Charcuterie Boards vs Cheese Boards: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Project Party

When it comes to appetisers, there are two popular options: charcuterie boards vs. cheese boards. But what’s the difference between the two? And which one should you choose for your next party?

Charcuterie boards typically contain a variety of meats, such as ham, salami, and bacon. They also usually include some type of cheese and olives, nuts, and bread or crackers. Cheese boards, on the other hand, are focused mainly on cheese. They usually have a few different types of cheese, as well as grapes or figs and some type of charcuterie (usually ham or salami).

So Which Is Better: Charcuterie vs. Cheese Boards?

Charcuterie boards might seem like a new trend but they actually originated in France centuries ago. They were originally created as a way to preserve meat. Charcuterie boards usually have a variety of meats, which makes them perfect for parties or large gatherings. So historically cheese was not a part of charcuterie boards.

And while cheese boards have been around for just as long they have always been more of a gathering dish rather than a way to use goods and they are perfect for parties or large gatherings. So if you’re looking for a classic appetizer option then look no further.

Cheese boards, as well, are ideal for smaller gatherings or as an appetizer before a meal. They’re also a great option if you have vegetarian guests or don’t eat meat.

No matter which type of board you choose (charcuterie vs. cheese boards), the most important thing is to include a variety of items so there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget the most important ingredient: cheese!

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Here are our top 5 must-haves for your board:

1. A Variety of Meats (Ham, Salami, Bacon)

Charcuterie boards are perfect for large gatherings because they offer a variety of meats. This way, everyone can find something they like.
Some of our favourite charcuterie board meats include:

  • ham
  • salami
  • Prosciutto
  • chorizo, or
  • hot calabrese.

2. A Variety of Cheeses

As we mentioned, charcuterie boards usually include cheese. This is because cheese pairs well with meat. A good charcuterie board will have a variety of cheeses, so there’s something for everyone.

Some of our favourite charcuterie board cheeses include:

  • cheddar
  • brie
  • goat cheese
  • swiss, or
  • plenty of tasty blues.

3. Bread or Crackers

Bread and crackers are a necessary part of any charcuterie board. They help to balance out the flavours and give you something to pair with the meats and cheeses.
Some of our favourite charcuterie board bread and crackers include:

  • crackers
  • baguette
  • ciabatta
  • sourdough
  • rye bread, or
  • pretzels.

4. Olives, Nuts, and Fruit

Olives, nuts, and fruit are a great way to add colour to your charcuterie board. They also provide a variety of flavours and textures.
Some of our favourite charcuterie board olives, nuts, and fruits include:

  • olives
  • almonds
  • cashews
  • pistachios
  • apricots
  • gherkins
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • grapes, or
  • figs.

Pate and Dips

Pate and dips are a great way to add variety to your charcuterie board. They’re also a good option if you have vegetarian guests or don’t eat meat.
Some of our favourite charcuterie board pates and dips include:

  • hummus
  • guacamole
  • tapenade
  • Pesto, or
  • olive oil with balsamic vinegar.

The idea of a charcuterie, at least historically, was to use up the leftover meats for a delicious shared treat. So, these boards are flexible and can add whatever you think makes sense but the key to a great charcuterie board is to have a variety of meats, cheeses, and other items so there’s something for everyone.

But. the battle of charcuterie vs. cheese boards may now have a new competitor…

So Where Do Grazing Boards Fit In?

Grazing boards, platters and boxes take cheese and charcuterie boards one step further by adding even more variety. They often include classics of charcuterie, cheese, fruit, vegetables, crackers, nuts, dips and spreads; but basically anything you can think of!

Like charcuterie boards and cheese boards, grazing boards are perfect for parties and large gatherings. They’re a great way to have something for everyone and they’re also a lot of fun to put together.

But, grazing boards can be fully customised for special occasions by:

1. A Sweets and Treats Only Grazing Box

Perfect for a special occasion like a birthday, engagement or baby shower this would include some of our favourite customisation options like:

  • chocolate-dipped strawberries
  • mini cakes
  • macarons
  • mini cupcakes, and
  • gourmet marshmallows.
Gertie's Goodies sweet tooth
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2. A Halloween Grazing Board

This one would have all the spooky feels! Some of our favourite Halloween grazing board options include:

  • spiderweb dip
  • mummy wraps
  • eyeball olives
  • ghost marshmallows, and
  • creepy Crawly crackers.
Pantry Tale Halloween
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3. A 30th Milestone Grazing Board

That would come with alcoholic options like champagne and wine as well as some ‘sophisticated’ options because you be 30 now like an adult including:

  • the fine of cheeses
  • the expensive crackers
  • grapes and nuts (on a board, look at you go)
  • dried fruit, and
  • champagne flutes and /or wine glasses.

4. A Breakfast Grazing Board

With all of your favourite breakfast foods including:

  • waffles
  • bacon
  • sausage
  • eggs
  • toast
  • spreads
  • Fruit, and
  • yogurt.
Melbourne Grazing Boxes brunch
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5. A Festive Christmas Grazing Box

With all of your favourite festive foods such as:

Christmas cookies

  • gingerbread
  • candy canes
  • chocolate Santa Clauses
  • fruitcake, and
  • mince pies.
Platter Box Co. christmas
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6. Proposal Grazing Board

A proposal grazing board is a great way to add a little romance to your picnic.

This board is all about complimenting your cheese and meats with a few simple touches such as:

  • A beautiful location by finding a spot with a view or a room with natural light.
  • Set the mood with romantic music and candles.
  • Add the finishing touches with champagne and flowers.
  • Lift your board with colour and life in your ingredients to show your love and appreciation.

This picnic setup is both elegant and festive, and it will help you to relax and enjoy the moment. With these simple tips, you can create a proposal grazing board that’s both romantic and memorable.

Do you have a preference in the battle of charcuterie vs. cheese boards? And, do you have a charcuterie board or cheese board mix that you love? Share it with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.