Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Fall Charcuterie Board (Meat & Cheese Platter)

Need an easy & eye-catching appetizer for fall parties & holidays? Prep and assemble a simple charcuterie board (meat & cheese platter) with autumn-themed ingredients in about 30 minutes. This one features cured meats, hard and soft cheeses, seasonal produce like apples and pears, plus sweet & savory nibbles so there's a variety of flavors. I've even included ideas for delicious fall drink pairings (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) so you're ready for stress-free entertaining. 

Fall Charcuterie Board (Meat & Cheese Appetizer Platter)

One of my favorite ways to celebrate the shift in seasons is by fixing a charcuterie board (i.ecured meats appetizer platter that usually includes cheeses). It can serve as a snack, appetizer, or even a light, no-cook dinner.

You can assemble a simple one with only a handful of ingredients from your countertop, fridge & pantry (it's a great way to use up odd bits).

Or, go all out for a larger gathering by building a spread with tons of variety that will make everyone's eyes pop. Keep it basic or let your creativity run wild - it's totally your choice!

NOTE: If you're new to making charcuterie boards, please hop over & read my How to Make a Charcuterie Board post FIRST. It has a summer theme but goes into great detail explaining the basics such as:
  • what "charcuterie" means
  • what to include on a charcuterie board
  • what makes a good charcuterie board
  • how to prepare & assemble a charcuterie board
  • tips & tricks for fixing seasonal charcuterie boards  

(In a hurry? Click here to save this to your appetizers board on Pinterest!)

The star of a charcuterie board is always the meat & cheese. You can't go wrong with a classic pairing of cured sausage (salami), hard cheese (cheddar), and crackers. That's an excellent snack or appetizer at any time of the year.

However, if you want to impress your friend & family + delight your tastebuds (without much work - seriously!) then pair said meats & cheeses with seasonal fruits, veggies, spices, and sauces that complement each other in flavor.

Fall Charcuterie Board (Meat & Cheese Platter) Easy Appetizer For Thanksgiving & Christmas

Appetizer Platter For The Fall & Autumn Season

Today's post is focused solely on assembling a fall-themed charcuterie board using seasonal ingredients that you'll find readily available (in the U.S. at least) during the months of September, October & November.

These types of foods are perfect for autumn game days (indoor viewing or tailgating), Halloween celebrations & Thanksgiving feasts. However, many seasonal fall foods extend into the winter months, so you can still make this for Christmas, New Year's Eve & Valentine's Day.

Fall is my favorite season, so it was honestly hard for me to narrow down my choices for this board! 

I easily could have done a whole spread with just pumpkin or squash-themed stuff. Or even pumpkin spice (hello, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin harvest muffins & pumpkin pie milkshakes - ahem.) 

I came really close to fixing a batch of my maple pumpkin butter or roasted butternut squash for this but decided to focus on all no-cook items. Also - there are a lot of pumpkin haters out there so I decide to spread the love to other ingredients. ;) 

Instead, I'm featuring goodies like apples, pears, figs, mushrooms, and pecans + walnuts (from my rosemary spiced nuts). There is an abundance of options this time of year (grapes, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, cranberries & winter squash all come to mind) so take your pick of favorites. Candied pecans would also be yummy while pecans are in season!

Fall Charcuterie Board Ingredients From Trader Joe's

Charcuterie Board Ingredients From Trader Joe's

For this charcuterie board, I grabbed all my meats & cheeses from Trader Joe's, then the rest of the ingredients from a handful of other grocery stores. If you want to replicate my board closely, I used organic Adriatic fig spread (pictured below) from whole foods & almond flour crackers from Costco.  

Why Trader Joe's? Honestly, I really wanted to try their Truffle Salami! I saw it shared several times on Julesfood's Instagram account (follow her if you love meat + cheese) and it was enough to make me drive the 20-minutes to my local TJ's just to grab some. 

(Note: This post is NOT sponsored or affiliated in any way with Trader Joe's. They don't know I'm writing this. I'm just a fan & giving my honest feedback.)

Thankfully, they have an excellent selection of imported cheeses + cured meats (and often feature seasonal specialties), so I was able to pick up four different varieties of each.

Here's what I got (pictured above):
  • uncured applewood smoked salami
  • truffle salami (made with black truffles)
  • chianti red wine artisan salami
  • sliced prosciutto
  • cave-aged raw milk blue cheese
  • triple cream brie with wild mushrooms (porcini & chanterelle mushrooms)
  • chevre with honey (goat's milk cheese)
  • grass-fed sharp cheddar

Fall Ingredients For a Seasonal Autumn Charcuterie Board

My favorites out of what I got from Trader Joe's were the truffle salamiapplewood smoked salamicave-aged blue cheese, and brie with wild mushrooms. Hands down. I was super impressed and couldn't stop noshing on them. 

