I can personally attest to the fact that charcuterie boards and Trader Joe’s are two of the buzzwords (or buzzphrases) that have remained at the forefront of my mind in the past few years. As a result, it was only natural that I built up a repertoire of charcuterie/cheese board selections over the past few years, specifically made up of Trader Joe’s products. Curating a charcuterie board may seem like an expensive habit, but Trader Joe’s offers so many affordable options for your board that are of great quality. Throughout the years, I’ve deduced the five main categories of a charcuterie board: meats, cheeses, bread or crackers, “crunch”, and spreads.
When it comes to the actual "charcuterie" component of a charcuterie board, the two types of cured meats that I gravitate towards are prosciutto and salami. Trader Joe’s “Sliced Prosciutto” is paper-thin and delicately flavorful while the Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami has a harder bite with a smoky flavor profile that is enhanced by the red wine. The differences in texture and flavor between the two types of meat allow you to customize an endless variety of perfect bites in combination with your choice of cheese, crackers, and spread.
Sliced Prosciutto: $3.99
Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami: $4.99
In terms of cheese, the textural element again remains important. I like to have a soft, spreadable cheese along with one or two harder cheeses and. My cheeses are the Chèvre Fine Herb Goat Cheese, Manchego, and Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions. The variety of flavors make each bite an innovative experience.
Chèvre Fine Herb Goat Cheese: $2.49
12 Month Aged Manchego Anejo: $12.99/lb
Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions: $8.99/lb
Trader Joe's has a wide variety of crackers, but my favorite are the Red Chili Scalloped Crackers because of the wide surface area (which means more room for toppings) and the kick that the red chili brings. While I do appreciate a more "grown-up" cracker like the Red Chili Scalloped Crackers, I personally have a soft spot for the Golden Round Crackers, which are Trader Joe's version of the classic Ritz crackers. Finally, while my next favorite carb pairing isn't exactly a cracker, I like to pair a baguette with my charcuterie board when I want it to be more of a filling meal rather than an appetizer. Trader Joe's carries Organic French Baguettes which are perfect for sharing with a group along with Demi Baguettes, which are great for one or two people.
Red Chili Scalloped Crackers: $1.49
Golden Rounds Crackers: $1.99
Organic French Baguette: $1.99
The main components of a charcuterie board are meat, cheese, and crackers/bread which can understandably be heavy. For this reason, I like to have something fresh and crunchy on my boards to balance it out. My three favorite types of "crunch" are cucumbers, grapes (green or red), and cornichon pickles. Yes, you can find produce at any local corner store, but I like to get mine from Trader Joe's because of the unbeatable quality for a reasonable price.
Jams, jellies, mustards, and preserves are all examples of spreads that you can add to your charcuterie board for another layer of flavor. The Hot and Sweet Pepper Jelly, Whole Grain Dijon Mustard, and Black Truffle Butter Spread are my go-to's to take a board to the next level!
Hot and Sweet Pepper Jelly: $2.49
Whole Grain Dijon Mustard: $1.79
Black Truffle Butter Spread: $2.99