The Best Snacky Meal!
I love appetizers for dinner – and there is nothing better than the variety that a cheese and charcuterie board provides. No cooking needed, but oh so many flavors and textures to enjoy.
This is my no-recipe blog post – because all you really need are 3-4 cheeses of your choice, 2-3 meats of your choosing and an array of condiments. If you are vegetarian, substitute the meat with more crudité and a veggie burger cooked and cut into wedges, or sliced veggie sausage.
No stress entertaining is easy when you vary the colors and textures and add lots of fresh ingredients and tasty accompaniments. Below you’ll see my suggestions for some great pairings of condiments to cheeses and meats, but the fun of a cheese and charcuterie board is to BE BRAVE, and try different combinations of the components.
A great cheese and charcuterie board is as much about eating with your eyes as anything else, so follow the process below to create a beautiful, abundant board that will be photo-worthy and mouth-watering!
My husband Joe and I often eat this way and especially so this New Year’s Eve when we will try to stay up well past our usual bedtime while snacking all night, listening to music or playing a card game.
So, ring in the new year with this fun “meal” or make it for an easy girl’s luncheon or weeknight no-cook meal. Add a glass of wine, and don’t forget to invite me over too!!
Have fun Being Brave!
Build a Cheese & Charcuterie Board
Pick a board and then add items in the following order:
Cheese: Add a variety of cheese (3-4 types at the most) trying to pick some soft, others hard; some mild, others strong.
Meats: Typically, one less meat than the number of cheeses on your board – so 2-3 is a good complement. Arrange the meats in aesthetically pleasing curves around the bowls or cheeses.
Other Salty Stuff: nuts, olives, and other salty items including pâtés to fill in parts of the board
Crackers: Round or long, salty or buttery. Add sliced baguette of bread to dip in oil, or grilled ciabatta slices to eat with the meats. Long chips or truffle chips make a great addition too.
Condiments: Lots of small bowls with chutneys, honeys, mustards, preserves, jams.
Fill in with sweet or savory things: dried fruit, sliced apples or pears, grapes, cherry tomatoes, mini peppers or sliced peppers.
Garnish: Sprigs of rosemary or oregano, or sprinkle some micro-greens. Add spoons, cheese slicers and spreaders
Cheese and cheese pairings
Pick a cheese from each category and try smoked or herb-flavored version of these too
Tangy: Cotija, Feta, Goat Cheese
Creamy/Soft/Young: Brie, Mozzarella, Havarti, Ricotta, Munster, Fontina
Hard/Aged: Cheddar, Gouda, Manchego, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gruyere
Funky: Gorgonzola, Stilton, Taleggio
Aged Balsamic or Sweet vinegars: — Hard, aged cheese like Parmesan or aged goudas
Extra Virgin Olive oils – Fresh cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta and goat cheeses
Chutneys – Creamy young cheeses like Swiss, or feta. Sharp cheddars pair well with a tomato chutney
Honey/Maple Syrup – Both strong or mild cheese including Gorgonzola, Stilton, or goat cheese
Mustards – Strong cheddars or other aged or smoked cheeses
Sweet or Savory Jellies – Brie, Camembert, young Jarlsberg or Goudas, Triple Crème cheeses or stronger blue cheese
Meats and meat condiments
Pick a meat from each category and try a smoked, peppercorn encrusted or olive laced version of any of these too
Flavorful: Honey Ham, Pastrami, Mortadella, Turkey breast, Chipotle chicken
Spicy: Calabrese, Chorizo, sliced spicy sausage, peppercorn encrusted meats
Cured Italian: Salami, Pepperoni, Soppressata, Capicola, Prosciutto
Smooth Spread: Paté, Fois Grois
Mustards – grainy, spicy, mild or sweet.
Dips – a balsamic dip, tzatziki dip, salsa or any savory and sweet dipping sauce
Pickles – something to balance the higher fat content in meats such as gherkins, cornichons, or any pickled vegetable
* Typically, 2 oz. of cheese total and 2 oz. of meat total per person is a good starting point for your shopping and party planning.
Categories: Appetizers, Snacks & Sides, Vegetarian Option, Vegan Option, Gluten-Free Option, Poultry, Pork, Beef, Olives, Condiments, Cheese, Italian Cured Meats, Charcuterie, Holiday Entertaining, Mediterranean Diet, Snacking, Cheese Board,