This piece was originally created for Sherród at DEEP BLACK. Keep an eye out for the DEEP BLACK site re-design, where a version of this guide will be featured.
It’s no secret I love beautiful food. There’s something about food that’s intentionally made with beauty in mind — it tastes better, makes the recipient feel cared for, and just *hits different.* There’s a special connection between creativity, beauty, and the foods we eat. The way dishes are plated, how a linen napkin is placed, the texture of ceramics used, down to the hue of a wine glass — these are moments for visual expression that reveal the unique creative spirit of the host or chef.
When I think about summer cooking, there is without a doubt a specific vibe and carefree aesthetic that comes to mind. I can see it when I close my eyes — gorgeous produce that can (and should) stand on its own, breezy nights around a table, string lights, clinking glasses, cicadas humming, enjoying a crisp rosé at a leisurely pace. These are the memories that conjure up summer dining, and in turn, inspire a certain brand of laid back entertaining.
When I was recently tasked with creating a summer-inspired charcuterie spread, I knew the luxe, neutral, modern ceramics of DEEP BLACK would help bring my vision to life. I stuck with some of the tried and true charcuterie board classics, but also brought in some lighter elements that I felt really told the story of summer. The look was casual, yet beautiful — just as summer should be.
how to make a summer charcuterie board: A Guide
sourcing your meat, cheese + accompaniments—
While shopping for items for your board, I like to keep two things in mind — texture and contrast. For every soft, creamy cheese you choose, try to get something firm with a crunch, such as flatbread crackers or marcona almonds. If you choose some really briny olives, maybe balance that by also choosing some with sweet grapes or in-season berries. Don’t forget to include a few pickled elements as well, like — such as pickled cauliflower, mustard seeds, andor just sliced jarred pickles.
creating visual interest—
Building your charcuterie spread on a rectangular wooden block is definitely a beautiful, classic option — but I tend to gravitate more towards creating a collection of different small platters and dishes, all arranged together on a table or kitchen bar. TTo me, this mimics the organic feel of dining with friends at a table, and creates many different pockets of visual interest, as opposed to just one large one.
search for the unexpected—
In addition to delicious cheeses, meats, nuts, crackers, and pickles, mine out beauty from the unique. This could be dried flowers that you snipped, fresh herbs from your garden, or a seasonal fruit or vegetable from your local market that you don’t normally see on charcuterie boards. Think pea shoots, fennel fronds, dill flowers, and or the ever-elusive purple elephant garlic. Unique spreads such as tahini or lemon-y labneh. These are the elements that will make your board feel extra special, and leave a mark in the memories of your guests.