This post has been sponsored by TRISCUIT. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Building a gorgeous meat and cheese board for date night or a couples night is easy to do and can be stress-free if you follow a few tricks. Having TRISCUIT Crackers on hand is just one of those tricks.
Before we added our bundle of joy to our family, my husband and I made sure that we had date night every week. We still do even though it is hard sometimes with both of us being so busy; he’s in an accelerated graduate program and I run this blog. But I love that we always make time for date night. I try to find ways to make our frequent date night-ins a bit more special than just watching a movie once he’s done studying and I’m done working. My perfect solution for a romantic, but super easy date night-in, is creating a meat and cheese, or charcuterie, board to go along with our movie or game night!
What is Charcuterie?
Charcuterie, pronounced shahr-KOO-tuhr-ee, is a French term taken from the original cuiseur de chair or cooker of meat. Charcuterie is a form of early French culinary art using pork specialty products such as pates and galantines. In modern times, charcuterie includes many salted and cured pork meat products, along with cheeses, mustards, jams, and pickled items. Meat and cheese boards are often served with fresh fruits, crackers, or grilled bread.
Meat and cheese boards are, in my humble opinion, the perfect dish for many reasons. Here are just a few:
They’re super customizable. You can switch out any meat or cheese to fit your tastes and needs. As well as any jams, pickled items, mustards and the like.
They can serve as the appetizer for a crowd or just two. This makes entertaining super easy because you can just buy a few more of each ingredient for a pre-dinner party snack - a serving size is 6 TRISCUIT Crackers so it’s easy to stock up and mix and match!. You can also size down and make one for you and your special someone.
A meat and cheese board can serve as the perfect appetizer or snack. Again, this point ties in the other two together nicely, but depending on what you need, you can size up or size down. If you wanted to have an appetizer to a romantic dinner but not have the charcuterie board be the main focus, you can make it small to save room for the main course.
A charcuterie board is perfect served with sliced fresh fruit, grilled bread or TRISCUIT Crackers. I love serving my charcuterie board with TRISCUIT Crackers because I usually already have them on hand since my husband loves them and they look fancy enough for a romantic meal or entertaining.
A few years ago, my husband and I had another couple over for dinner and a game night and we had so much fun! I can’t remember what I made for the meal but I do remember making a charcuterie board because I knew that with a minimal amount of time and effort, I could put together something that would look amazing and feed 4 adults.
Building the Perfect Meat and Cheese Board
I had many years of experience building charcuterie boards when I was a professional chef and there are a few tricks to remember when putting together a simple but attractive board.
Building the perfect board really starts with shopping for your items. I love shopping at Fry’s for this kind of thing because they have such a wide variety of quality items for a reasonable price that I have a hard time finding anywhere else. Plus, the stores are always super clean and the staff is eager to help you find what you need.
When I was shopping for this board, I was asked twice if I needed help finding what I needed which was great because I was new that location and needed help finding the cracker aisle. I’m a huge huge huge fan of Fry’s. I’m sure that any Kroger brand store has the same set of standards for their stores and employees. Shop Now for your meat and cheese board needs.
Fry’s had everything I was looking for in order to build my board. From dried fruit and nuts, to fresh fruit, to TRISCUITS Crackers! And they have a wide variety of the crackers so that I can experiment with the different flavors if I wanted to. I’m a huge proponent to customization and having a wide variety of products to choose from. More about using TRISCUITS Crackers soon.
After shopping is done and it’s time to build, I like to pick out a board that is big enough for my needs. In this case, this board was the dinner for mine and my husbands’ date night-in. I chose a clean board that was big enough to hold: two cured meats, two different cheeses, mustard, jam, two pickled items, along with nuts and dried fruit.
For this board, I used prosciutto and Genoa salami. These meats are super delicious and easy to find in the store. Other commonly used cured meats are cappacola, cacciatore, and soppressata
For the cheeses, the general rule is to have a hard and a soft cheese. I choose to go for an Irish imported Cheddar and a French imported goat cheese. Blue cheese is a very popular addition to cheese boards, I’m not a huge fan and don’t add it to mine, but if that suits your fancy, add it! Other fantastic cheeses to consider are burrata (soft), pecorino (hard), brie (soft), and taleggio (hard).
First start off placing the meat and the cheese, this way you have enough room for the main stars of the board. I like to work from one corner of the board until I run out of meat or cheese. Then I start from the opposite corner and work towards the middle. Have fun and see if you can create curves with the meats and cheeses!
When picking jams, I love going either citrusy and tart or berry and sweet. This depends on the type of cheese I’m wanting to use. In this board, I paired a triple berry jam with goat cheese! Classic and delicious pairing. A citrus marmalade is also fantastic as it cuts right through the meaty flavor and excites the palate!
Now that the main and supporting components are on the board, I like to fill in the board with dried fruits and nuts. This adds color to the board, as well as interest for the eyes. I also add in my pickled items, in this case pickled cornichons and castelvetrano olives.
After the board is built, the work doesn’t stop there. Present your crackers, in this case TRISCUIT Crackers, and fresh fruit in an attractive manner. I sliced my apple and pear thin enough that it wouldn’t be so laborious to chew but thick enough to hold whatever I wanted to put on it.
For TRISCUIT Crackers, I went the simple route because I wanted to have my meats and cheeses shine through. What I love most about TRISCUIT Crackers for meat and cheese boards is that even though they have different flavors, they’re not super overwhelming when eaten with other foods. They’re also non- GMO so I know that they were made from responsible sources and I can feel good about eating them with everything else. If you’re making a charcuterie board for your date night meal, a serving size of crackers is 6… which is a lot considering you also have fruit to eat with everything else! Find TRISCUIT Crackers at your local Kroger store!
I hope that you found this guide super helpful with lots of tips on building the perfect charcuterie board for a stress-free and romantic date-night-in!
This post has other great appetizer recipes that are perfect for entertaining! Check out 18+ Easy and Gourmet Holiday Party Appetizers.