Here's What Giada De Laurentiis Always Includes On Her Charcuterie Boards - Exclusive

From TikTok trends to specialty provisions shops to entire cookbooks dedicated to them, charcuterie boards are having their rightful moment. These snack spreads have been a concept for centuries, evolving from several different culinary cultures to the artful (read: Instagram-worthy), edible entertaining pieces they are today. But despite where they originate, meat and cheese boards are beloved among Italians, and they are the perfect vessel for displaying and enjoying some of Italy's finest fare.

Those who are well-versed in this trend know that there are few rules when it comes to building the charcuterie board of your dreams. The key is to feature your favorites, and don't get stingy with the display. Think of how satisfying it is to scroll past a bountiful, colorful, and garnished charcuterie board — one that looks so good you want to reach into your device and grab a piece to snack on. You can't go wrong if you keep that in mind when you're building one on your own, and following inspiration from your favorite foodies and chefs can't hurt either.

When we got the chance to catch up with Italian chef and TV host Giada De Laurentiis recently, we had to pick her brain about her snacking secrets. Speaking exclusively with Tasting Table, De Laurentiis revealed the go-to snacks that she always has on hand to create the ultimate cheese and charcuterie boards.

The sides and snacks matter as much as the main event

The Italian way of life is all about slowing down, enjoying the simple things, and savoring all forms of pleasure. There are few things that embody all of those principles like kicking back in the sunshine, pouring a glass of wine, and snacking on an elaborate charcuterie snack board — even better if you're sharing it with family and friends. This notion is exactly why Giada De Laurentiis told Tasting Table, "I always keep my pantry stocked to make an amazing board."

It's a given that meat and cheese are the stars of the show. As De Laurentiis put it, "Endless cheeses and meats are must-haves." This is the time to splurge for the sake of your tastebuds. We imagine De Laurentiis, originally from Rome, enjoys a big chunk of Pecorino Romano on her boards, maybe along with ricotta salata, which she said is one of her favorite Italian cheeses. When it comes to meats, there is no shortage of delightful options, from prosciutto to salami to capocollo to mortadella. Just make sure you snag enough to satisfy you and all your guests once the wine gets flowing.

But a charcuterie board isn't complete until every nook and cranny is filled with some sort of accoutrement — crackers, nuts, olives, fresh and dried fruits, crudité, dips and spreads, fresh herbs, and more. You could add just about any snack or topping your heart desires to dress up a board, from chili to chocolate (or maybe even both, as the two go great with cheese!). De Laurentiis says she's always got three things on hand to add to her boards. First, she always includes "an amazing jam"; to spice things up, she likes to blend a little Calabrian chili with her jam. The chef also swears by "Cerignola green olives" for her board and "Taralli crackers" to add the perfect crunchy vessels for every flavorful bite.

If you're ready to build your next charcuterie the authentic Italian way, you can stock up on all of De Laurentiis' favorite products, plus countless more snacks and treats, from the chef's online provisions shop, Giadzy.

See the latest from Giada De Laurentiis by following her on Instagram.