Cured Meats: I suggest two to three cured meats. I like to go with different textures. I’ll usually get thinly sliced prosciutto and pair that with a hard cured meats (like salami, copa, sopressata). For special occasions, I’ll add some pate.
About 2 oz of meat per person will suffice.
Cheeses: I let the cheese be the star. Think variety in terms of textures and milks. Try to incorporate at least one soft (or semi-soft) cheese and one hard cheese. Pick cheeses made from different milks: cow, sheep, goat, or a mixture.
About 3 – 4 oz of cheese per person is a good serving.
Bread or Crackers: Keep the bread and/or crackers simple. Thin slices of baguette, plain breadsticks, or toast is great. Choose crackers that are light on flavor so you can highlight the meats and cheeses. These are nice accompaniments that provide additional crunch and texture.
Olives & Pickles: Olives and other pickled snacks provide a great contrast to the rich meats and cheeses. Think of this like a palate cleanser. The sharp sour notes will cut through the richness of the other items. (Cornichons are a great choice!)
Honey & Jams: For sweetness, add honey and one jam/preserve. If you’re serving brie or blue cheese, honey is much appreciated. Keep the honey and jam in separate containers. As nice as it looks poured onto a board, it ends up creating a huge mess.
Nuts: Marcona almonds are my favorite and they’re a staple on all my meat and cheese boards. Add whatever nut you prefer- walnuts, pistachios, pecans. These are another delicious way to incorporate crunch and textural variety.
Fruits: Grapes, raisins, dried figs, and dried apricots are standard. Depending on the season, it’s great to incorporate fresh fruits like peaches, nectarines, and cherries.