According to Lauren Clark, DC-based charcuterie expert and founder of LC Designs, the first items to collect when planning your fruit charcuterie board are, of course, the fruits. For picture-perfect boards, it’s always great to find a variety of colors and textures, but from a taste standpoint, a good mix of flavors is important too. Combining sweet and tart items helps give your tastebuds something they deserve.
For the summer, Clark loves passion fruit and other seasonal picks like cherries, strawberries, apricots, figs, and oranges. If you’re looking for even more variety you can even add easy-to-eat summer veggies like sliced peppers and snap peas.
The way you cut and display your fruits (and veggies) also plays a big role in making the presentation look professional. Try mixing up the shapes that you use, puzzling them together, and layering in interesting ways that make the colors pop. “I love to cut strawberries horizontally and create these mini ‘slices’ and then fan them out on a board so it’s really eye-catching,” says Clark.
You can fan anything sliced—apples, oranges, or watermelon—in a center circle, intersecting wave across the board, or even in a heart shape to add structure. Clark also recommends piling items or “slicing large blueberries and blackberries in half or doing a zig-zag cut on a kiwi for fun dimension.” You can use the tools around your kitchen like melon ballers and cookie cutters to get creative. To add a hint of green and texture, you can also leave the leaves on your strawberries or the peel on the kiwi (yes, it’s actually edible!). To keep your fruit looking fresh and delay browning and oxidation, you can try cutting them in water, using a very sharp knife, or brushing them with lemon juice, but it’s best to prepare your fruits as close to serving time as possible.
Besides the cutting styles, you can also add a base and dress your board up with fun items. To avoid empty spots on the board as people start to pick at the fruits, which can make the presentation look sparse, Clark suggests covering the base with orange slices, blueberries, assorted nuts, or dried fruits that will peek through and fill the gaps. That said, if you use a wooden board, colorful plate, or patterned tray a little peeking might not be such a bad thing. Finally, to finish the board off and add an extra seasonal flair, accessories are key. Try adding edible flowers, crackers, yogurt dips, or even a honeycomb before doing a full Instagram-worthy photoshoot of your creation.
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