A personalized charcuterie board makes for a wonderful housewarming gift or a gift for just about any other occasion or event. But it’s also a fantastic addition to your own kitchen.

When you first get your personalized charcuterie board, you may be hesitant to serve food on it. After all, these boards are beautiful and their engravings are precise, so you naturally want to avoid marring your board in any way and may instead choose to display it.

But charcuterie boards are meant to be used and enjoyed. They are functional items that come with the ability to be used for display purposes when not in use. That said, if you’re planning on serving food on your personalized charcuterie board during your upcoming party, then here are five serving rules you’ll want to follow to help ensure you create the perfect board.

#1: Place Hard Cheeses On the Outside and Soft Cheeses On the Inside

Providing your guests with different cheeses is always recommended for any successful charcuterie board. But what many people don’t realize is that where you choose to place your cheeses matters. A good charcuterie board will have the hard cheeses placed around the outside of the board and the softer cheeses and spreadable cheeses closer to the inside.

The reason for this rule is that hard cheeses can be more difficult for guests to pick up, so they wind up spending more time at your board than they should. When one guest is leaning over the board trying to grasp a piece of hard cheese from the middle of the board, they block the other guests from accessing the board.

#2: Present the Meats With Some Flair

Every charcuterie board worth its weight should feature plenty of different meats. After all, that’s where the board’s name comes from! But it’s not enough to simply have different meats on your board. How you arrange the meat matters, at least on your board’s visual appeal.

When placing meat on your board, avoid laying the slices flat. Instead, add some character to them by folding the slices into interesting shapes or rolling them into rolls. By making the meats visually pleasing in this manner, you’ll also be making the slices easier for your guests to pick up.

#3: Include Diverse Flavor Profiles

The beauty of a well-designed charcuterie board is in its flavor diversity. A good board should touch on all the essential flavor profiles, including sweet and spicy elements. For instance, if you are serving a spicy meat on your board, then include a sweet jam to balance out the heat. Offering a little bit of everything will also help ensure that you have something for everyone.

#4: Don’t Forget to Add Blue Cheese

Blue cheese is a very strong flavored aged hard cheese. While it might not be everyone’s favorite cheese, the fact is that blue cheese pairs beautifully with so many different things. This makes it an incredibly versatile addition to your board and including it prompts your guests to be more daring and exploratory in their food pairings. The crumbling white cheese with blue streaks also makes for a visually striking presentation as well.

#5: Put Extra Thought Into Your Garnishes

Garnishes add the final touch to your personalized charcuteries board, so they shouldn’t be chosen lightly. You want to ensure that the garnishes you use are fresh, bright, and colorful, so they can add visual balance to the board. But perhaps most importantly, your garnishes should be edible.

Using fresh fruits like blueberries, raspberries, and grapes will allow you to fill up any empty spaces and gaps between meats and cheeses, and this will help make your board look even more plentiful. Other things to add include a variety of nuts, orange and apple slices, fresh herbs, edible flowers, and raisins.

Using your personalized charcuterie board is always fun whenever you’re hosting. As your guests eat their way through the charcuterie, your customized board will become increasingly exposed. Imagine the delight of the guest who uncovers your personalized message or image! Keep to these five rules when preparing your charcuterie board and your next gathering will be a success.