Jams look great with bread on a board and pair well with multiple charcuterie items. Jams are made in many different ways. They can be savory and sweet, allowing you to play with your charcuterie board’s overall taste and flavor theme. It’s essential to choose the best jam for charcuterie board.
In this article, we will look at the different kinds of jam for charcuterie board. We will see how to pair them with different cheeses and create a perfect balance of sweet and savory. We will also discuss how to present them in different ways to enhance the flavor and presentation of your charcuterie board.
Why is It Important to Select Jams for a Charcuterie Board?
A charcuterie board is an assembly of different types of soft and hard cheeses, breads, fresh fruits, deli meats, and other assortments. Jam provides not only a great splash of color, but also enhances the different items on the cheese board. You can use spicy jams with fresh cheese, some thick savory jams for cream cheese, or sweet jams with bread and aged cheese.
Jams add diversity to your other food items like deli meat, and you can enjoy the same items with different tastes on cheese boards.
Some popular jams like fig, apricot, or cherry jams can compliment different cheese pairings and other food items.
Choosing the Best Type of Jam for Charcuterie Board
Jams can be made in many ways and a wide variety is available in the market as well. You can make your own jam with practically any fruit available: mango, cherries, blueberries, oranges, figs, apricots, or any other fruit you have in season. However, when choosing jam for charcuterie board, you need to consider the flavor balance, other food items on the board, and different cheese collections.
PRO TIP: choose a sticky and thick jam (or preserve) over thin, runny ones. It is much easier for your guests to help themselves and make a lot less of a mess! I would really avoid jellies – they are too slippery and messy to go on a small piece of cracker.
So before selecting jams for charcuterie, it is important to consider what types of cheese you have on the board. Read our complete guide on types of cheese for a charcuterie board. Consider whether it is soft or hard cheese and what flavor is needed to balance the pairing. If too many sweet items are on the board, consider balancing the sweet flavor by adding some savory jams.
Jams and their best cheese pairing:
Here’s a quick guide to the most popular jams and their best cheese pairing:
This is made in both sweet and savory varieties. Fig pairs well with blue cheese, mozzarella, cream cheese, or any other mild cheese.
Apricot jam is another great variety of jam. It goes well with salty breads, like those on our pretzel charcuterie board. Apricots also compliment Brie, blue cheese, and many soft cheeses.
Both apple and pear jam are delicious and easy to make. Cost-wise, they are affordable as apples are cheap. They pair well with goat cheese, fontina, or aged Parmesan. These sweet jams go well with acidic cheeses as well.
This sweet peach jam goes well with spicy and marbled cheeses such as pecorino or Gorgonzola cheese.
Blackberry jam goes well with Parmigiano Reggiano, manchego, and cream cheese.
Havarti cheese goes well with sweet raspberry jam.
Strawberry jam is another sweet and tangy jam that goes well with savory cheeses. You can pair it with cream cheese or triple crème as well. It also pairs well with bold cheese types.
Aged cheese has a sweet and nutty flavor that goes well with onion jam.
Sweet jams go well with mild and creamy cheese. You can add savory jam and spicy jam. Bold and spicy cheeses go well with hot and spicy jams.
What about Jellies?
Although it seems like it would make sense here, I would avoid using jellies on a charcuterie board. They are way too slippery and will make a mess when your guests try to put it on a tiny cracker or small piece of bread. Go for sticky and gooey varieties such as perserve or thick jams instead.
How to Display Jam for Charcuterie Board
There are a few ways to put jam on a charcuterie board:
In small sauce containers
Use white ceramic sauce bowls if you have them, for the best presentation. It adds a nice pop of color when you put jams with deep hues of red, purple, or orange.
Pour directly onto the charcuterie board
This is a popular choice at restaurants – so why not do it at home? I’ve seen jams directly on the board as a small glob on a side, poured heavy as the center of a round board, and I’ve also seen it hiding underneath pita bread (a nice surprise!).
Avoid pouring them over the cheese. Allow your guests to choose the flavor or spices they want with different jam pairings. If this is how you display jams, choose a thick and sticky jam (or preserves instead!) may work better than other thin or runny jellies. It makes less of a mess for your guests when they’re enjoying it on their crackers.
Put it on a side, if you have a large board for a large party
You can have a completely separate board for jams, jellies, sauces, dips, and spreads, if you’re making a large charcuterie for a large party. Put them directly on the board or put them in individual ceramic bowls. If you want to label them – use a large marshmallow with a toothpick and write on it! See this camping board I recently made.
Tips to Put Jams On a Charcuterie Board
- Use a waxed wooden charcuterie board for easier cleaning.
- Pair jams and jellies with appropriate and varied meats, cheeses, and breads.
- Display the fruit spreads in small cups or ramekins. Center them within your arrangement to create a structured look for your board.
- Avoid pouring jams and jellies directly on cheeses, as it can create a mess when guests are helping themselves.
- Balance your flavors: provide 2-3 choices of cheese, bread, or meats that pair well with each fruit spread.
- Chill fruit spreads in the fridge and add them to your charcuterie right before serving. Warm jams and jellies will be runny and messy.
Cheese and jam go very well together, but it’s not only for cheese! Jams and jellies go well with crackers, bread, cured meat, and nuts on a charcuterie board. With cheeses, you can use both sweet and savory jams. You can display jam with bread or cream cheese, and guests can serve themselves with charcuterie board cheeses and other assortments. Make sure to choose jams for charcuterie that compliment your other flavors.