No fuss, very fun party platter, anyone? A delicious, easy way to make a pica-pica platter, in this case, a charcuterie. Fancy! Seriously, a charcuterie is “a French term for a branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork.” Pronounced as /shar-KOO-tər-ee/ (Source:

…but don’t stop at meats. Sky’s the limit. I made a charcuterie of assorted cheeses, uncured meats, mixed nuts, crackers and fruits. I went to my local Trader Joe’s store. I like Trader Joe’s because their small packaged portions discourage food wastage. Opened in 1967, Trader Joe’s sells unique products, mostly under its own label.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. That said, Trader Joe’s sources products that are chosen in the context of quality, taste and overall exceptional value. Then they tie these in with the best affordable, everyday prices they can offer. Thus, no need for coupons, memberships or loyalty programs there. One has access to the best products and best prices everyday.

So, I got the following no-fuss-prep TJ ingredients:

  • Uncured Salami di Parma mild salami
  • Gluten-free crackers (I used SkyFlakes, so good Filipino crackers)
  • Pepperoni
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Blue cheese
  • Creamy Toscano cheese soaked in Syrah (my favorite)
  • Small apples
  • Blackberries
  • Grapes (seedless)
  • Mixed nuts (trail mix with raisins, dried fruits)
  • Cantaloupes (sliced)
  • Pineapples (cubed)
  • Strawberries (whole, sliced)
  • Garnish (seeded eucalyptus or small flowers like orchids)

Actually, you can put whatever you want provided the ingredients are small or bite-sized fingerlings, of different shapes, textures, flavors and best of all, of various colors. I got a pack or two of each food type for a total of around $30.00, to feed a party of 15-20 people. It was for a family potluck. (I also prepared my spaghetti carbonara with shrimps, together with the platter. Yum!) Of course, this charcuterie serves as an appetizer array before the main meal or afterwards, to munch on. Or it can be one of the serving boards of finger foods at an afternoon soiree.

Placement or Design. This is the fun-nest part for me! Allow your imagination to run wild. You can experiment on different configurations. Here are useful tips, some akin to floral arranging.

Helpful tips:

Grouping – Group together similar ingredients like two cheese types, example, cheddar and toscano in the photo. Separate with a smattering of nuts or meats in between.

Pairing – Arrange combination or complementary flavors or textures like some grapes with cheddar cheese and crackers.

Contrasting – Put together contrasting colors for wow effect. Keep some fruits uncut for varied, interesting compositions and flavors.

Bordering – Surround the board platter with flat, thin or sticky ingredients to somehow prevent the round ingredients from rolling off the board. Use dark colors to frame the board into a cohesive “picture.”

More tips:

Use saran wrap to tightly secure the entire charcuterie during transport. Or, you can pack the ingredients separately and make a fresh charcuterie on site.

As well, do some pre-cutting of some of the yummies, like the cheeses, before you head out.

By the way, you can find a variety of ingredients already prepacked at the grocery like cheese varieties, trail mixes, etc. This is a great way to save more money and cut down on prep time.

Alright! This is my charcuterie aftermath…not bad, I would say, LOL. Now can you tell which ones were more popular with my crowd?

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