The rest were just okay. 

Probably my least favorite was the prosciutto because it was sorta dried out. I much prefer the Primo Taglio prosciutto I used in my summer-themed charcuterie board post. 

The goat cheese was good but was on the drier side, as well, which made it a bit crumbly. 

And I've gotten the New Zealand grass-fed sharp cheddar several times before and this time it tasted more like swiss cheese than cheddar. Not sure how that happens! It was odd to be sure. 

Overall, everything was tasty, but if you wanted to narrow it down & only choose AWESOME stuff (and you're also going to look for this stuff at TJs), definitely go with my four favorites from above. :)

Fall Charcuterie Board (Meat & Cheese Platter) - Easy Appetizer for Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas

My Favorite Flavor Combos in This Fall Charcuterie Board

Before we jump into what specific ingredients you'll need to replicate this seasonal meat & cheese platter at home, lemme tell you which ones were my favorite foods to pair together - bite for bite. This will give you some ideas of how I like to mix & match flavors.
  • Pear Blue Cheese + Honey: This is one of those combos that just works. This one is inspired by my Gorgonzola Pear English Muffin Pizzas but the idea for the honey came from a few of my foodie friends who made the suggestion. They're so good together! It also helped that the blue cheese I used was creamy & fairly mild so it didn't completely overwhelm the pear & honey. But if you like "stinky" blue cheese - hey, go for it!
  • Butter Cracker + Goat Cheese + Fig Jam: Heaven! Fig jam is one of my favorite seasonal fall foods and it pairs perfectly with creamy & slightly tart goat cheese. The cracker serves as a slightly salty & buttery base for the other two ingredients. And I love how it crumbles when you take a bite - no big crunches here. In my opinion, every autumn-themed appetizer board should have this combo in some form. 
  • Truffle Salami + Brie with Wild Mushrooms: I could NOT stop eating this combo! The salami, in particular, is friggin amazing. If you love the flavor of mushrooms and/or truffles and maybe aren't even that big into the texture of mushrooms, you'll love this meat + cheese combo. If you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, check any local store that has a good variety of imported cheeses to see if they have truffle or mushroom flavored options. 
  • Green Apple + Sharp Cheddar: This is a classic combo that I eat year-round. Any apple variety works but I enjoy the tartness + bright color of Granny Smith apples these days. 
  • Proscuitto + Honeycrisp Apple: Salty cured ham + sweet-tart Honeycrisp. This will satisfy any sweet + salty craving!
  • Applewood Smoked Salami + Almond Flour Crackers (sometimes with mustard): This salmi was also super tasty! I enjoy eating it with crackers to get some crunchy contrast with the fatty, salty, smoky meat but you could pair it with either of the two sliced fruits.
  • Rosemary Spiced Nuts + Pear: Seems like an odd combo, but it tastes yummy! Fresh rosemary works well with pear & apple - so take a bite with either here, but I was digging the mildly sweet & juicy pear flavor.
I could list more combos, but I'll let you experiment for yourself! :P

Fall Charcuterie Board (Meat & Cheese Platter)

Drink Pairing Ideas For a Fall Charcuterie Board

The easy & obvious answer is your favorite bottle of wine, but I figured you'd want some more specific suggestions (alcoholic & non-alcoholic).

You'll want to think about the main ingredients and flavors on your appetizer board and go from there. I tend to pick dry white wines, fruity/jammy red wines, or cocktails with fruit juices that match what I'm using on the board.

TIP: If you're going for a plain bottle of wine, look at the descriptions on the label first. Does it mention fruits or other ingredients you're using on the charcuterie board? Use that as a guide.

Plain Wines to Pair with Fall Foods:

  • Sauvignon Blanc (I love ones from the Marlborough region in New Zealand)
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Riesling (dry or medium-sweet)
  • chardonnay (unoaked)
  • Vinho Verde, Prosecco or Champagne
  • Pinot Noir
  • Sangiovese
  • Tempranillo
  • Zinfandel (red, not white) 

Fall Alcoholic Drinks:

Easy & Festive Alcoholic Drinks To Pair with a Fall Charcuterie Board & Holiday Appetizers

Fall Non-Alcoholic Drinks:

Autumn Harvest Charcuterie Board (Meat & Cheese Appetizer Platter)

Ideas For Decorating Your Charcuterie Board with Fall & Holiday Themes

Lots of folks use fresh herbs to fill in the gaps between foods so their charcuterie boards looks fuller & more abundant; however, you can use a variety of things while also sticking to a theme. 

For this board, I used flowers (stems removed) from Trader Joe's with orange & yellow colors that are reminiscent of a fall harvest. This works for a general autumn theme or a Thanksgiving meat and cheese platter. 

