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Why We Love Charcuterie

If you don’t know what a charcuterie board is, here’s a quick primer.  The word ‘charcuterie’ is a French word meaning ‘delicatessen’, and a charcuterie board is a board of food you’d be likely to find in a delicatessen.  This most prominently includes cold cuts of meat and different types of cheese, often served with accompaniments like bread, fruit, and olives.

However, charcuterie boards don’t always have to be about meat and cheese!  A dessert charcuterie board is a great, fun way to finish a meal off in the right way, and is the perfect excuse to indulge your sweet tooth.  While it might require a bit of prep time, it’s ideal for the holiday season. 

Kids love it, and you can even get them to help with designing and making the board as well.  They’re really versatile since you can include whatever sweet treats you like to make the board personalized to your own tastes.  Let’s look at how you can make a dessert charcuterie board!

Making A Charcuterie Board

The first thing to remember is that this dessert charcuterie board is just going to be a collection of sweet finger foods arranged on a board.  You can use homemade creations as well as store-bought treats in creating your board, as you see fit.  However, while it obviously has to be delicious, that’s not the only thing to consider. 

The board will also serve as a showpiece, so it’s got to look impressive as well.  You can really let your creativity run wild here, and there are all kinds of options you can go for.

Decide On Larger Items First

Deciding on and placing the larger items on the board first is a good idea because it means that they can then serve as anchors for the other, smaller items.  One thing that makes a good anchor will be a bowl that you’ll later put some kind of dipping sauce into. 

While a dipping sauce isn’t an absolute must, it is a very good idea because it enhances all of the other elements of the board.  So, choose where you want your bowl (or bowls) to go first.  You can fill them either now or later. 

Chocolate and/or caramel dipping sauces tend to go very well on a dessert board because there are all kinds of things that taste delicious when dipped in them.  Other good choices are fruit-based dips like raspberry coulis – they also help to brighten up the board, and you can make one from whatever kind of fruit you prefer.

Move On To Smaller Items Next

A lot of these smaller items could be things that you can dip into the sauce, though it’s not a requirement.  Things like shortbread fingers or gingerbread men are good for this.  You could also try things like pretzels and marshmallows, but it’s up to you, really.

Include Medium Sized, Non-Dipping Items

The other items can be things that you probably won’t want to dip, like toffee or little cakes.  Of course, if you do want to dip these, don’t let us get in your way!  These also help by adding some more texture to the board (more on this later).

Round Off The Board With Some Sweet Extras

On a standard charcuterie board, you might see extra spaces filled up with things like grapes or olives.  You can do something similar here with some smaller candies and such.  Chocolate peanuts or hard candy can work, and you can even leave the wrapping on if you think it’ll add to the presentation. 

You can even top it off with some garnishes if you like.  You don’t need to eat them, but some sprigs of herbs give a nice wholesome appearance to the board.  Crushing up hard candies and scattering them across the board is also a good idea.

How To Make Your Dessert Board Beautiful

You want your guests to be wowed by the board’s appearance, not just its taste.  Let’s take a look at a few pieces of advice for making sure your board’s a 10/10 on that front as well.

Include Lots Of Color

Serving a chocolate mousse that’s all one color is one thing, but a monochromatic dessert board is no fun!  Try to include as much color as possible.  There are lots of different ways to do this.  Different colored candies are one, and as we mentioned before, feel free to keep them in the wrapping if you think the colors look nice. 

Fresh fruit is also a great way of adding color – strawberries, blueberries, and apple slices on the board can really brighten it up.  You might also want to use a fruit-based sauce like a raspberry coulis, as suggested earlier. 

The garnish is your last secret weapon in adding color and, since you don’t need to eat it, you can include things like herbs.  The green color from most herbs is otherwise quite rare on a dessert board!

Include Different Textures

This means two different things, each equally important.  First of all, it means that you’ll want some different levels to your board – it won’t look as good if everything is flat.  To stop this, you can pile or stack your treats in interesting and attractive ways, put some of them into little bowls (particularly good for nuts and smaller candies and) so on.

The other meaning of texture would be the physical texture of the food when you bite into it.  Shortbread is delicious, but it’s nice to mix it up by including something smoother like chocolate, as well as something harder like hard candies as well.  This will ensure your board stays interesting.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, a guide to making your very own dessert charcuterie board.  We should emphasize that this is just that – a guide.  You can certainly mix it up and try out your own ideas, as well as encourage your kids to do the same.  In the end, this kind of dessert board is supposed to be fun, and that’s the true indicator of whether your board is a success or not.

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