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Missy Raho, owner of Behind the Plates

Featured Article

Boards of Bounty, Boards of Beauty

Adorn Your Table at The Hunt, Football Tailgates or Fall Festivals With a Creative Charcuterie Board

“Using the word ‘charcuterie’ for these boards is deceiving because charcuterie is the French term for aged and cured meats. These platters are really a combination of cheeses, charcuterie, fruit, crackers and other items ranging from olives to chocolates and other sweets,” says Missy Raho, owner of Behind the Plates in Basking Ridge. 

Raho’s creative takes on charcuterie boards—which also include single-serve charcuterie cones that look like ice cream cones filled with nuts, cheese and fruit, and charcuterie boats—feature anything from candy to vegan options to boards filled with just cheese or meat.

The standard variety of items are cheeses with different textures, cured meats, fruit and crackers. “Beyond that, you can decide if you want to lean more toward the savory or the sweet,” she says. “You can incorporate a variety of chocolate, which is a great combination with cheese, or go the route of olives or spreads as an accompaniment. There is really no right or wrong. It’s just placing the food on the board until it is aesthetically pleasing.”

Step 1 Select three kinds of cheese of varying texture: soft (like brie or mozzarella), semi-hard (Manchego or Gouda) and hard (aged cheddar or Parmesan). Quarter the soft cheese until you have eight or 16 slices to create pinwheels on the board. Slice the semi-hard cheese into triangles. Crumble or slice the hard cheese into cubes. 

Step 2 Cut a log of hard salami into circles and use the edges of the board or of the cheese to create a design with the hard salami. Place the circles on top of each other in a line to make a pattern. Create “ribbons” with the thin salami: fold 10 to 12 circular pieces in half and then in half again. Position them against the cheeses and face them upward with the closed portion facing down toward the board. 

Step 3 Fill in the gaps with seasonal fruit like berries in the summer, figs during the holidays or candied cranberries in the winter. Grapes are standard. Put all the grapes in one place and the berries together.

Step 4 Add garnishes like chocolate, olives, nuts and fresh herbs, like rosemary, or fresh flowers. 

When adding food, Raho recommends positioning some items, like the cheese triangles, off the side to give the board some texture. If you do not have a charcuterie board, a platter, round plate or cutting board works just as well. 

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  • Missy Raho, owner of Behind the Plates
  • Missy Raho, owner of Behind the Plates
  • Missy Raho, owner of Behind the Plates
  • Missy Raho, owner of Behind the Plates