Appetizers table with differents antipasti, cheese, charcuterie, snacks and wine. Mini burgers, sausage, ham, tapas, olives, cheese variety board and baguette

Cruising through social media, following my favorite foodie influencers and talented party planners, I’ve noticed a growing trend popping up that is deliciously beautiful — charcuterie boards. Traditionally these beautifully assembled assortments of food are made up of meats and cheeses — think an Italian antipasto platter. But now charcuterie boards are expanding well beyond salami, feta and olives.

Looking up ideas for a back-to-school party, I found a clever cookie board that started me thinking about other snack and dessert charcuterie boards that could be created for all sorts of parties and even snack time. Here are my favorite ideas for birthday dessert boards, after-school snack boards and even simple candy boards. For even more ideas, visit our Party Ideas board on Pinterest.

Birthday bash boards

What makes charcuterie boards so inviting is the artful way they are designed, pairing color with texture with shape and blending everything together in a beautiful design. When building a birthday board maybe consider all the favorite treats of the birthday boy or girl. Chocolate lovers? Feature an array of decadent chocolate treats from around the world. Salty and sweet lover? Combine favorite nuts and chips with chocolate and fruits.

One idea for a teenage birthday is to consider using a small, layered, sprinkle-decorated birthday cake as the centerpiece and fill in with a variety of other sprinkle-themed sweet treats. Dip strawberries in white chocolate and sprinkles and arrange on the board around Circus Animal Cookies, sprinkle-covered sugar cookies, mini Funfetti cupcakes, and other colorful pastries. Surround that cake and you’ve got a delicious centerpiece.

After-school snackables

With school starting next week, you’ve got a great excuse to create a beautiful, tasty back-to-school-themed snack board that will welcome your kiddos home on their first day. Create your own Instagram-worthy charcuterie board your kids will talk about all year long by serving up a complete variety of their favorite after-school snacks.

Fill a large rectangular tray with mini PB&J or grilled cheese sandwiches. Add piles of your kids’ favorite trail mix and flavored popcorn. In one end of the board focus on clusters of veggies, cheese and crackers circled around your favorite zesty dip. On the other end of the board fill a small bowl with a delish chocolate dip and surround the bowl with fruits, marshmallows and pretzels. Fill in the board with Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses.

Candy charcuterie

Who says a beautifully crafted, colorful and flavor-filled charcuterie board needs to be fancy and gourmet? When thinking about hosting a fun teenage party, gather up a variety of candy, maybe consider the theme of the party like movie night, game night or even a fun church youth talent show. Now select candy around that theme and let the creative designing begin.

For a movie-themed dessert board pull out all the theater food favorites that pair perfectly with popcorn like Junior Mints, various flavors of M&Ms, licorice, gummy candy like Dots and Sour Patch Kids, Hot Tamales or Mike & Ike’s. Don’t forget some salty snacks, too, like peanuts and pretzels. Arrange on a large platter or butcher block next to a huge bucket of popcorn and let everyone create their own movie mix.

— Jennifer Durrant