Charcuterie boards have been all the rage recently, and for good reason. It’s a way to be artistic and creative with the food preparation and presentation process—and you get to dive into the maximalism of varied tastes and divine flavor combinations. It’s also one of the most out of the box Valentine’s Day ideas you can gift that special someone.
For the beloved Valentine's Day holiday, consider celebrating with a decked-out dessert charcuterie board. Swapping savory cheese for sweet chocolate is a wonderful way to indulge in diverse and decadent flavors while getting into the Valentine's Day spirit.
To inspire you in designing your festive charcuterie board, here are all the tips, tricks, and treats you need to know to create a spread that would make Cupid weak in the knees.
Where to Start: The Supplies
One of the perks of charcuterie is that it’s designed to highlight delicious food by placing it on a stage, so it doesn’t require too many supplies. But the one item you do need? A board.
Thankfully, choosing a board for your charcuterie display is easy if you know what ambiance you want to create (or the mood of the party you’ll be taking it to).
Wooden Charcuterie Board
The classic choice, a wooden board could be the perfect fit for your Valentine's Day display. It's a timeless staple that you can't go wrong with as long as the wood is of high quality.
Make sure your wooden board is food-safe and non-porous for proper sanitation and easy clean-up. There are a few key kinds of wood that are more resistant to oil absorption and other residues, so they're better suited for supporting even the creamiest of spreads:
- American Cherry
Wooden charcuterie boards are also highly customizable, which might be useful to consider if you're arranging your display for your own Valentine.
To add a personal touch to the already sweet gesture, consider engraving your board with your recipient’s initials or a surprise inscription for them to read once the treats are all devoured.
Marble Charcuterie Board
For a more elevated look, opt for a marble slab as your charcuterie board to give the whole display some sophistication and edge.
On top of being glamorous, marble board options are also extremely sturdy. They’ll withstand more damage than their wooden counterparts over time, and they're more resistant to food staining.
They’ll also keep your chocolates, cakes, and treats fresh due to their cooler surface. And if you're not sold yet, they also protect your precious kitchen supplies. The blunt edges of your cheese or butter knives won't be harmed when used against marble’s smooth surface.
If your heartstrings are pulled in two separate directions regarding your charcuterie board's material, you're in luck. For versatility and interest in design, some charcuterie boards are crafted with both wood and marble, so you can have your cake and eat it off of whatever material you wish.
What to Include: Sweet Treats
Sometimes, the characteristic that makes charcuterie exciting is the same element that may feel intimidating for beginners: selecting the treats.
When designing your Valentine's Day charcuterie board, we suggest being adventurous and having fun with it. There are a wealth of Valentine’s Day worthy bites to choose from, and even more ways to lay them out aesthetically—so test different options and don't be afraid to experiment!
There's nothing that encapsulates the spirit of Valentine's Day quite like chocolate. As such, it's an essential treat for your celebratory charcuterie board, whether you choose milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, or all of the above.
Incorporating more than one form of chocolate embodies the spirit of charcuterie. You can mix and match flavor combinations, try something new, and find your new go-to chocolates.
Here are a few of our favorite chocolates for dessert charcuterie boards:
- Chocolate truffles – We don’t know about you, but to us, the word “truffle” in itself evokes a sense of celebration. Include an array of truffles on your charcuterie board for an elevated and romantic appeal. You could choose truffles of any kind, but we recommend impressing your special someone with rich flavors like espresso or dark chocolate and honey.
- Chocolate-covered caramels – Chocolate invites other flavors to mix and mingle alongside it. And one of the strongest star-aligned matches with chocolate is caramel. Sea salt chocolate-covered caramels bring something new to the table—adding a dash of salt and buttery goodness that pairs so well with other flavors, from peanut butter to cinnamon and spice.
- Chocolate-covered strawberries – It almost wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolate-covered strawberries. Try coating some yourself at home (or take the shop-bought shortcut—we won’t tell) to include on your charcuterie board. Not a fan of strawberries? Chocolate-covered cherries are just as romantic as strawberries and will class up your Valentine’s dessert charcuterie board. These guilt-free indulgences contain no added sugar but have all the natural sweetness of cocoa and are sure to please.
- Chocolate Covered Pretzels - If you want to add a bit of crunch to balance the sweetness, adding some chocolate covered pretzels may be the perfect addition to your board. The sweetness from the chocolate and the slight saltiness of pretzels complement each other very well, which makes for an unusual sweet treat. And here's an additional tip, they pair great with marshmallows.
For the kids at heart and the sweet-tooth-harboring sweeties in your life, add some candy to your dessert charcuterie board. For maximum visual appeal, choose various colors, flavors, and shapes.
