Filed In: Life
Last week was spring break and I spent the first weekend on a fun getaway to visit my sister Katherine in Atlanta! We had not seen each other in a long time so this visit was way over due. I did not realize how much I had missed her until she picked me up from the MARTA. Once at her adorable apartment we enjoyed some champagne and a yummy charcuterie board! I loved chatting and catching up with Katherine- hearing about her success with work, local Atlanta activities, and new additions in her apartment was so exciting. She had planned an awesome weekend full of brunches, breweries, shopping, and delicious eats! Within the past few years my sisters have settled down in different cool cities so getting the opportunity to go see the new lives they have made for themselves is always inspiring! Family is so important to me, so I try to make a point to go visit them here and there. Nothing recharges me like good quality time with them!
My favorite get-togethers are those in which one can eat, drink, and be merry! For me that means no crappy college drinks or last minutes shots. Personally I am a sucker for some good prosecco, some good quality snacks, and stimulating conversation. I have found that parties with charcuterie and cheese boards achieve a more mature and tame type of gathering. So… if that is what you’re aiming for, this little guide should help you effortlessly pull together the perfect charcuterie and cheese board for an exciting little party!
Step 1) Make it pretty: As I have stated before, we eat with our eyes. Aesthetics are key… make your charcuterie and cheese board pretty. Basically pick yourself out a nice wooden serving board that is large enough to display your treats, and display them in a way that is appealing to the eye. You will need a cheese knife as well.
Step 2) Charcuterie: Time to pick the meats that you will be placing on the board. I prefer a simple proscuitto and a peppered salami. I also love a hot soppresatta or any other salami. Typically I like a thinly sliced cured meat that can be easily layered on crackers or breads, and one other thicker meat that carries heavier flavor. You can buy them at most grocery stores, they taste amazing, and are decently priced. When I cut my salami I slice them into cylinder pieces, then I half them to make them more bite-sized. Then I arrange them at one end of the board right next to each other.
Step 3) Cheese: I am actually not a cheese fan… honestly, I hate cheese. Crazy I know, so my suggestions are based off of what my cheese-loving family typically puts on their cheese boards. From my observations, I think a nice brie (1 soft cheese), a gouda (1 semi-soft cheese), a blue cheese (maybe a veined cheese), or a parmesan (1 hard cheese). If you’re wanting to keep it simple, I’d go with one soft cheese (brie) and one hard (parmesan).
Step 4) Bread or Crackers: When it comes to charcuterie and cheeses you will need something that helps you get your treats from the tray to your mouth in a socially acceptable manner! Since the meats and cheeses already carry a dominant flavor, it is important to use a bland bread or cracker to not compromise the integrity of the charcuterie and cheese flavors. I really enjoy sliced french bread that is lightly coated with olive oil and grilled for crunchiness. Pam olive oil spray makes works very well for this. Otherwise Carr’s water crackers are perfect.
Step 5) Extras: It’s always nice to have some extra treats to garnish your charcuterie and cheese board. They not only add some color, but they add a variety of flavor that compliments the salty and strong tastes of your charcuterie and cheeses. Arugula is not something you would normally see on a charcuterie board, but I love the crunchiness and peppery flavor paired with the meat! To add a little sweetness I recommend dried apricots and oven-roasted/salted almonds (or other nuts of your choice), and if your feeling fancy then you can add a jam. To finish it all off, tiny pickles and olives are a must for your board and a nice stone ground mustard to dip your meats in is always apprecitated.
Step 6) Beverages: Ahh, prosecco, my go to drink! Prosecco is the prefect beverage to serve with your charcuterie and cheese board- it’s light, bubbly, and delicious! Also any other light whines, especially white wines like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, will go great… It all depends on your personal preference! Just like any other choice you make for your charcuterie and cheese board, whether it’s your favorite cured meat, some /conversation-starting’ cheese, or even candied almonds, anything you throw together will be very much appreciated by your guests- go ahead, get creative!
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Last week TCU let all students out for Fall Break. Every year I either go home or go to visit my sister Blair up in Chicago, but I decided to be a little more independent this time around and plan a trip with best friends! Haley and Olivia, two of my best friends, are spending their last college semester in DC for internships, so Jess, Sarah, and I decided to take a trip to see them and have some fun!
I have learned over the past few years that I am most definitely a big city kind of girl. After visiting Chicago multiple times I fell in love, but that winter might be a little too harsh for me, but hopefully DC winters are a little less intense!
Upon arriving Friday night I was greeted by lots of big hugs and screeching girls, yeah we do that sometimes! It was clear that we were all beyond excited that we made this trip happen. It was even cooler being in the city and working the Metro and getting to go out late at night. These are a few things I enjoy about being a young adult!
After a long night out on Friday, Jess, Sarah, and I slowly got out of bed and readied ourselves for the day. We would be attending a lovely brunch with bottomless mimosas, then a beer garden to watch the Horned Frogs play football.
Haley and I hung back at brunch to finish up our mimosas, then we were off to find our way to the sports bar where the rest of our gang was! I was lucky to have someone that was familiar with the area by my side or I would have never found this bar!
After struggling with google maps and dealing with unhelpful Valet people we finally stumbled upon the Sauf Haus Bier Hall. Our friends had snagged some awesome seats and were halfway through their first steins. They game was playing and the Horned Frogs were playing the Baylor Bears so we were pretty determined to win!
Haley and I quickly order some steins to catch up with everyone else! The Sauf Haus had great beer and a fun atmosphere. It was a rooftop bier hall enclosed by brick and windowed walls with a clear-shedded roof. It was full of students who were all gathered to support their teams and spend time with friends. Seeing all the action around definitely makes me happy to be in my twenties, thus far it has been the most eventful part of my life!
Here’s David, a new friend we made on the trip who was also a fellow TCU student! He was so full of energy and fun to be around. It’s exciting to see how TCU students branch out after college, and finding these people in far away cities is a special treat because there is an instant connection!
Everyone was having a great time, as you can see my buddies were all very focused on the game… they know more about football than I do! Whenever the crowd reacts to a play and I have no clue what is going on, I just look at my friends and mirror their reactions exactly as to make myself appear more knowledgeable about the status of the game, haha!
When I need to know what’s going on, I just ask Sarah because she knows exactly how the game works!
The entire day we were accompanied by Kayla and Kevin, two fellow TCU students! Kayla is doing the same DC internship as Haley and Olivia. Her boyfriend Kevin came down to visit during the break as well- having more fellow faces just added to the excitement of our weekend activities!
My natural reaction when TCU gets a touchdown is obnoxious hugging, so it’s a good thing that my friends like to do that too! It was great to see our school spirit so alive with just a handful of us in a completely different city!
On a different note, I was pleased with this bier hall for its awesome lighting because it gave me an excuse to play around with my camera… I am lucky I have such cute friends to take pictures of!
For some odd reason, just when the game was getting good, the bar changed the channel… but it was a good thing that we were just finishing up with our steins! After that we headed to a different bar that was playing the TCU game to finish up watching and to get a little food in our bellies.
On our last night in DC Haley and Olivia took us to an awesome restaurant called Lincoln. They had amazing drinks and a wonderful small-plate selection! A nice evening with these girls was the perfect end to a very memorable trip! I hope to be back there soon to visit and explore the city even more!