Charcuterie and cheese boards are a great appetizer or snack for any occasion. I love making them for birthdays, holidays, cookouts, and more. They are totally customizable, extremely easy to make, and look pretty fancy. Whoever said “you can’t please everyone” hasn’t found the right charcuterie combination yet. There are so many different kinds of charcuterie boards, I could surf Pinterest for days looking at ideas. And it gets better because you can find everything you need in one place, right here in Butler County. Jungle Jim’s offers endless options for your board; you can even grab a bottle of wine from their impressive collection to pair with it! Give yourself time to explore all of the fresh, gourmet, international, and downright delicious options.
Cheese is usually the star of the show, along with the meats. Jungle Jim’s has just about every kind of cheese that you could possibly want. They have cheeses organized by country and type. I recommend getting anywhere from 3-4 different varieties. Usually a combination of a soft cheese, a semi-hard cheese, a hard cheese, and a stinky or blue cheese works the best but get whatever you and your guests will eat. My favorite combo is brie (soft), gouda (semi-hard), and an aged cheddar (hard). I don’t like most blue or stinky cheeses personally, but feel free to include one if that’s your thing. Jungle Jim’s even has some herb, fruit, or wine infused choices. Make your charcuterie board as unique as you are! Jungle Jim’s usually has samples of cheese on the weekends, and if you have any questions you can ask their knowledgeable staff! Your board is going to brie so gouda…sorry, too cheesy?
Next up are the meats. The charcuterie meats are right next to the cheese for added convenience. I’d choose 2-3 types of meats including, but not limited to, salami, prosciutto, cured sausage, turkey, ham, or even chorizo. Jungle Jim’s has a large selection of meats as well, so take a moment to look around and grab whatever catches your eye. I’m a fan of prosciutto because it goes well with a lot of fruits and cheese, but sometimes I like to change things up with spicy salami or even cured bacon. Ham and turkey are classics that everyone will love, and Jungle Jim’s has many flavor options. The beauty of these boards is that they’re so customizable; so, if alligator jerky is more your thing, I say go for it!
Bread & Crackers
Another essential item is the bread and crackers. I like to include at least 1-2 options, sometimes more depending on my board. Jungle Jim’s bakery has beautiful baguettes, ciabattas, and other breads that could easily be sliced, toasted, and used for spreadable cheeses, jams, meats, mustards, you name it. Or, go for already sliced and ready crostini. There is also a nice selection of gourmet cheese crackers and flavored breadsticks near the cheeses that would make for the perfect, crisp pairing. Variety is your friend when it comes to charcuterie boards!
Jungle Jim’s has some of the best (if not THE best) quality and selection of fruits around. You can play it safe with some grapes and apples, or go more adventurous with jackfruit or kumquats. Whatever you choose, make sure you serve it ready to eat. I usually choose 1-3 fruits, whether it be fresh or dried. Some fruits I like for my charcuterie boards are blackberries, pears, figs, dried cranberries, and dried apricots. I try to choose fruits that are in season or go with the overall “theme” of the board, but this is another area that you’re welcome to get creative.
I usually go with one sweet and one savory spread. Jams of any kind work well with crostini and brie. There is a selection of jams and spreads already near the cheese for easy picking, or you can explore the many worldly jams and chutneys that Jungle Jim’s has to offer. For a savory spread, I love whole grain mustard, which pairs well with most meats. There is a huge selection of spreads of all kinds at Jungle Jim’s. From hummus to tapenades to bruschetta to chutney to honey to basically anything. Pick a spread from any area of the world! Spicy, sweet, savory, the choice is yours.
Extras can include anything you'd like! I recommend looking at different types of nuts, pickles, herbs, veggies, and olives. Jungle Jim’s has an entire Olive Bar if olives are your thing. If not, there are plenty of other options. I love using small dill or spicy pickles, a mixture of nuts, and some fresh herbs to garnish the board. Get crazy and use seasoned crickets or pickled jalapeños. You can choose as many or as little extras as you want, depending on the size board and how many options you want.
Boards & Knives
Jungle Jim’s has many cheese board and knife options if you’re in the market. They have many shapes and sizes of beautiful cheese boards and cutting boards that will work perfectly for your flavorful finds.
Assembly is easier than you’d think. Soft cheeses can be warmed and topped with extras if you'd like, and served with a spreader or butter knife. Other cheeses may need sliced or cubed, or you can serve them with a knife for guests to slice or crumble as they please. Once you’re all prepped, start with a focal point either in the middle or just off center. My focal point is usually a wheel of brie, but you can use whatever! Start adding various items (large to small) around the board until it’s full. Split your items up into a couple areas if possible, making it easier for guests to enjoy no matter where they’re seated around the board. Small bowls and jars can be used to hold spreads, breadsticks, nuts, pickles, olives, etc. Don’t forget to serve spreads with a utensil as needed! Most meats can be sliced or folded or rolled up and placed around the board. Fill in the larger areas with bigger items first, then move on to smaller items to fill those nooks and crannies. Remember these boards can be however big or small, and can include whatever you want! Have fun with it, try new combos, and enjoy making memories with delicious food!