How to Make the Perfect Charcuterie Board

Maria Gonzalez and Nikki Kinner, owners of Board in Haddon Township, offer tips for making fanciful meat and cheese spreads.

A charcuterie board from Board in Haddon Township. Photo courtesy of Board

There’s nothing quite like an enticing board full of meats, cheeses, and assorted fruits and vegetables, but Maria Gonzalez and Nikki Kinner are taking charcuterie to new heights.

What started as a monthly breakfast get-together turned into two friends discussing the idea of a new business venture. With Gonzalez working as a respiratory therapist, Kinner bartending and managing a restaurant, and the both of them raising boys, the two began discussing what they would do if they had the opportunity to start their own business. After focusing on their love for creating, the pair came up with Board, their charcuterie-specific catering business based in Haddon Township.

“It’s always been something that both of us really love to do,” said Gonzalez. “It’s like creating art but with food and we’re both total foodies. It’s like a win-win.”

With locally-sourced meats, cheeses and honey, this power duo focuses on creating picturesque boards and graze tables for weddings, parties and other events. Last year, when the pandemic struck, halting social events, the women began brainstorming new ideas for their business. Their Quarantine Box became popular for date nights, while their individualized Charconerie and Adult Lunchables were the perfect meal or snack for someone on the go.

“What’s fun about Board is we don’t have any menus,” said Kinner. “Our customers completely trust us to create a board for them, and it allows us to be creative and unique everyday.”

We caught up with Gonzalez and Kinner to discuss their passion for charcuterie and get the best tips on plating, pairings, and staple items to help you create your own charcuterie masterpiece.

Owners Maria Gonzalez and Nikki Kinner. Photo courtesy of Board

Table Hopping: Was charcuterie a hobby that you two turned into a business?
Maria Gonzalez: We always talked about what we would bring to family functions and both of us would always bring charcuterie boards. It’s always been a hobby of ours.
Nikki Kinner: I started making charcuterie boards with my family when I was 12 years old. We would go to an Italian supermarket and my Dad would have me pick out different things to put together. Cheese boards for dinner were always a thing in my family and now that I have a family of my own, we’ve continued the tradition.

I started to play around with making them pretty, as well as delicious! It wasn’t until I posted to Instagram and people started commenting how pretty it was that I realized I could make this a business.

TH: Do you have a favorite board?
MG: My favorite thing is definitely designing grazing tables for weddings. Because you get to know the couple and really try to personalize the table for them with their color scheme.
NK: Taking their theme and creating decor from food is so exhilarating. I also think boards that look romantic are my favorite to make.

TH: Are there any board staples that you always like to include?
MG: We always include fresh fruits that pair well with the cheeses and some kind of spread or a dip. Anything seasonal or fresh that you can find. I’m all about the cheeses. Nikki is more about the meats.
NK: Cured meats are a must! A tip is starting with a good assortment of cheeses like one creamy, one sharp, and one mild. You can always add in a funky as well, like blue. That way there’s something for everyone’s tastes.

Photo courtesy of Board

TH: Do you have any favorite items or pairings yourselves?
NK: Anthony’s garlic honey made right here in South Jersey. My current favorite pairing is aged Gouda on Rustic Bakery’s tart cherry and cocoa nib crips with Divina sour cherry jam. Or triple cream brie on a thin crisp cracker with Trader Joe’s hot pepper jelly.
MG: We use brie a lot because you can really take it in a savory direction or sweet. Pairings we like are drunken goat cheese with blueberry wine jam and sharp cheddar parm with salami. We also like to pair a lot of our sharp cheeses with pickled items.

TH: What’s important to remember when selecting a cracker?
MG: If you’re really going to be a connoisseur about charcuterie boards, it’s always suggested to go with a simple cracker. Something that doesn’t have a lot of flavor so that you can really taste the cheeses.

TH: What are some items that can be used for a pop of color on boards?
MG: One of our favorite things to use for a pop of color are little pickled sweet peppers and we stuff them with goat cheese. They’re a very vibrant red. We love sprinkling pomegranate seeds and fresh melon or berries, too.

TH: What are some tips you use to organize and plate the items when making a board?
MG: I always put the cheese down first. I love cutting the cheese and making different shapes that can be arranged, like triangles, to make really cool patterns. You don’t want to put anything next to each other that wouldn’t pair well together.

Board Catering is based out of the Soha Arts Building at 1001 White Horse Pike in Haddon Township. Order personalized plates and other charcuterie items online (available for shipping and delivery) or book Board for your next event. Check out their beautiful designs and upcoming projects on their Instagram page.

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