Here are some other ideas for decoratively filling in the spaces on a fall charcuterie board:
  • Halloween: mini plastic spiders or ghosts, candy corn, mini pumpkins or gourds, stretched out cotton balls to make fake cobwebs, shape the food like a ghost or cutesy spooky character and outline it with black licorice. 
  • Game Day: herbs, fruits, or veggies that match the colors of your team, mini flags with your team's name or logo on it for sticking into soft foods, utensils (spoons, knives, bowls) with your team's mascot/name on it, shape the whole charcuterie board like a football. 
  • Thanksgiving: pumpkin seeds, mini pumpkins or gourds, dried corn cobs, whole fresh cranberries, fresh rosemary (stems + leaves), cuties (mini oranges), shape the foods like a turkey and create an outline around the edges with rosemary, cranberries (make sure they don't roll), or pretzel rods. 
  • Christmas: pine needles, pine cones, fresh rosemary (stems + leaves), pomegranate seeds (make sure you have parchment paper underneath so they don't bleed), mini reindeers, Christmas ornaments, snowflake decorations, food shaped like Santa Claus' face, and lined on the edge with fresh strawberries or rosemary.

Have any other seasonal ideas? Leave 'em in a comment below!

Wondering what to do with any leftovers? Use some of the savory ingredients to make spaghetti with lemon, olives & salami (this recipe is soooo good). 

Reminder: If you need more detailed tips on the HOW of assembling a charcuterie board, please hop over and read my How to Make a Charcuterie Board post! I answer a lot of questions in that one. :)

charcuterie board, how to make, best, easy, meat and cheese platter
Yield: 12 as an appetizer, 6 as a light meal

Fall Charcuterie Board (Meat & Cheese Platter)

Fall Charcuterie Board (Meat & Cheese Platter)

prep time: 30 Mcook time: total time: 30 M
Need an easy & eye-catching appetizer for fall parties & holidays? Prep and assemble a simple charcuterie board (meat & cheese platter) with autumn-themed ingredients in about 30 minutes. This one features cured meats, hard and soft cheeses, seasonal produce like apples and pears, plus sweet & savory nibbles so there's a variety of flavors.


  • 4 different kinds of cheese, ideally a mix of hard and soft (I used aged blue cheese, brie cheese with wild mushrooms, sharp cheddar cheese & honey goat cheese)
  • 4 different types of cured meats, thinly sliced or cubed (I used truffle salami, prosciutto, applewood smoked salami & red wine salami)
  • 3 different kinds of fresh, in-season fruits (I used Bosc pear, Honeycrisp apple & Grannysmith apple)
  • fruit jam or preserves (I used Adriatic fig spread)
  • raw honey (local is best if you can find it)
  • toasted or roasted nuts (like rosemary spiced mixed nuts or candied pecans)
  • mixed olives (I used a jar with a blend of green, kalamata & niçoise olives)
  • mustard (I used stone ground mustard)
  • two different kinds of neutral crackers (I used butter crackers & sea salt almond flour crackers)
  • fresh flowers with autumn colors (stems removed)


How to cook Fall Charcuterie Board (Meat & Cheese Platter)

  1. Pull your meats & cheeses out of the fridge so they have a head-start on warming up (cheeses taste best at room temperature).
  2. Grab your board or preferred serving platter, along with any small bowls (for wet ingredients) and knives or spoons for serving. 
  3. Spread a layer of parchment or wax paper over the board to keep the fats/oils from the meat & cheese from seeping into the wood. I highly recommend you do this to make clean-up easy. This also creates a buffer between the food & the board if you bought something that you're not sure is food-safe.
  4. Slice or cube the meats & cheeses (if needed), then wash & prep the fruit. If desired, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the apple slices to prevent them from browning as quickly (I didn't do this).
  5. Arrange all the ingredients on the board, starting with the meats & cheeses, followed by the fruits, then the wet ingredients in small bowls (olives and honey). Fill in any gaps with crackers, nuts, and flowers.
  6. Serve immediately with toothpicks, napkins and/or small plates. Replenish popular ingredients as needed (this usually happens the fastest with crackers, meats & nuts). 

Did you make this recipe?
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Learn how to make an easy charcuterie board to celebrate the fall season with cured meats, cheese, fruits, nuts & crackers! It's simple to build one in 30 minutes or less & you can make it small or large. This particular board features cheeses & meats from Trader Joes but you can use whatever you have on hand or just browse the pictures for ideas! This platter makes an eye-catching appetizer or snack board for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, game day, a wedding, or autumn entertaining.

Did You Fix This Recipe?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how it went! Please leave a comment here on the blog, on Pinterest via the "tried it" feature, or use the hashtag #therisingspoon & tag @therisingspoon when you share pics to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. It helps me to get feedback on my creations and it totally makes my day. :)

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