'Tis the season, everyone!! I know we just all had a ginormous feast for Thanksgiving yesterday....but can we talk about the one thing I've been obsessed with lately? CHEESE BOARDS. Specifically, cheese and charcuterie boards. Why? Well, Thanksgiving just passed, but the Holidays are not over yet!
This cheese board obsession started innocently enough when I'd go to local restaurants like La Sosta Enoteca or Manhattan Beach Post and order their amazing cheese and charcuterie boards....and thought, I'd like to try making one of those sometime. It started with simple items like cheese, crackers and maybe salami and has evolved to adding whatever strikes my fancy. Now, when someone invites me over for a potluck dinner, I often offer to do a cheese board. Why? It's easy to put together, there's no cooking involved, and there's something to please everyone. Not to mention the satisfaction of the "Voila!" moment when you present it to your guests. Also, if you plan on getting a host gift, adding the actual board as a present is a nice touch!
Here is one I made for a friend's birthday celebration:
Believe it or not, I can do a spectacular board using *just* items from Trader Joes.
What to buy:
Cheese-Good ones include: Unexpected Cheddar (cut into cubes), a Gouda, a Goat Cheese, a Brie (I like Saint Andre), Humboldt Fog is awesome, a good Spanish Manchego or Italian Pecorino are also good options
Crackers- I love a good variety of nutty/fruity (to spread a soft cheese on), to basic. Mix it up with different textures and shapes
Fig Paste or Quince Paste (Membrillo)- a great spread on crackers and Brie
Meats- Salami, Prosciutto or whatever "meats" your requirements
Fresh Fruit- Grapes, cut strawberries, thinly sliced apples or pears are great
Nuts- I like "Truffled Marcona Almonds" and "Sweet and Spicy Pecans"
Dried Fruit- Dried cherries and dried apricots are good. Candied orange slices, dried pineapple slices, and dried mango and are extra credit!
Put in ramekins- Papadew peppers, olives, cornichons (mini pickles), or whatever strikes your fancy (but do not place directly on the surface of the wood board)
Fun items- Twisty cheese sticks or breadsticks. Add a little pizazz to your board.
So you've bought all these items. Now what?
Get a board large enough to accommodate all the items you plan on serving. I have a really long wood board and a large round wood one as well. I find that I do well when assembling from left to right on a large rectangular board. With round, just try to do neat rows of items, working from the outside in. Meats that are on the large side get folded neatly and stacked. Rows and rows of items make a cheese and charcuterie board look perfect!
Here's the one I created yesterday- breathtaking!
Don't forget small knives, tongs and spoons for the items....and make sure your guests have small plates and cocktail napkins!
Yesterday I attempted a dessert board and it came out nicely....all from pre-made cookies and treats- check it out:
I'd like to try an Italian themed cheese board next......I'll try to post about it once I do. What easy items do YOU bring to a pot luck or dinner?