Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was recently able to speak to Melissa Trimmer, corporate executive chef at Dawn Foods, Jackson, MI, about the dessert charcuterie trend, which is gaining momentum. 

Liz Parker: What flavors, textures, and colors should bakers should pair on a dessert board?

Melissa Trimmer: Charcuterie has exploded in the last year, and visually-driven social media platforms like Instagram are a huge reason for that. But, just because it’s pretty, doesn’t mean it tastes good!  

When it comes to food boards—whether dessert or a traditional charcuterie—I always say that if it grows together, it goes together. Meaning, foods that originally come from the same local and season will pair well together. If you made a sandwich with different items on the board, all elements should taste good together. 

For fall boards, think of ways to incorporate colors like browns, oranges, and reds, and flavors like crisp apples and cinnamon. If you’re also looking to incorporate beverage pairings, artisan and lighter beers, such as a Belgian Pale Ale, are great with baked goods such as mini apple-cranberry pies, cinnamon monkey bread, and pumpkin doughnuts. 

LP: How are bakers selling dessert charcuterie boards and pairing with beer or wine in their own bakeries for consumers to take home?

MT: Whether a national bakery or a local shop, bakers everywhere can take advantage of this trend. The great thing about dessert boards is that they can leverage items bakers already offer in their display case—it just takes a little planning to pair the right baked goods. 

When selling dessert charcuterie boards, bakers can either sell the board in advance and have it pre-packaged for a customer to pick up or sell it as a take-home kit to build at home, similar to the take-home decorating kits we saw early in the pandemic. 

When selling as a kit, I recommend providing a guide that writes out a baker’s suggested pairings, based on what’s offered in their bakery. For those that have a liquor license, consider partnering with a local brewery or winery to sell alcohol that would pair well with the board. This works both ways, too—bakers could offer to have their dessert boards sold at local wineries or breweries! 

LP: What are some creative ways for bakers to spice up their dessert boards? 

MT: When it comes to dessert charcuterie, the look is just as important as the taste. Think about little touches that can spice up the visual appeal, such as incorporating mini pumpkins, fresh herbs, or seasonal candies and cookies that go well with the color scheme you are going for.  Another fun way to achieve this look is through seasonal sprinkles and by making your own sprinkle blends. Also, consider adding some flash with sparkles! This can be achieved through edible gold or silver leaf, luster dusts, and even through sanding sugar which sparkles like glitter on baked goods.