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A charcuterie tray is my absolute favorite way to feed a group during the holidays. It’s beautiful, easy to create pairings depending on your guest’s drink choice, and most of all – EASY! If you’re wondering how to make a charcuterie board or how to pair wines with a charcuterie board I’ve got all the tips for you.
Pairing Wines with a Charcuterie Board
I like to choose wines that I know my guests love so if I know they have certain favorites, that’s what I buy. If I don’t know, I just try to choose a good mix for a variety of tastes. For this gorgeous holiday charcuterie spread I purchased Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (the #1 Sauvignon Blanc in the US according to IRI sales and always a crowd favorite), Clos du Bois Chardonnay (a simple, beautiful Chardonnay for winter), and Meiomi Pinot Noir (a delicious Pinot Noir with strawberry and jammy fruit, mocha, vanilla, and toasty oak notes).
By having a great mix of wines, guests can pick and choose what they want to eat based on their flavor profiles and what pairs well with their wine choice depending on their palate. If they aren’t sure, check out my recipe pairings to get started below!
Easy Holiday Cranberry Jam Recipe
Since charcuterie boards are so easy, I love to take a little bit of time to make one festive item that can pair well with anything on the board. Jam is a favorite “go to,” and this easy holiday cranberry jam is SO simple to make, can be made ahead of time, and pairs well with almost anything! Oh and no canning or pectin necessary.
I recommend making it the day before just so you don’t have to worry about doing dishes or anything, but it only takes about an hour to fully cool and set so you can make it the day of if you need to as well!
- 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ orange chopped or torn into pieces
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low to medium heat.
- Simmer stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst and mixture starts to thicken.
- Mash jam with a potato masher for thicker consistency or blend well for a smooth consistency.
- Allow to cool completely before serving or storing in a glass jar. Jam will continue to set as it cools.
How to Make a Charcuterie Board
To make a charcuterie board start first with your boards. I like to set out my wines and boards to see what fits and where everything will go for easy access. Use 1 big board, several little boards or even plates if that’s what you have on hand!
I start by placing my cheeses. Try for a variety of cheeses from cow, goat, or sheep and choose something soft, hard and aged, and maybe even a blue. Cut a few pieces or crumble up some of the cheese. This allows you to have room on the board for guests to cut and helps it not look TOO perfect so no one wants to be the one to start eating.
Add any bowls of jams, honey, or olives that you like. Olives can be placed on the board directly but I just throw them in a bowl.
Next, add in your meats. Slice sausages if you are serving sausage, but make everything easy to grab. Then place dried or fresh fruits around the board for color and flavor. Place nuts in the open spaces and finish off with a garnish. Rosemary is the perfect holiday charcuterie garnish. I like to place my bread/crackers on their own.
Here is the full list of what I included on this particular charcuterie:
- Chevre (goat cheese)
- Fontina (semi-soft)
- Cambembert (soft)
- Orkney aged cheddar
- Castelvetrano olives
- Easy holiday cranberry jam
- Truffle turkey sausage
- Creamy filled smoked salmon fleurettes (pre-made)
- Caper berries (capers work well too)
- Dried apricots
- Dried figs
- Salted rice crackers
Charcuterie Board Wine Pairings
I love to offer up suggestions on pairings to guests based on their wine choices. My easy holiday cranberry jam pairs well with sweet or savory and these pairings are AMAZING with these specific wines.
Pair Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc with a cracker, goat cheese, holiday cranberry jam, and half a caper berry. The salt and tang from the caper berry and goat cheese is just enough interest with the jam without overpowering the distinctive profile of this Sauvignon Blanc. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is sure to be a crowd-pleaser since it’s the #1 Sauvignon Blanc in the US (according to IRI sales).
Pair Clos du Bois Chardonnay with a cracker, fontina cheese, holiday cranberry jam, and a truffle marcona almond. The creaminess of this pairing is a perfect match to a cold glass of the Chardonnay.
The Meiomi Pinot Noir pairs well with a cracker, holiday cranberry jam, a slice of the truffle sausage and a sprinkle of fresh chopped rosemary leaves. The flavor profile from this Pinot Noir pairs well with a lot of things but I love the touch of earthiness in the rosemary to bring out the vanilla and toasty oak in this Pinot Noir. Fun Fact: The grapes for Meiomo Pinot Noir are sourced from three of the top California winegrowing regions.
The great thing about a charcuterie board is that your guests can get as creative (or not) as they want to be. They can create unique pairings or just grab and go!