Certain workdays are filled with an agenda destined to perk me up in a way that mirrors the latte that my Nespresso brews into steamy bliss each morning. Those days notably involve lighting, rug, wallpaper, and fabric selections for a current project. With so many colors and patterns saturating my library, I know that my day will vibrate with excitement while I fashion a fresh scheme and palette.
It’s funny, then, that I can find the same level of excitement perusing cheese and meat boards. These simple platforms—mandatory to execute the charcuterie and antipasti entertaining movement—tend to be neutral and made of wood with little variation. Not a whole lot of surprise. Or so I thought.
I, like so many folks, have been leaning on an old bread board to serve as the base for prosciutto, grapes, and a wedge of brie. But it seems like overnight, this category of serving board has exploded with style that requires new consideration.
It’s a sublime moment of discovery when I spot a good old board as I pilfer through treasures at tag sales and antiques shops. By all means, if you encounter this kind of board during your own searches, take it home with you or call me. It takes years to achieve the beautiful patina and distressed finish that’s coveted for its textural imperfection.
It’s possible that your cabinets shine only with ceramic and silver platter options. If no flea market excursions are penciled onto your calendar, start searching online. What pops up will not only spark planning of your next get-together, it will also leave you rethinking walls, backsplashes, and other surfaces where these beauties can be displayed.
A large serving platform is perfect for a party with lots of people. But if a spontaneous gene embedded into your DNA sends impromptu invites to another couple at 4 p.m. for a 5 p.m. “come on over,” the gathering requires only a small skinny board. That’s just enough space to hold a couple of cheeses, a meat selection, and a bit of dried fruit. Don’t forget the wine.
Wood, of course, is the go-material and reveals warmth and texture under the bevy of flavors that it supports. Stained brown wood has made a comeback, but if that look is too basic for you, search for wood in other colors. A wash of gray or black over a natural grain encourages a modern spirit. Painted wood, marble, and quartz on their own or combined into a mixed-material piece will leave your guests with a visual lift as the diminishing food reveals style.
I’ll leave you with some of my favorites to build your own board wardrobe. We may not be able to meet en masse at the moment, but when we can, you’ll be ready.