This “Christmas Tree Charcuterie Board” Will Make You a Holiday Party MVP
Here at The Kitchn, we are still very much “team charcuterie board” — and for good reason! Every party requires that one appetizer or snack that’s easy to put together, has tons of variety, but is also open to lots of creativity and customization. This is why the charcuterie board will always stand the test of time.
One of the many great things about charcuterie boards is how much you can truly make them your own. Whether you prefer to make a charcuterie board for a simple get-together with friends on the weekend or you want to make a holiday-themed board based off of your favorite flavors, you can make a decent board with little effort but lots of personality.
If you’re in the market for a creative way to serve your charcuterie board this holiday season, look to this festive Christmas tree charcuterie board for some fun inspiration. Not only does this board of snacks look super fun, but you also don’t have to search high and low for everything to make it. Just make a couple of quick stops at the deli and snack aisle, and you’ll be on your way to having a very merry Christmas party!
How to Make a Christmas Tree Charcuterie Board
One of the most important things to keep in mind when making this board is that, for the most part, what you use to make the Christmas tree charcuterie board is entirely up to you. Many grocery stores have a large array of French cheeses that are great for charcuterie boards, although you can start with more common varieties at your local market.
If you prefer cheddar cheese over Muenster, then feel free to swap them. Same goes for fruits and snacks — use whatever you prefer or what you know your guests will love. Here is everything you will need to make it happen!
- Cheese: You can’t do a charcuterie board without cheese. In my opinion, I think it’s best to always have, at minimum, three different types of cheeses: a firm cheese, such as a cheddar; a semi-firm cheese, such as blue; and a soft cheese, like Brie. You can substitute these with whatever cheese you like, but the range of textures gives everyone some variety! In addition to these cheeses, I’d recommend also buying goat cheese, Comté, Mimolette, Manchego, Gouda, Fontina, or Emmental.
- Cold cuts: Another must-have for a charcuterie board is a good selection of cold cuts or cured meats. I also think that, for a charcuterie board, you should have at least three different types of cured meat. I would recommend very thinly sliced salami, prosciutto, and capicola. If you want to take things to the next level, I’d also recommend including deli-sliced pepperoni, mortadella, or even jamón Ibérico. You want a mix of cured meats that are salty in flavor but also some that have a smooth texture that’s easy to eat.
- Crackers and crisps: This is where texture really becomes an important part of the Christmas tree charcuterie board. Additionally, you can also use the crackers to act as the “stump” of the tree. Overall, I recommend having at least two different types of crackers for a charcuterie board: one that is buttery and herby, and another that is very crisp and crunchy. This way, you’ll be able mix and match the crackers with different types of cheeses and cured meats and create different combinations of textures. While Ritz crackers are always great, I’d recommend stepping things up by choosing a Raincoast Crisp, a crispbread, and/or a multigrain option.
- Fruits, preserves, and nuts: Something that’s also super important in making a Christmas tree charcuterie board, or really any board, is making sure that you have something sweet on the table. Items like fruit jams or preserves, such as ones made from apricots or quince, are great options. I’d recommend having at least two forms of fruits, such as dried cranberries, or fruit preserves. Additionally, it’s best to include at least one type of (unsalted) nut on the board, such as almonds, pistachios, or pecans.
- Dips and spreads: Another fun element of a charcuterie board (although one that isn’t quite as necessary as those mentioned above) is at least one type of dip or spread. If you have small ramekins or bowls, you can use them to serve something like a whipped feta or a tapenade. Although these aren’t must-haves, they always give a charcuterie board something extra special!
- Decoration: This is where the vision truly starts to come together! In order to make everything like a traditional Christmas tree, you’ll have to use some herbs and other types of foliage to help make the spread look more recognizable. In most cases, a few sprigs of rosemary or a few mint leaves will get the job done. It’s important to remember that these decorations aren’t really meant for consumption, so be sure to buy and use them sparingly.
How to Form the Christmas Tree Charcuterie Board
- Start with a rectangular board: Considering the shape of a Christmas tree, it’s best to use a large wooden cutting board that is rectangular. This will help make sure the tree looks long at the top and allows for room around the tree for extra additions. Additionally, it’s the best shape for taking photos on your phone, too!
- Slice everything small: For things like cheeses, you’ll want to cut them into small rectangular or triangular pieces so that they’re easier to overlap around one another. For meats, however, make sure you get them cut very thin at the deli so that they’re easy to fold and overlap around the board. This will also make the board look more presentable overall!
- Work from the bottom up: In order to make the shape of the tree come together easily, start with the bottom and move up. Use crackers to make the stump of the tree. For the base of the tree, use rows of different cheeses, meats, and other elements however you see fit. As you work your way up, however, be sure to make each row shorter than the last, which will help create the triangular shape of the tree.
- Get creative with shapes: If you happen to have small cookie cutters in festive shapes, use those to cut out pieces from your cheese slices. You could also do this with the cured meats and use your kitchen knife instead. Use this as an opportunity to make the board your own!