The Art of the Board with Tasteful Grazings

With entertaining season on the horizon, the art of charcuterie brings variety and panache to social gatherings

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Christina Hash is the owner of Tasteful Grazings in Vero Beach. Photography by Kim Botallico
Christina Hash is the owner of Tasteful Grazings in Vero Beach. Photography by Kim Bottalico

Are you looking for a simple and yet truly elegant way to entertain? Consider a charcuterie board—a selection of cooked meats, along with cheeses and other accompaniments. This approach offers variety and interest for every palate. Both in selection and presentation, a charcuterie board gives you ample opportunity for creativity and flair.

A local expert in the art of charcuterie is Christina Hash, owner of Tasteful Grazings in Vero Beach. The idea for Tasteful Grazings came about when Hash, a former resident of California, wanted to recreate the atmosphere of Napa Valley wine tastings for some of her friends here in Vero. She put together an 8-foot-long “grazing table” to accompany the wine selections. Her friends loved it, and they suggested that charcuterie could be a business venture for her. Hash soon began working with The Cellar Sip and Shoppe on Ocean Drive, providing charcuterie boards to accompany their wine tastings. That collaboration has continued, and Hash’s own clientele base has developed from there.

What tips does she offer for putting together your own charcuterie board? “You’re having a tasting throughout the board,” Hash explains. Therefore, you want variety—“sweet, savory, salty, and sour.” Prosciutto, Genoa salami, and herbed salami are all “go-tos.” For cheese selections, “I love Brie, Gouda, sharp cheddar, and I would definitely include a manchego. You want a range of cheeses, from mild to assertive.” The Brie, she adds, is delicious paired with a fig spread or honey.

Then, there’s presentation—a key element of planning a charcuterie board. “The eye is captivated by color and variety,” Hash says. Therefore, she advises separating colors. “If you have green grapes, don’t put them all on one side; put some on the opposite side. If you have olives, place them away from the green grapes.” Creativity enhances presentation. “I make salami ‘rivers’ that go from one end of the board to the other, or I do a stair-step effect with cheese.”  

For the board itself, “wood-grain or ceramic platters look good,” Hash suggests. However, she especially loves palm leaf–style or bamboo boards, which are biodegradable in addition to being made from renewable resources—an appealing touch in a nature-friendly community like Vero Beach.

Charcuterie boards combine artistry of presentation with the delight of sampling a variety of meats and cheeses. This makes them a great choice for foodies and a memorable option for entertaining. 

Dessert Board by Tasteful Grazings. Photography by Kim Botallico
Dessert Board by Tasteful Grazings. Photography by Kim Bottalico

Dessert Board

  • Red raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Black-and-white cookies 
  • Petite Ecolier European Biscuits 
  • Swiss rolls
  • Mini cheesecake bites
  • Dark chocolate wafers
  • Macarons
  • Assorted chocolate truffles 
  • Candied popcorn
  • Blueberries

Place a small bowl of raspberries along the edge of the board. Opposite them, stack 4–5 strawberries.

Prop a few of the cookies and biscuits on the right and left sides of the board, leaning them against one another. 

Slice Swiss rolls, place in the center, and surround with cheesecake bites.

Stack the wafers at an angle on the edge of the board near both the raspberries and strawberries. 

Place macarons, one in front of the other, working from the outside of the board toward the center.

Fill space between macarons and cookies with assorted truffle chocolates. Fill remaining spaces with popcorn and blueberries.

Brunch Board by Tasteful Grazings. Photography by Kim Botallico
Brunch Board by Tasteful Grazings. Photography by Kim Bottalico

Brunch Board

  • 2 bagels
  • 5 croissants
  • 2 waffles
  • 24 slices Italian dry salami
  • 4 mini muffins
  • 8 oz. cream cheese spread
  • 2 yogurt parfaits 
  • 1 box Boursin garlic-and-herb cheese
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • Fruit (orange slices, strawberries, red 
  • raspberries, green and red grapes)
  • Fresh herbs
  • White cheddar chunks (to fill in empty spaces)
  • Vase of flowers/syrup jar, if desired

If using a vase of flowers or syrup jar, place on board first; if using both, place on opposite sides. 

Prop larger items like bagels, croissants, and waffles along the sides of the board, slightly overlapping. Avoid placing too many of the same types of items together.

Place salami roses opposite each other and connect with a “river” of mini muffins. In the river’s curve, place a small bowl of cream cheese spread and top with orange slices or berries. 

Fill in the empty space between the cream cheese and side of the board with green grapes. Place the parfaits together on opposite side.

Place a couple handfuls of blueberries in an empty space near the muffins and set the Boursin cheese on top of them. Top the Boursin with fresh herbs. Add eggs and prosciutto in the area between the Boursin and parfaits.

Continue to arrange the food around the board, filling in any open spaces with small fruits, nuts, or cheese chunks. Layering creates a fuller, more eye-catching board. Feel free to substitute in your favorite brunch or breakfast foods.

To make a salami rose: Roll up one piece of salami. Wrap a second piece around the “seam.” Continue to wrap until it starts to take the shape of rose petals. Place the rose into a small bowl or ramekin to hold the shape and then gently fan out the flower.

To make yogurt parfait: Fill a small cup about 3/4 of the way with The Greek Gods Honey Vanilla Yogurt, then add granola, leaving enough room to top with blueberries.

Charcuterie Board by Tasteful Grazings. Photography by Kim Botallico
Charcuterie Board by Tasteful Grazings. Photography by Kim Bottalico

Charcuterie Board

  • 2 packages (4 oz. each) herbed salami
  • 1 Sartori BellaVitano Merlot cheese wedge
  • 1 manchego cheese wedge
  • 1 large log blueberry-covered goat cheese
  • 1 small Brie cheese wheel
  • 2 mini Dalmatia Fig Spread jars
  • 6 or 7 pieces prosciutto
  • 5 pieces Italian dry salami
  • 2 or 3 large handfuls blueberries
  • Red grapes
  • Olives
  • Red raspberries and blackberries
  • Nuts or trail mix for fillers
  • 6 salted caramel chocolates
  • Fresh herbs (rosemary, sage leaves, thyme)

Fold one piece of herbed salami in half and then half again. Repeat with second piece. Connect the two pieces at their openings. Continue these steps for the remaining pieces of salami, placing them on the board back to back as you go.

Slice the Merlot cheese wedge by cutting from the widest part down to the smallest, about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness and place on opposite side of board in a stair-step pattern from biggest to smallest. Place a small bowl of olives nearby.

Cut the manchego wedge into triangle-shaped pieces and overlap in a crisscross pattern along bottom of board.

Cut the blueberry goat cheese into 12 even slices; nestle 4 along the curve in the row of Merlot cheese and repeat with the rows of herbed salami and manchego.

Cut the Brie wheel into 12 pieces, place just north of the center of the board, and top with berries.

Fold the prosciutto slices longways in an accordion fashion while gathering at the bottom, creating fans. Add a few of the fans near the goat cheese at the bottom and also by the Brie and goat cheese toward the top.

Fold each of the Italian dry salami pieces in half and place back to back by the bowl of olives.

Fill in open space with nuts, trail mix, and blueberries. Place jars of fig spread as desired. Add chocolates and fresh herbs last. 

 

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