Want some ideas for creating a Valentine’s Day Board for a party? This food board has chocolates, cookies, fruit, nuts, and appetizers. There are also fun presentation ideas.
Putting Together a Food Board
I love a charcuterie or food board for any occasion. However, I haven’t always loved putting them together! Cutting out shapes can take time and cause food waste. Over time, though, I have learned how to plan and organize food boards to make the process more enjoyable. I’ve included some of these tips for you!
Appetizers for Valentine’s Day Board
Nuts are easy to serve but should be avoided if someone eating from the board has a nut allergy. Serve them in a bowl or other container with tongs or a spoon, so they are easy to pick up. Keep extras on hand for refills.
Cheese and Crackers
This Valentine’s Day Board serves as both an appetizer and dessert board. It has four appetizers:
- cheese and crackers
- pimento cheese heart-cut sandwiches
- pork tenderloin crostini with pineapple salsa
There are gluten-free and regular crackers. The pepper jack cheese is cut with heart-shaped mini cookie cutters and can be cut the day before you plan to use it. I used fondant cutters to cut out extra-small hearts in the leftover cheese pieces. Then I saved all the cheese scraps to be used later for heated sandwiches with melted cheese so the shape wouldn’t matter.
Babybel Cheese Cutouts
To make the board more festive, try using Babybel cheese and cutting a pattern in the wax wrapper. I sat the cheese out of the refrigerator to make the wax softer and easier to cut with a mini fondant or cookie cutter. Press a cookie cutter into the wax until it cuts through it, being careful not to cut into the cheese. Use the heart cutouts to decorate other items on the food board (as shown below). I took the red wax wrapper off one of the cheese discs and placed a red-heart cutout on it. I can imagine how eye-catching it would be to make a food board with several red and white cheese discs on it!
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Use cookie cutters and easy-to-cut bread to make sandwich cutouts. The bread can be cut the day before, but the filling should be added the day you plan to serve them. Store the bread in a zipper bag with all the air squeezed out to keep it fresh. Use two sizes of cutters to get the most cutouts from a slice of bread. Click here for a pimento cheese recipe.
Pork Tenderloin Crostini
The Pork Tenderloin Crostini with Pineapple Salsa is tender and delicious! However, it is an appetizer that needs to be assembled just before serving to have the best taste. The tenderloin should be cooked the day before and stored in the refrigerator. You can also cut the bread and pineapple the day before. Closer to the serving time, toast the bread and make the pineapple salsa. Assemble the crostini just before you plan to serve it.
Desserts for Valentine’s Day Board
Whether strawberries are a dessert or an appetizer is debatable, but they sure are pretty on a Valentine’s Day board! Wash them the day before you plan to use them to give them time to dry. Have some small skewers or toothpicks for guests to serve themselves.
If you are making appetizers that take time, it is better to add other things to the board that do not take any prep time. Store-bought cookies (as shown above and below) are a good example. They require no prep time, have a few decorative hearts, and are perfect for filling the board space.
Candy for the Valentine’s Day Board
Candy is also easy to place on a food board and fills space. Use bowls to hold candy that is small or that might roll off the board. Choose colors that match the aesthetic of the occasion. For this board, I used red and pink Valentine colors.
Decorating Around the Valentine’s Day Board
This board was served on a white background. I placed ribbons, flowers, heart-shaped cocktail sticks, and heart napkins in matching colors on the table. Extra accessories can make your board come to life.
Tips for a Valentine’s Day Board
- Decide what type of food board you want to serve. A charcuterie board has meats and cheese. Other food-board ideas include candy or sweets boards, fruit or vegetable boards, themed boards such as game-day boards, and color-coordinated boards. You can even “paint” pictures with food, such as a red heart. The ideas are endless.
- Plan the color of the board. Repeat colors to make the board attractive.
- Look online for specialty items and order 2-3 weeks ahead.
- Look for seasonal items for holiday boards to make it festive.
- Collect nonperishable items early–so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.
- Have fun planning your board!
A Day Ahead of Time
- Cook as many of the items as possible a day ahead of time.
- Cut out all food shapes the day before. Store them carefully wrapped -so they don’t dry out.
- Buy fruit and vegetables close to the day you plan to make the board so they are fresh.
Be Practical for the Valentine’s Day Board
- Use mainly premade or low-maintenance items and accent with only a couple of high-maintenance items.
- Check your pantry for items you might already have on hand.
- Use edible flowers or nontoxic flowers to decorate the board. Cut flower stems short and cover them with plastic wrap to prevent the stems from drying out and/or leaking onto the food.
- Don’t be too ambitious. A low-maintenance board can be just as pretty as one that takes hours to put together!
Mastering the Mechanics
- Place parchment or waxed paper (cut to fit the size of the board) to prevent food from staining it.
- Use bowls to hold small items. This will vary the board and give visual interest.
- If you don’t have an arrangement in mind, arrange items in stepping-stone curves to get it started. Then fit other food into the curves.
- Cover all of the board. Use small items or greenery like rosemary as filler to cover holes. Also, layer items to make them appealing.
- Have everything ready when you start designing your board. Cheese, bread, and fruit will dry out if left uncovered too long.
- Cover your board until the guests arrive.
- Be mindful of items that can’t sit at room temperature for too long. Leave holes for any last-minute items that must be kept refrigerated.
- Have extra items on hand to replenish the board as needed.