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Charcuterie Board Ideas for Your Next Whiskey Tasting Party

by Jim Casey
Charcuterie Board Ideas for Your Next Whiskey Tasting Party
(photo by Outsider)

The world would be a better place if a charcuterie board was mandatory at every gathering of two or more people. And when alcohol is the catalyst for the gathering—like a whiskey-tasting party—the board needs to bring it.

Building a charcuterie board for your whiskey-loving cohorts doesn’t need to break your brain or bank. Keep it simple. Keep it under $50. And keep the bourbon flowing while you nosh on an assortment of cured meats, cheeses, chocolates, and snacks.

Of course, if you’re looking for a solid sampling of whiskeys to feature at your party, check out our in-depth Whiskey Reviews.

You Don’t Need a Theme

photo by Outsider

Forget the themes. The whiskey is the star. So have some fun with the food. One of the great things about sampling multiple whiskeys at a gathering of friends is the plethora of varied notes on their noses and palates. Seriously, you’ll hear it all from your merry troupe of tasters, including sweet, nutty, savory, smokey, tannic, smooth, and more. So try to feature foods that accentuate some of those smells and tastes, as well as a couple of neutral-tasting offerings—like flat bread or crackers—that will help cleanse the palate.

When you start building your board, focus on foods in the middle of the flavor spectrum. You may want to stay away from the overbearing flavors of stinky cheeses, spicy chips, sour fruits, or pungent candy. However, the first rule of charcuterie is there are no rules, so break out the Limburger, licorice, and lemons, if you want.

Raid Your Pantry & Fridge Before Hitting the Store

photo by Outsider

Before you hit the store, take stock of what’s in your fridge and pantry. Odds are, you already have a handful of items that beg to be featured on the board, such as olives, crackers, chocolate, and fruit.

Our pantry and fridge yielded Animal Crackers, Goldfish Crackers, green pea crisps, assorted raw nuts, apples, grapes, green olives, and a dark chocolate bar. Total score.

At the store, we picked up a trifecta of cured meats (prosciutto, salami, and capicola), two cheeses (Swiss and Parmesan), dried figs, pretzel sticks, butter crackers, flat bread, and M&M’s (peanut, milk chocolate, and peanut butter).

This board will have plenty of sweet (fruit, chocolate), savory (meats, cheese), salty (pretzels, olives), and neutral (flat bread, crackers) flavors, as well as a touch of umami (pea crisps) and earthiness (raw nuts). And, in case you’re wondering, the offbeat choices of Animal Crackers, Goldfish Crackers, and M&M’s will be gobbled up immediately.

We stayed away from some popular charcuterie staples like spiced nuts, pickles, flavored chips, and messy spreads (honey and jam). Again, feel free to add ’em, but we want the whiskey to be our flavor star.

Build Your Charcuterie Board

photo by Outsider
  • Cotton Candy Grapes
  • Champagne Grapes
  • Red Delicious Apple Slices
  • Golden Delicious Apple Slices
  • Turkish Dried Figs
  • Castelvetrano Olives
  • Assorted Raw Nuts
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Prosciutto
  • Salami
  • Capicola
  • White Flat Bread
  • Goldfish Crackers
  • Butter Crackers
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Green Pea Crisps
  • Animal Crackers
  • M&M’s
  • Dark Chocolate Bar
photo by Outsider