Cheese, please: How to make the best charcuterie board this season

When it comes to the holiday season, nothing brings families together like food—especially a good charcuterie board.

“Cheese boards are such a great way to host because you do all the prep work in advance,” says Sarah Juenemann, owner of Grazing KC ( “You don’t have to be working in the kitchen. You can enjoy the company, the board and the conversation around it.”

Through her business, Juenemann makes personalized grazing boards and tables—yes, full-fledged charcuterie tables—for clients, putting care and thought into every slice of gouda, bowl of jam and shave of prosciutto. She shares a few tips for navigating the cheese case and assembling a crowd-pleasing graze board this holiday season.

Sway Chesseplease Destini Serene
Photo by Destini Serene

Add Personal Touches

Make every board your own. If you have a long-living rosemary plant on your windowsill, snip a few sprigs to garnish your board. If you’d like to show off your family’s homemade jam recipe, fill up a ramekin for tasting.

Tap Into Seasonal Ingredients.

“Find fruits that are in season,” Juenemann says. “For example, pomegranates and figs are big right now. There are also so many fun cheeses that incorporate fall flavors like apricots and cranberries.”

Make It Interactive And Inclusive.

One of Juenemann’s favorite parts about charcuterie boards is how they bring people together around one plate. She recommends adding interactive elements like hummus to keep people near the board. Hummus is also a good snack to have in case someone in your company is dairy-free or vegan.

Diversify Cheeses.

When Juenemann is shopping for cheese, she considers two things: texture and milk source. She is always sure to include at least one hard cheese, like Gruyere or manchego, and at least one soft cheese, like brie or goat. She also says that not all cheeses on one board have to come from cows—she loves a good sheep-, goat- or tree nut-sourced cheese.

Get Kids In On It.

If your holidays are surrounded by little ones, Juenemann suggests making the board kid friendly by cutting healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, into fun shapes and approachable sizes.

Switch Up The Base.

Sure, they’re often called charcuterie boards, but that doesn’t mean you have to be limited to a traditional wooden board. Juenemann recommends trying a bowl or pan, whose ledges will help keep contents upright and from spilling over.

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