Fuel Your New Year's Eve Party with an Epic Cheese and Charcuterie Board—Here's How to Make the Best Spread

It's the most delicious way to keep the festivities going!

charcuterie board on table
Photo: sveta_zarzamora / Getty Images

Festive New Year's cocktails go down much better when paired with a cheese and charcuterie board loaded with tasty snacks and nibbles. Simple to put together yet super impressive, these beautiful spreads can fuel the party from its start until well past the midnight hour. Begin by assembling top-notch meats and cheeses, then add extras that complement each bite and a few special touches and seasonal garnishes to bring a celebratory vibe to the board. This interactive board works no matter the size of the party—just add more snacks for larger crowds—set out small plates and napkins, pop a bottle of bubbly or two, and let guests help themselves.

Ready to ring in the New Year in style? Here are our tips for assembling a festive New Year's Eve cheese and charcuterie board.

Start with Cheese and Charcuterie

To anchor the board, hit up a specialty store or your local grocery and select three to five different cheeses and two to five different types of charcuterie. For both visual appeal and to ensure the board doesn't cause palate fatigue, select cheeses and charcuteries that have different appearances, flavors, and textures. If you're not sure what to get, ask the cheesemonger. Here is a general guide. For starters, select a soft, ripe cheese like a triple creme brie, a hard aged cheese, and a more robust cheese like a blue or goat cheese. To draw your guests in with intrigue, look for cheeses with cool looking rinds, like ash encrusted goat cheese or try one infused with flavor, truffled cheeses are always a hit. In general, on boards like this it is best to cut up firmer cheeses into one to two bite sized pieces so your guests don't have to do anything but grab and enjoy. However, softer cheeses that get soft or even melty at room temperature should be served whole with a cheese knife.

As for the charcuterie, we like to choose one type that is smooth and almost melts in your mouth like a prosciutto, speck, or jamon iberico, which should all be sliced very thinly—ask them to do it for you at the meat counter. Slice up a hard salami like soppressata and spiral the slices around the board. Drape thinly sliced salami like mortadella or put out pâté, sliced or in a container with a small knife for spreading.

Complement Bites with Sweet and Sour

Sweet and tangy notes offset richer, savory bites of cheese and meat. For sweet, add a bowl of jam like fig, cherry, or festive cranberry to the mix; a beautiful bowl of amber-colored honey or honeycomb would work, too. Scatter pickled items like olives, cornichons, or pickled vegetables on the board or contain them in a bowl. The latter is best if they are wet with oil or brine.

Arrange Dips on the Board

Dips bring another element of snacking to cheese and charcuterie boards, allowing guests to spread them onto their bites or enjoy alone with crackers or crudités. They are a particularly great addition if some guests don't eat dairy and/or meat. Hummus is a crowd pleasing standby, but since it's New Year's Eve, dress it up by making this bright yellow Beet and Tahini Dip instead or preparing fancier spreads like our Labneh Dip with Caramelized Onion and Fennel which is a sophisticated take on french onion dip or a tasty Salmon and Crème Fraîche Dip. Both can be prepared the night before and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

Don't Forget Fruits, Vegetables, and Carbs

Now that you have the cheese, charcuterie, and spreads down, you're going to need something to enjoy them on. Crunchy crackers and slices of baguette complement anything on the board. Make sure to add in a gluten free cracker if guests have dietary restrictions. Cut up vegetables and seasonal fruit like grapes, apples, and pears contribute both a burst of color and a crunchy, healthy sidekick to the rest of the board. Dried citrus chips, kumquats, or mini mandarins are a beautiful way to add citrus into the mix.

Pile on Plenty of Great Snacks and Seasonal Finishes

For a bountiful look, fill in any gaps on the board with roasted nuts and dried fruits. Completely optional, but beautiful, fragrant fresh rosemary sprigs bring a nice element of seasonality to the board.

Finish the Board with Something Luxurious

We normally keep cheese and charcuterie boards to well selected basics. However, New Year's Eve is a time to celebrate and indulge, and the perfect opportunity to take your board up a notch by including a few assembled finger foods cascading down the board. It's like passed appetizers but without the need for passing them. A bowl of shrimp cocktail would be a lovely addition or try our Japanese Shrimp Toast, Potato Chip and Pimiento Mini Crab Cakes, or Spanish Chorizo Balls.

Enlist Reinforcements!

New Year's eve is all about longevity—parties often start early and end late with guests eating in waves as their initial snacking and drinks settle in. Buy extras and check in on the board mid party to restock any crowd favorite as the night goes on.

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