Cheese and Charcuterie Board
Cheese and Charcuterie Board ~ meats, cheeses, bread, fruit and nuts. Easy, stress-free entertaining ~ something for every appetite.
I’ve always loved hosting friends and family in our home, long before I started blogging, starting with planning the menu. The first time I invited the family over, I was a naïve, clueless newlywed. This was long before Google and Pinterest so not knowing what to make, I cooked pretty much. . .everything.
It looked like an all-you-can-eat buffet at the Golden Corral. Seriously, there was that much food and I made everything myself from scratch. That didn’t make me a kitchen ninja. It just made me a crazy woman.
Having done a lot of entertaining since then, I’m much more relaxed now (don’t listen to a word my kids say) and one reason is that I’ve simplified things and learned to serve food like this Cheese and Charcuterie Board that makes an appearance at almost every gathering at our house.
Just because it’s the holiday season, everyday life doesn’t stop and we can all use a little help. Check out some tips I’ve learned for stress-free entertaining.
A Cheese and Charcuterie Board is really nothing more than a meat and cheese tray but once it’s assembled, it’s an impressive appetizer and so easy to customize according to your taste. It’s my all-time favorite appetizer for a couple of reasons beyond the fact that it’s delicious and always a hit: (1) I can make it ahead of time freeing me to spend time with guests and (2) it comes out of the refrigerator shortly before guests arrive and sits at room temp.
I found almost all the ingredients for this Cheese and Charcuterie Board at Aldi, (except jam see below) hands down the best place near me for cheese, wine, chocolate and well, pretty much anything.
Aldi is the parent company of Trader Joe’s and the value and quality of their food and beverages is fantastic. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Do you have any good entertaining tips? Leave them in the comments!
Last weekend my daughters and I headed up north for our annual get-away that includes shopping, spa treatments and maybe the best Cheese and Charcuterie Board I’ve had anywhere at Prost a wine and charcuterie bar in Frankenmuth.
We’ve made the trip several years now and it’s always so relaxing, a lot of laughs and such a great time. I’m grateful to be able to spend this time with them. Husbands and small kids join us on Sunday for big, homestyle chicken dinner and family time but until then it’s simply a girls’ get away.
Let’s built a Cheese and Charcuterie Board ~
First off, you don’t have to have an actual board. A tray or platter work just fine too but I found this board at T.J. Maxx for just $10.00 and couldn’t resist!
Shoot for 3-5 types of cheese with a good mix of both strong and mild. Some Cheese and Charcuterie Boards leave the cheese whole for guests to slice, but I like to pre-slice mine.
On this board I used a creamy Havarti, a strong Blue cheese, a nutty Manchego and what may be my new favorite, Cheddar Truffle.
Charcuterie is the meat portion of the board. My favorites are Soppressata and Prosciutto because they go well with a variety of cheeses. Spicy Chorizo is another good option, but there are lots to choose from.
I like to add a little sweet to the board in the form of fresh fruit. Typically I use grapes but Clementines are in season now and a good option in the winter.
Nuts add some texture to the board. I use different kinds, usually based upon what’s on sale. Aldi happened to have these delicious cashews at a great price.
Olives are optional but add a nice, briny taste. If you aren’t a fan and don’t think your guests are either, skip them.
Bread and Crackers:
You can go a couple routes: toasted (or in the summer, grilled) baguette, some of your favorite crackers or breadsticks. Aldi has a really good selection of crackers as well, including some unique blends you won’t find in a typical grocery store. I dressed the board up a bit with fresh Rosemary and cranberries.
Jams and such:
Jam is a good addition to a Cheese and Charcuterie Board. Sometimes I’ll top goat cheese with a fruity spread or a jalapeno jam. This time I was still thinking of the onion jam we had at Prost and T.J. Maxx came to the rescue with this jar of onion jam for just a few dollars. Score.
Entertaining Tips ~
These tips come from many years of entertaining. That said, I’m still learning and would love to hear entertaining tips you may have.
- Keep food simple whether it’s just appetizers or an entire meal so you aren’t in the kitchen all evening.
- Prep or even cook as much ahead of time as possible.
- Stay away from dips if you have a large crowd. Dips lose their eye appeal after 1 or 2 guests plunge into it.
- Keep alcoholic beverages simple. Red and white wine or a signature drink, like these festive Cranberry Moscow Mules.
- Accept help. This was and still is the hardest thing for me. You too? Let’s hold hands and work on it together.
If you’re looking for another easy last-minute appetizer Baked Brie, Pear, Onion Jam Bites are really tasty, another use for the onion jam and always a hit. I like to add some cute cocktail napkins too (⇑).
Enjoy a Cheese and Charcuterie Board at your next gathering. Happy holidays!
- Bread sticks
- Onion jam
- Cashews or other nuts
- optional garnishes:
Arrange cheese and meats on the platter first then fill in spaces with nuts, breads and garnishes