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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