Whip up an awesome dessert charcuterie board for Valentine’s day! It’s a great way to display a tasty assortment of food, and in this case, desserts! It makes any day look super festive, and your friends and family will wonder how you assembled such a pretty platter. There are no set rules you need to follow, so put your imagination, creativity, and taste buds to work!

What exactly is a charcuterie board? Firstly, charcuterie is pronounced “shahr-ku-tuh-ree”. It comes from the French words chair, meaning “flesh”, and cuit, meaning “cooked”. In the 15th century, store owners needed a way to preserve meats and meat products. There used a variety of methods to preserve meat, such as smoking or curing. Nowadays, many of us are accustom to seeing the smorgasbord of meats and cheeses in delis, as well as at parties we attend.

I think the key to a visually appealing charcuterie board is to play with textures, size, and color. It’s a lot like decorating in my opinion. So you might incorporate desserts of different heights and size. Candy fortunately comes in different consistencies like chewy or crunchy. Since this is for Valentine’s, I stuck with the typical red, pink, and white color palette. You might put together a similar board for a birthday party and choose the recipient’s favorite colors. If you’re hosting a graduation party, why not use the school colors as a starting point?

I’ve put in a lot of time as our household grocery shopper, so I had some ideas going into this ‘meal’ before starting. There are the obvious seasonal items that vendors bring into the store, like Hostess and Little Debbie treats. Also, the seasonal candy aisle is your best bet for candy that fits the upcoming holiday. Don’t forget your local bakery, they’re always producing yummy seasonal treats! (They could also pass off as something you baked but really didn’t!)

You have a lot of liberties on how you prepare and display your dessert charcuterie board. Wooden trays are probably the most common types for meats, cheeses and nuts. I wanted a serving dish that was more versatile for a variety of foods, so I chose this white porcelain platter from Target.You can create a smaller scale charcuterie with a regular dinner plate or any other platter you have at home.

How do you artfully arrange your goodies? Start with the bigger items first, and then fill in the gaps with the smaller ones. You can add some bowls or jars to hold the little foods too. To make your board look more organized, arrange food in rows or patterns, and cluster like items together throughout your board. Have fun with it and make it your own!

Here are the items I used for my Valentine dessert charcuterie board:

1. Dove Heart Chocolates
2. Ghirardelli Duets Hearts Chocolates
3. Marinela Sponch Marshmallow Cookies, Coconut and Strawberry – Cub Foods
4. Pepperidge Farm Verona Cookies, Strawberry
5.  Market Pantry Mini Cupcakes – Target
6. Vergani Nougat Bar, Raspberry – Lunds & Byerlys
7. Valentine Dots
8. Brach’s Cherry Hearts
9. Voortman Bakery Strawberry Wafers
10. Little Debbie Snack Cakes
11. M&M’s
12. Red Velvet Donut Holes – Lunds & Byerlys

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Carolyn Wieland

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