The Art of The Perfect Charcuterie Board: How to Create Incredible Platters With My “5S + 5C” Secret Formula

Create Gorgeous Platters With My “5S + 5C” Secret Formula


**check out these excerpts from the digital article I wrote for Sweet July Magazine published in June entitled “Get On Board: The ABCs Of Creating Perfect Charcuterie Platters”

While charcuterie has long been part of the “entertaining with food” conversation, its popularity exploded during the pandemic. University of the Pacific Professor Ken Albala to “the rise of the interest in do-it-yourself artisanal craft food,” a statement supported by the subsequent proliferation of how-to books, DIY virtual classes, and board-creation businesses that have recently emerged—and it’s all showing zero signs of slowing down.

As a wine pro experimenting with ideas to create the “perfect” charcuterie boards for my own wine tasting events, one day I had a lightbulb moment: since wine and cheese is such a quintessential combo, why not play around with the wine tasting concept known as the “5 S’s” of wine (“See,” “Swirl,” “Sniff,” “Sip,” and “Savor”) and adapt it for charcuterie boards?

With that, I came up with my “5 S’s” for charcuterie: Shape, Savory, Salty, Sweet, and Surprise.

Charcuterie tray 5 (group meeting wine fest)

The ideal board: colors, textures, shapes, and flavors everywhere! (all the board photos in this post are those I’ve personally created for my hosted wine events and personal entertaining)

While the S’s were an excellent start, I determined that there were elements missing from the sensory equation. After further experimenting, I happily discovered those additional elements could all be encapsulated by the letter “C”: Colorful, Creamy, Crispy, Crunchy, and Chunky.

Then *boom* just like that, my “5S + 5C ” formula was born. Curious about mastering the art of charcuterie yet? Good. Time to get “on board!”

Charcuterie tray 2 (girls night in)
The elements of the 5 S’s in the formula are:
  • Shape
  • Savory
  • Salty
  • Sweet
  • Surprise
and the elements of the 5 C’s are:
  • Colorful
  • Creamy
  • Crispy
  • Crunchy
  • Chunky
Charcuterie tray 1 (Italian wine tasting)

Breaking Down The “5 S’s”


Look for soft cheeses already in fun shapes like logs, circular balls, rounds, and triangles, such as Brie, goat cheese, taleggio, burrata/mozzarella balls, Roquefort, and camembert. Remember that you can also transform square, circular, or rectangular hard cheeses into new shape variations, too, like semi-circles, quarters, triangles, circles, diamonds, and rectangles. For hard cheese, look for Comté, Gruyère, Manchego, Fontina, Gouda, and Cheddar.

A mixture of beef, pork, poultry, and fish/seafood options also ensures great shape variety. You can create shapes by rolling up thinly sliced meats into skinny “cigars” or cut longer, tubular-shaped meats into circular coins or diagonal slices. There are even tutorials for making rose shapes using wine glasses, as well as cone and ribbon shapes out of sliced meats. Thinly sliced bresaola, Genoa salami or soppressata, mortadella, prosciutto (try duck prosciutto to kick things up a notch), and smoked salmon are all excellent for making meat roses (as well as for overall board use!).

Don’t forget the fruit, veggies, and garnishes! For this, consider unique food items that naturally come in distinct shapes and/or can easily be manipulated into them, such as starfruit (sliced), quartered artichokes, and jicama (cut into square sticks).

Charcuterie tray 4 (fourth of July Galveston)


Think outside of the box with this “S” as it’s an opportunity to go beyond meat and cheese. Opt for…{click here to get the rest of the tips as well as wine pairing tips!}