Finding ways to bring neighbors together and foster a sense of community is more important than ever in a world that can seem fast-paced and disconnected. One impactful way to do so is by creating a snack board that can be shared with friends and neighbors during gatherings, parties, or even as a random act of kindness. I can’t think of a more delicious way to make connections and spread some neighborly love.
In this post, I share my tips for building a well-curated snack board that has a variety of flavors and textures. There are many ways to approach the process, so I invite you to get creative with your layout and flavors!
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Before assembling your snack board, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand. Here's what you'll need:
Large platter or board: choose a wooden board, large platter, or quarter-size sheet pan. If you’re making a small snack board to deliver to a neighbor, a disposable pie plate works great. Whatever you choose, make sure it's clean and food-safe.
Small bowls and/or ramekins: these will help you organize and contain dips, spreads, or messy items.
Utensils: have a variety of serving utensils, such as small tongs, cheese knives, and spreaders, to make it easy for guests to help themselves.
Napkins and toothpicks: these are essential for clean hands and easy grabbing.
Step 2: Select Your Snacks
Now comes the fun part: choosing the snacks for your board! The key is to create a balanced mix of flavors, textures, and colors. Here are some ideas for each category:
Cheese: I recommend choosing two or three cheeses for your snack board. Aim for one hard cheese (cheddar, gouda, parmesan), one soft cheese (brie, goat cheese, Boursin), and one funky cheese (bleu cheese or camembert) for adventurous palates.
Charcuterie: choose two cured meats like prosciutto, salami, speck, or sopressata. If that feels too adventurous for your crowd, deli cuts of ham and turkey also work and will be a bit more familiar.
Fresh produce: incorporate colorful fruits like grapes, berries, and apple slices, along with vegetables like cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and baby carrots. I always look for what’s in season and on sale. It’s smart to shop with some flexibility. If the grapes look sad, change course and grab the strawberries instead. There are no firm rules here!
Nuts: go for a mix of roasted almonds, cashews, and walnuts to provide crunch and protein. If you’re unsure of potential allergies, skip this step.
Dips and spreads: store-bought or homemade dips make a great addition to snack boards. Consider items like hummus, guacamole, spinach dip, or various flavored mustards and jams to offer variety.
Crackers and bread: choose an assortment of crackers, breadsticks, or baguette slices to pair with cheese and spreads.
Sweet treats: for a touch of sweetness, add chocolate squares, dried fruits, or a small bowl of honey.
Garnishes: fresh herbs, olives, and pickles can enhance the overall flavor profile and add visual appeal.
Step 3: Build Your Board
Arranging your snacks with care can turn a simple platter into a stunning centerpiece. Here are some tips for arranging your snack board:
Start with the cheese: place different cheese varieties in different areas of the board. Cut them into bite-sized pieces or wedges.
Add the charcuterie: fold or roll your cured meats and place them strategically between the cheese.
Fill the gaps: use small bowls and ramekins to hold dips, olives, or nuts. Arrange them throughout the board to create balance.
Layer fruits and vegetables: scatter colorful fruits and vegetables around the board to add freshness and vibrancy.
Artistic touches: intersperse fresh herbs like rosemary or basil sprigs for a pop of color. Consider using edible flowers for an extra visual flair.
Fill empty spaces: as you arrange your snacks, you can fill empty spaces with crackers, bread, or additional snacks.
Step 4: Serve and Enjoy
Your snack board is now a work of art! Place it in the center of your table or serving area, and provide guests with utensils, napkins, and toothpicks for easy access. Encourage your guests to partake and indulge in this delightful spread at their leisure.
Snack boards can be made a day in advance with proper care. Be sure to wrap with ample plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to enjoy. Use this same method if you plan to deliver the snack board to a neighbor.
Finding ways to bring neighbors together is a great way to build social cohesion in your neighborhood. The communal nature of a snack board offers a delicious and heartfelt approach to making meaningful connections, right where you live.
Want to watch the steps in action? Watch Sara's video of building a snack board!