With the Super Bowl approaching, many of us have football on our minds. And whether you’re a sports fans, just tuning in for the halftime show or Puppy Bowl, or only attending gatherings for the snacks, we all have our ways of celebrating.
If you’re a Super Bowl party host or guest looking for something to bring, consider a grazing board. You can make boards with pretty much anything. Go the traditional charcuterie route with meat and cheese, throw in some fruits or veggies, or top with assorted appetizers. Make your grazing board as healthy or unhealthy as you want.
So, how do you put together a board?
Who will be in attendance? Is anyone keto, lactose-intolerant or vegan? Try to make sure there is something for everyone but don’t stress yourself out too much. Just do what’s best for the group and create as crowd-pleasing a presentation as possible. And try to provide plenty of variety.
Some of our favorite grazing board ingredients to mix and match include:
Start with what you already have in the house. See if you have any large cutting boards or serving platters that you could repurpose as a blank canvas for your grazing board. If you choose to buy something, start by getting a little inspiration (see Step 3 below). When choosing your board, don’t shy away from thinking outside the box.
Consider mini bowls or plates to break up your board, and don’t forget about adding some cocktail forks, cheese knives, mini tongs, small spoons or honey dippers to assist with serving.
They say imitation is a form a flattery, and we agree. If you don’t actively follow any board artists on social media, some that we look to for inspiration include:
Take it a step further and think about creative ways to present each item. For instance, you could make radish roses (and use that same technique on your meats) or carve fruit into cute shapes. Play around with whether your meats look better rolled or stacked.
After you’ve thought about your audience, decided which shape and sized charcuterie board you’ll be using, and gained some inspiration, it’s time to start gathering your ingredients. Variety is key here. To please as many guests as possible, try to think about the spectrum of foods you can include under one umbrella.
For example, if you include cheese, be sure to include mild and sharp cheese, soft and hard, goat and cow, etc. If you include fruits and vegetables, think about what’s in season and what might be most appealing to the eye. Also think about what will keep its form if left out for a little while on a table. Consider complementary items too. Sweet and salty, fruit and cheese, cheese and crackers/bread, crackers/veggies and dip.
When shopping for your grazing board ingredients, don’t forget garnishes (see Step 6).
Start by placing all of your items on the board while they’re still in their packaging. Place wrapped cheeses, mini bowls or plates, crackers and jars the way that you think works best. If you’re having trouble, head back to Step 3 for some more inspiration.
Next, start thinking about how guests can best enjoy the food items you’ve selected. Consider slicing hard cheeses and meats, ensuring appetizers are bite-size or at least easy to grab and hold, and that everything can be picked up in a way that doesn’t leave guests scrambling for napkins.
Once you’re happy with your placement, unwrap your cheeses, fill up your bowls and plates, experiment with leaving grapes or cherry tomatoes on the vine, and add your nuts, meats or whatever else you choose.
After you have it all laid out, think about what you could add for color and flavor bursts. Edible flowers, fresh herbs, hot honey, truffle oil, chocolates, mini candies and dried fruits can all jazz up your grazing platter.
The good news is there’s no wrong way to do it. If you think it looks good and it’ll appeal to the guests, give it a go. You can also use this technique to make dessert or holiday themed boards. The possibilities are endless.