How to Put Together the Perfect Charcuterie Board at Trader Joe’s Bend OR
It’s called happy hour for a reason. Delicious drinks paired with bite-sized food? We can’t think of much else that makes us happier. If you’ve hosted a get-together or attended one, you’ve probably seen a charcuterie board. You know the board, piled high with meats, cheeses, and nuts. It’s both art and sustenance, and it should be a trick up every host’s sleeve (or, apron?). We’ve put together a how-to with delicious bites from Trader Joe’s in Bend, OR.
First, what is charcuterie (and how do you pronounce it?!)?
Charcuterie (Shaar·koo·tr·ee) is a French word that translates to “flesh cooked” which harkens back to its meaty origins. The boards originally featured prepared meat products with an assortment of cheeses for balance. Wine, of course, was traditionally part of this equation as well.
Since its inception in the first century AD, charcuterie has expanded to include an assortment of hors d’oeuvres (another tricky French word) on a shareable board or plate served during happy hour. And since the TikTok cheese board trend, they’ve taken on new life––with more delicious options than ever.
Step-by-step cheese board building
You might think there can’t possibly be an art to throwing meats and cheeses on a plate. But the process of building a cheese board requires some strategy and preparation. Here’s how to build one like a pro.
1. Choose your board assembly and tools
Every good cheese board starts with, well, a board. Sure, you can sub this step for a plate, but if you want to have that wow factor choose a wooden board (like these from Bed, Bath & Beyond). Other tools you’ll need: small ramekins or bowls that will hold spreads and snacks on the board and quality cheese knives.
2. Pick a “theme”
This step is optional, but it can stop your board from becoming overwhelming. Do you want to go traditional with only meats, nuts, and cheeses? Or do you want to base all your pairings off what fruits are in season? Or, maybe, you want to try your hand at a vegetarian or vegan board. This theme will narrow down your ingredient list.
For reference, most boards include a mixture of cured meats, cheeses, olives and nuts, dried and fresh fruits, crackers or bread, and jelly or jam. For inspiration, read on for our picks from Trader Joe’s Bend, OR.
3. Find balance with the 4 S’s
These are: Sweet, Savory, Salty, and Spicy. Something sweet could be a handful of strawberries, fig jam, or fruit jellies. Your something savory should be the star of the show––your meats and cheeses. Salt should come from crackers, salted nuts, or other items that add texture and enhance taste. Finally, something spicy could be pepper jelly or pepperoncini slices.
4. Artfully arrange
Now that you have your materials, theme, and ingredients, it’s time to arrange them. Begin with your small bowls and fill with jellies, spreads, or dips. Once you have these throughout the board, layer in your meats (about four ounces per person) and cheeses (about one to two ounces per person). Texture is key here so include a mixture of cubed, sliced, and whole cheeses, ones that are soft and aged, and meats that can stand up to layering.
Next, add in about two to four different types of crackers or breads––”This is a critical building block when you guests start to layer all the flavors.” Crackers also add in the necessary crunch. From here, fill in the gaps (literally) with fresh and dried fruits and nuts. If you’re going with a vegetarian or vegan option, sub out these items as necessary but keep a good blend of proteins, fats, and carbs.
5. Don’t forget the drink pairings
The board should steal the show, but be sure to think about what types of drinks will go best. Maybe it’s a light and summery rosé? Or maybe a full-bodied red can stand up to the strong flavors? More of a beer person––try an IPA or a stout. You can certainly pair it with non-alcoholic drinks like refreshing flavored seltzer water or a heartier kombucha.
Fill your board with the best that Trader Joe’s Bend OR has to offer
Now to the meat of the article (see what we did there?). Trader Joe’s is known for its unique snacks and striking flavor combinations. These are our favorite options to make your charcuterie board stand out (even more).
Greek Chickpeas with Cumin: New to the TJs scene, these canned chickpeas are essentially a deconstructed hummus with all of the flavors of a Greek holiday.
Pineapple Fruit Spread: The new pineapple fruit spread is the perfect sweet, summery addition to your cheese board. The coconut milk gives it a creaminess that pairs perfectly with cheese.
Green Goddess Gouda: Green Goddess salad dressing has a big following. This gouda has all the zesty, herby flavors in cheese form.
Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo: If you’re a fan of the seasoning from TJs, these nuts will add a savory, salty crunch to any cheese board.
Mediterranean Dorade: If you’re going for a more filling charcuterie board, these gilthead bream fillets in olive oil add richness with filling protein.
Traditional Indian Style Flatbread: Instead of, or in addition to crackers, try out a different type of bread with flatbread cut into triangles and arranged around your rows of meats and fruity spreads.
Cauliflower Crisps: For the perfect, gluten-free crunch, these cauliflower crisps are subtle enough to let the other ingredients shine.
Amped Up Almonds: You know how we said to add nuts? Add some rich dark chocolate to them and you’ve got the ultimate flavor balance for your board.
Be the host with the most delicious snacks
Whether you call it charcuterie or cheese board, or serve it with traditional meats or mix it up, these snacking plates are sure to be a party hit. Follow this guide and build your board with unique finds from Trader Joe’s Bend, OR at the CVSC and you’ll have your guests saying, “you made this?!”