Perfect for parties or a romantic meal, this festive Valentine’s charcuterie board combines hearts and roses of meats and cheese for a fun and creative appetizer or small meal.
In the past, most of my Valentine’s Day recipes have been sweet treats or desserts. That is, of course, except for my Valentine’s Day salad with bacon roses and strawberry hearts. This year, I decided to skip candy hearts and sweets and make something savory. Since I’ve been experimenting with a carnivore diet, I wanted to make something more fitting for my current lifestyle.
Bacon roses are my personal favorite food for Valentine’s Day. Since I’ve been ditching the vegetables lately, I decided to use them in a new way: a special Valentine’s day charcuterie board!
My husband and I have been enjoying making a variety of charcuterie and cheese boards lately. Sometimes we have them as a light meal for a cozy night, paired with a glass of wine. Other times, they serve as a snack or appetizer. Here in Spain, the cheese boards are often even served as a dessert board!
Why make it?
While it may look more complicated than a traditional charcuterie board, it’s actually quite simple and quick to make. It’s a great way to show someone special that you care enough to make an extra effort to present them with something creative.
Set it out at parties as a grazing board for a fun, festive look. Kids absolutely adore these, and they may even enjoy helping you make it. It would be a fun bonding activity.
What do you need?
While my carnivore diet charcuterie board was focused on meats and cheeses, I wanted to share more Valentine’s Day charcuterie board ideas. Feel free to add fruit and other extras to give your platter a variety of textures and flavors.
Apart from the bacon hearts, I like to add a variety of meats. As I live in Spain, I generally use serrano ham (like prosciutto), chorizo, salchichón, and other sausages and cured meats. Use whatever you have available where you are.
Next, you’ll want a variety of cheeses. I generally use at least one hard cheese like manchego or Parmesano with a soft cheese like brie and a medium texture cheese like Havarti or Swiss. You can even add a small bowl of cream cheese for dipping or spreading.
It’s also fun to use a variety of colors like white cheese and yellow cheddar. Cranberry cheese would add a touch of red. This year, I even found a green gouda pesto cheese that was perfect for making leaves for my bacon roses!
If you are using fresh fruits, this would be a great place for adding some strawberry hearts! They’re super easy to make and add a festive touch. To add more sweetness, you could make them chocolate-covered strawberries. (Make chocolate-covered strawberry hearts for bonus points!)
For a touch of color and texture, try adding some smaller fruits like cherries, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries. Slices of apples can also be cut into a heart shape with a cookie cutter.
Optionally, add some crunch to your snack board with some crackers, pretzel sticks, or bread. You can also garnish your platter with a few almonds, cherry tomatoes, or olives. Another great addition is small bowls with cream cheese or dips.
Putting it all together
Once you have all your ingredients gathered, it’s time to assemble your charcuterie board! Find a wooden board, slate plate, or marble slab that you can use as the base. Choose one that won’t be too big for the ingredients you want to use.
Start by making the bacon roses. Roll up the bacon and secure it with a toothpick or in a silicone cube mold. Bake the roses at 375ºF/190ºC until crispy. (For more details, see the post. on how to make bacon hearts and strawberry hearts!)
While the roses are baking, assemble the other meats and cheeses. I like to use some cheese wedges, especially for soft cheeses. Slices of cheese can be nestled between slices of meat.
I used a heart shape cookie cutter to cut out some cheese hearts but found it impossible to cleanly cut the chorizo with the cutter. So, I used some kitchen shears to shape the meat slices as wanted.
Once you’ve arranged the meats and cheeses in a visually appealing way, place the fruits and extras around them to fill up any empty spaces. Finally, add your bacon roses for a special touch! To get the roses to stay in place, use your kitchen shears to cut off the bottom, leaving the underside flat.
Don’t have the time to make a bacon rose board? Quickly throw something together with real roses instead. You can also make salami roses. I saw that idea a bit too late and will try making those next year. (I’ll update the post with my results!) I may also try making butter roses.
If you have more of a sweet tooth than I do, feel free to make a dessert charcuterie board. You can use an assortment of heart-shaped treats, cookies, and chocolate truffles. If you’d prefer a candy board, use themed candy like conversation hearts and chocolate hearts (or scatter some around your other items). Make a healthier alternative to a candy board with cheeses, fresh fruit, and chocolate dip.
Valentine’s Charcuterie board
- 6 Strips bacon
- 4 strawberries
- dried meats
Make bacon roses
- Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC
- Take each strip of bacon, and roll it into a rose shape. If the bacon strips are wide, you’ll make more delicate, realistic looking roses by cutting them in half lengthwise before you begin rolling them up.
- To make them look more realistic, leave them slightly loose and let the edges fold over upon themselves at times. I used the edge with the fat on the top of the rose, and that seemed to work well.
- Place the bacon roses into small muffin tins or silicone ice cube trays to help them hold their shape as you bake them. I used silicone cube-shaped ice cube trays, and they were the perfect size for holding the roses up and together. If you are using tiny muffin tins to hold the bacon roses, you may need to add aluminum foil to the tins or use toothpicks to help keep them in place.
- Keep checking on them to make sure they aren't falling over or burning. Bake the bacon roses in the oven until they get brown and crisp. If the roses are browning on the top but are uncooked on the bottom, carefully flip them over to cook the bottoms for a few minutes.
Make strawberry hearts (optional)
- Cut the stems off the strawberries.
- Cut a small v-shaped wedge out of the top center part of the strawberries to make them look like hearts. Cut the shaped strawberries in slices to form several thinner strawberry hearts from each strawberry.
Assemble charcuterie board
- Find a wooden board, slate plate, or marble slab that you can use as the base. Choose one that won't be too big for the ingredients you want to use.
- While the roses are baking, assemble the other meats and cheeses. Use a variety of cheese wedges and slices. Slices of cheese can be nestled between slices of meat.
- Use a heart shape cookie cutter to cut out some cheese hearts.
- Use kitchen shears to cut the sliced meats into hearts or other shapes, as desired.
- Once you've arranged the meats and cheeses in a visually appealing way, place the fruits and extras around them to fill up any empty spaces.
- Add your bacon roses. To get them to stay in place, use your kitchen shears to cut off the bottom, leaving the underside flat.