For more than 60 years,
a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is December 6, 2022

Featured Cookbook

Charcuterie: Hopping on board with artistic food for the holidays

By Rebecca Turner

Charcuterie: Hopping on board with artistic food for the holidays

Charcuterie boards first became popular in 15th century France and have been on 5-star menus and served at swanky shindigs for centuries. Now, thanks to social media, the concept of creating artistic food boards is trending. An authentic charcuterie board is truly a work of art with a curated array of flavor profiles that is also visually appealing. These edible works of art are piled high with cured meats, cheese, crackers, fruit, nuts, and more, and when done right, they look effortless. Putting together a show-stopping charcuterie board worthy of a viral internet moment is simple but not easy.

Magnolia Milk Maids in Vicksburg creates customized sweet and savory charcuterie boards in all shapes and sizes. What started as a hobby has become a thriving Mississippi small business. Since I am still learning to master the craft of charcuterie, I went to the professionals to learn the basics.

“The perfect charcuterie board needs to contain at least five elements,” said Lauren DeRossette, co-founder of Magnolia Milk Maids. “Starting with cheese! Use at least three different kinds of cheese, one being a domestic cheese that everyone is familiar with, like cheddar or Monterey. Add in a savory element with salami, pepperoni, olives, and nuts.”

“Walnuts pair well with various cheeses. Provide a sweet bite from artisan chocolates, fresh local honey, or seasonal fruits. Go unexpected and add spice with spicy cheese, or spicy soppressata, to your favorite pepper jelly. An artisan bread or cracker gives something to scoop all of it up with!”

Leigh Arnold, a co-founder of Magnolia Milk Maids, has additional tips to get you started if you need further inspiration.

“A delicious spread that will please everyone is as easy as going to your local grocery store. I recommend a combination of well-known and specialty meats and cheeses. Pair pepper jack with a BellaVitano merlot soaked or an aged cheddar,” Arnold said.

“Boar’s Head pit craft turkey compliments pepperoni and salami, and it is a meat option most guests will enjoy. “Fresh fruits and vegetables add color and crunch while citruses act as a palate cleanser, so include lemon wedges or orange slices. Vegetable dips or roasted pine nut hummus are always a crowd-pleaser.”

A charcuterie board offers an answer to “What can I bring?” this holiday season. Pair your creativity and food favorites with Mississippi’s charcuterie influencers’ advice, and you’ll have an aesthetically pleasing and delicious spread.


Roasted Garlic and White Bean Dip


1 (16-ounce) container cottage cheese

1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained

4 roasted garlic cloves

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

fresh herbs

olive oil


In the bowl of a large food processor, place cottage cheese, drained beans, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. If necessary, scrape down sides and blend another minute. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Garnish with freshly chopped herbs such as thyme and parsley, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired. Serve with fresh vegetables or crackers.

Dip can be made 1-2 days ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Recipe credits: The Dairy Chef, Rebecca Egsieker


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rebecca Turner is an author, registered dietitian, radio host, television presenter and a certified specialist in sports dietetics with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A lifelong Mississippian, she lives in Brandon and has spent the last decade offering no-nonsense nutrition guidance that allows you to enjoy good health and good food. Her book, “Mind Over Fork,” challenges the way you think, not the way you eat. Find her on social media @RebeccaTurnerNutrition and online at

Site designed by Marketing Alliance, Inc.