How to Build a Winning Charcuterie Board for Super Bowl Sunday

All photos by Cristiana Caruso

When the Charcuterie Board hits the table during your Super Bowl party in Westchester, it’s hard to concentrate on passes and touchdowns.

Cheese has been a part of my life since well before I could talk. When I was a teething tot, my nonna would give me the rind of a parmesan wedge to gnaw on. In my adulthood, I’ve been known to keep a bottle of Lactaid supplements in my purse for any dairy dabbling of the charcuterie variety. However, it wasn’t until I studied under the Big Cheese herself, Tenaya Darlington — known by her alias Madame Fromage — that I understood the intricacies and art of cheese (and gained ten pounds, but neither here nor there).

The knowledge from that tutelage I am now passing along to you, to wow your friends and astonish your family by creating a Super Bowl charcuterie board that will be talked about in group chats indefinitely. By reaching for cheeses that mimic beloved game day snacks with a quick nod to the showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, you’ll have a board that is not only complementary of flavor profiles but full of flair. Here’s how to make it:

Cheeses

Yancey’s Fancy Buffalo Wing Hot Sauce Cheddar (Stop & Shop)

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Pizza Bread Cheese (Trader Joe’s)

Wyngaard Affiné Mustard Dill (Stop & Shop)

Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog (DeCicco & Sons)

St. Clemens Danish Havarti with Dill (DeCicco & Sons)

Creamy Toscano soaked in Syrah (Trader Joe’s)

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La Bonne Vie Brie (Stop & Shop)

Meats

Spicy salami with Calabrian chilies and sweet sopressata (both Trader Joe’s)

Carbs

Pretzilla soft pretzel bites; Ritz crackers

Accompaniments:

Harvest Snaps baked green peas; Smartfood kettle corn; Dum-Dum lollipops; fresh blueberries; marinated olives (all found in Stop & Shop)

Blueberry yogurt pretzels (DeCicco & Sons)

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Cheeseboard
First, find homes for your cheeses on the board according to how you want to pair their flavor profiles. I picked cheeses that are reminiscent of game-day favorites, like wings and pizza. The Humboldt fog is a tip of the hat to California, for not only having made it to the Super Bowl but also producing one of the best original American cheeses. The mustard Affiné comes together with the pretzel bite in the most delicious morsel outside of a stadium. The blueberries and yogurt-covered pretzels give a nice relief from the heat of the buffalo chicken cheese.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: Do I need the fire department on call while I brûlée this brie?  While that depends on your track record as a person, using a kitchen torch is an easy and safe way to achieve your goal, but still always exercise caution when playing with fire.

To get this football shape, I first cut out an oval on the brie (some brie comes oval, like Supreme, and might be easier to work with), but make sure you save the scraps to make the laces. Next, evenly spread a layer of superfine sugar (standard white sugar works too), getting underneath the edges of what you may have cut up. Using your kitchen torch, take 8 to 10 passes (or until the sugar begins to caramelize) from left to right over the sugar. Cut your little laces from the scraps, and you’ve just successfully brûléed your first brie.

After your cheeses have their homes, you can start mapping out the meats and carbs. In this case, the spicy meats are toted next to the spicy cheese, and their sweeter counterparts take a stance with the softer lactose on the board. The goal post is made of cocoa batons from Trader Joe’s, but pirouette cookies do the same job. I attempted to layer the sweet sopressata around the goal post to mimic the look of stands, but to each their own.

Finally, fill in your blank spaces with your accompaniments. You can style them to flavor profiles, which I prefer, or you can take stylistic charge and add color and flow where deemed appropriate.

Side note: I totally spaced and forgot to put the Dum-Dums out, but they add a pop of color, an element of sweetness, and have been manufactured in Bryan, Ohio since 1953.

Board Tip: I love making boards on butcher paper. Not only does it make a nice background, but the clean up takes about thirty seconds — just roll it up and toss in the trash.

Finally, make sure you get out of the way when your ravenous party guests charge at your board. And may the best team win!


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