Add these candies to your board to maximize its swoon factor:
- Heart-shaped gummies – Heart-shaped anything is a big “yes” on Valentine’s Day, but especially so if they’re chewy, sugary, and delicious. Spread out the heart-shaped gummies on your charcuterie board as an all-over adornment as needed.
- Conversation hearts – While they’re not famous for their flavor, conversation hearts are an adorable emblem to decorate a love-themed charcuterie board. Place a handful in a tiny bowl for your loved one(s) to munch on and muse over the cute sayings.
- Marshmallows – Easy, fluffy, and perfect when paired with chocolate, marshmallows are a welcome Valentine’s Day treat. To infuse some nostalgia into your board, add graham crackers and milk chocolate bars to create yummy s'mores treats.
- Valentine’s heart lollipops – These lollipops are the quintessential candy of childhood Valentine’s Days. Relive the wholesome memories by decorating your charcuterie board with these strawberry treats.
Fruits are a universally beloved treat and make for an excellent add-on to a Valentine's dessert charcuterie board.
Not only does fruit aid in the hydration department, but it also pairs brilliantly with chocolate, cake, mousse, and a slew of other dessert styles. And as a bonus benefit, fruit is nature’s artwork, so it offers colorful variety to add to your design.
Try these ideas to use fruit in your dessert charcuterie board:
- Slice a few strawberries (or whatever fresh fruit is in season) in half & add a toothpick to hold the halves together to create nature-grown hearts.
- Skewer raspberries and blackberries on toothpicks for flavorful dimension.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut pineapples into flowers, hearts, or circles.
- Dip banana slices into dark chocolate and sprinkle with delicate sea salt.
- Layer orange slices over mini chocolate tarts for a decadent bite.
Extra Tips for Your Dessert Charcuterie Board
Now that you know exactly what items to use for your dream Valentine’s Day dessert charcuterie board, you may be wondering: how do I craft the most eye-catching, Pinterest-worthy board?
Though it may feel counterintuitive, curating a memorable dessert charcuterie board experience involves thinking outside the board.
Incorporate Savory Elements
Just because you’re building a dessert board doesn’t mean every element has to be sugar-forward. Salt also has a place in the world of sweets and is, in many ways, vital to creating the perfect flavor balance.
Chocolate-covered salty treats are probably the first to come to mind for many, like:
- Assorted nuts
- Pecan brittle
Any one of these would be scrumptious for Valentine’s Day once coated in a smooth chocolate layer or standing on their own.
Another salty, savory addition that may have come to mind in the fruit section? Cheese. Yes, this is a dessert charcuterie board, but several desserts make their claim to fame with the use of creamy, irresistible dairy ingredients.
The trick is to make sure the cheese fits with the flavor profiles already present on the board. If you’re displaying chocolate-covered almonds, go for a firmer, nuttier cheese like aged Gouda. Or maybe you like dense, creamy sweets, so you may choose a soft and mild Brie.
Pair Charcuterie-Complementing Drinks
Wondering what drinks pair well with your Valentine’s Day dessert charcuterie board? We’ve got you covered on those answers, too.
Complementary drinks for your dessert charcuterie board can help bring the entire mood together for the experience you’re creating for your special someone or guests.
If sipping wine out of a delicate glass suits your fancy, aim for richer, drier reds, like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. If golden bubbles in a dainty flute make you feel romantic, Brut champagne is your board’s best friend.
Bonus Tip: Add Ethel M Chocolates To Your Board
For a Valentine’s Day as sweet as your charcuterie board, treat yourself and your loved ones to gourmet, small-batch chocolates from Ethel M Chocolates.
Our expert chocolatiers at Ethel M craft each truffle, bar, and delicious filling in-house with care right in our small-batch factory in Nevada. We pride ourselves on producing gourmet flavor with premium ingredients, expert techniques, and uncompromised craftsmanship. And we’re certain you’ll taste the difference.
Shop our hand-crafted chocolate bars and chocolate treats to add decadent flavor to your next dessert charcuterie board and make your Valentine’s Day one you’ll cherish forever. And to make the date even more special, give your loved ones an indulgent gift box of our most popular flavors.
If your Valentine is picky or loves personalized gifts, we’ve got you covered! Create their own signature box of gourmet chocolates from our wide selection and send them a gift they will truly love.
Ready to reach your highest artistic, creative, and culinary potential? Reach for Ethel M Chocolates.
Eat Cured Meat. Best Wood for a Charcuterie Board. https://eatcuredmeat.com/best-wood-for-a-charcuterie-board/
Cutting Board. What is the Best Cheese Board for a Cheese Snob? https://www.cuttingboard.com/blog/what-is-the-best-cheese-board-for-a-cheese-snob/
Cheese Grotto. Our Complete Guide to Pairing Cheese and Chocolate (You're Welcome).