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Traditionally, “charcuterie” refers to an assortment of prepared meats. Today, it often means a selection of meats, cheeses, and accompaniments arranged attractively on a board or platter. These fun and decorative displays make beautiful centerpieces and are popular for serving as an appetizer or snack at parties. Further, they appeal to many people because of the variety of snacks presented.
If you know someone who likes to entertain or enjoys specialty snacks, a charcuterie basket is a fantastic gift idea. You can personalize it to their preferences and introduce interesting pairings to delight their taste buds.
Are you looking for ideas about what to put in a charcuterie gift basket? Use these suggestions to create an incredible gift any foodie will love.
Before we get to recommendations for gift basket contents, here are a few general tips to keep in mind.
Quality is key. Charcuterie is meant to be savored, so give the best quality ingredients you can find.
Give variety. Create interest with a mix of flavors, colors, and textures. This is what makes a charcuterie board special!
Personalize it. For adventurous foodies, include some unique elements. For less daring eaters, keep it simple with classic ingredients.
Choose shelf-stable ingredients. Some items require refrigeration, but for a gift basket, non-perishable goods when possible.
Pay attention to packaging. Improve the appeal of your basket by choosing items with attractive packaging that coordinate well.
Shop local. Visit your local meat and cheese shop or specialty grocery store to find the best selection of unique, quality ingredients.
Prepared meats are the main attraction of a charcuterie board, so make them the center of attention in your gift basket. Choose a few varieties of cured meats, such as salami and ham. Favorites include prosciutto, pepperoni, cured chorizo, capicola, soppressata, and summer sausage.
Next, pick an assortment of cheeses that will pair well with your selected meats. Add variety with a mix of hard and soft cheeses from different animals. Popular cheeses for a charcuterie board include parmesan, aged gouda, gruyere, manchego, havarti, muenster, gorgonzola, and goat cheese.
Crackers make an excellent addition to an appetizer gift basket because they are a great vehicle for all those delicious meats, cheeses, and accompaniments. Keep it interesting by giving crackers in different flavors, shapes, sizes, and textures. Other options include pita, mini toast, breadsticks, and pretzels.
Fill in the rest of your basket with a mix of sweet and savory accompaniments to snack on. Common additions include:
- Nuts (plain or candied)
- Olives and pickled vegetables
- Savory dips and spreads (spicy mustard, hummus, tapenade, bruschetta)
- Seasonally fresh fruit and berries Dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, figs)
- Sweet dips and spreads (jam, jelly, marmalade, honey)
Gourmet ingredients are not the only thing you need to make an impressive charcuterie board. To complete your gift basket, you can also include serving tools such as cheese knives, forks, and toothpicks or serving containers in varying sizes and shapes. Finally, if space and budget allow, you can include a board or platter to arrange all their delicious snacks.
You can’t go wrong with a classic charcuterie board, but if you want to try something different, create a themed basket. For example, select delicious seasonal ingredients to celebrate spring, summer, fall, or winter. Or, honor a holiday by choosing flavors and colors that represent the occasion. The themes and combinations you can create when making a gift basket are endless, so have some fun and get creative!
When arranging a charcuterie gift basket, give it a classy and creative presentation to match the contents. A wooden crate or rustic box makes an excellent container for holding all the gourmet ingredients. Carpenter Core offers a wide selection of sizes, styles, and finishes so that you can choose the perfect fit for your gift.
This collection is pictured in a 16 in x 13 ¼ in x 3 ½ in small wooden crate by Carpenter Core.
To arrange, first, fill in the base of the container. Line it with a fabric napkin for an elegant backdrop, then fill the container with craft paper shred to create a cushion. Next, carefully arrange the charcuterie ingredients, beginning with the meats and cheeses to give them prime placement and then filling in with the smaller accompaniments. Finish by wrapping with cellophane if you choose. See 4 Easy steps to arrange impressive gift baskets for more arranging tips.
Now that you know what to put in a charcuterie gift basket and how to arrange it, give it a try! This fun and tasteful gift is sure to be a favorite.