spectrum of colors and textures of boards offer different aesthetics, but I like something simple, woodsy, close to nature. This time I used a plain wooden cutting board, but there are many gorgeous options on the market through Amazon, Etsy, etc.
The key to an exquisite charcuterie board is intentional pairings of flavor, texture, and color. Compliment sharp flavors with sweet or spicy ones. Balance out a hard cheese with a soft one. Plan 4-5 main colors beforehand, then buy your ingredients within that palette.
To get organized, think in terms of categories:
- Toasts and Crackers
- Fruits and Nuts
Charcuterie Step 2: Buy
Once you have a plan in your head (or better yet, scribbled down somewhere), choose a market.
To supply this charcuterie board, I selected Trader Joe’s. If you live near this special little store, you know why I throw up my praise-hands about it. Trader Joe’s has something for everybody. Unique health foods, organic produce, specialty products, seasonal items. It’s glorious. Plus it’s affordable. Always a win.
Here is what I bought from Trader Joes:
- Belletoile Triple Cream Brie $4.07
- Sharp Cheddar Cracker Cuts $4.49
- Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler $4.49
- Sliced Prosciutto $3.99
- Nova Smoked Salmon $8.99
- Uncured Salame di Parma Mild Salami $4.99
- Organic Cracker Assortment $3.99
- Brioche Toasts $1.99
- Medley of Seedless Grapes $5.99
- Marinated Olive Duo $1.79
- Nuts About Rosemary Mix $6.99
- Persimmons $0.79 each = $2.37
- Golden Berries Gooseberries (new to Trader Joes) $2.99
- Raspberry Preserves $3.29
- Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce (around $4)
- Organic Raw Honey (around $7)
- Festive Chocolate Collection $3.99
Additionally, I added some red pepper flakes from the pantry! You can get these anywhere for a few bucks.
And for decor, you can’t go wrong with a bunch of evergreen fronds to add Christmas-y tones. I bought Holiday Greens for $3.99. The Carolina Dry Birch stems add some nice dimension for $4.99.
Charcuterie Step 3: Arrange
Once you have come up with a basic plan and bought your ingredients, the next step is to arrange the board, one category at a time. Because there are 7 categories, you’ll do this in 7 steps, starting with Cheeses and ending with Sweets.
Arrangement is about creativity and composition. The eye is drawn to patterns and originality. So stack some crackers; stand others up on their sides like books. Let your grapes hang off the board like an ancient Greek emperor’s platter. Fold up your prosciutto like little flowerets. Then roll up your smoked salmon slices and stand them up like roses. You can also use shapes as themes, whether that’s square crackers and cheeses or round persimmons and dipping bowls. Notice colors and use them to create balance across the board. Just be creative, and fill up all your spaces with bits of edible goodness.
1-2. Cheese and Meats. (I saved my salami for the end, to fill in gaps.)
3. Toasts and Crackers
4. Fruit and Nuts
5-6. Olives and Sauces
7. Sweets (and fill in your gaps with deli meat rolls, etc.)
Now, step back, or walk away for a few minutes, then take another look at it. Does your board appear balanced? Do you find it beautiful? You can always add, remove, and rearrange until the board communicates the aesthetic, abundance, and deliciousness you’re going for.
And as you get your Christmas party on this December, remember that your yummy charcuterie board is only a little taste of the grudge-less grace and limitless provision ushered in by a Baby World-Changer. Merry Christmas!
The Gorgeous Life is about all the facets of female life in Christ Jesus. You’ll find tips to cultivate glowing health, be more present and alive in your relationships, develop inner and outer beauty, and laser-focus your sense of purpose in the world.