I’ve teamed up with my friends Mary Ann and Cindy for our next Project Design. We asked Sheri Silver and Kelley Nan to join us in showing their interpretation of a charcuterie or food board. They seem to be everywhere right now and we can see why! They are easy and fun to assemble and everyone loves them.
Trader Joe’s, the corner deli, or a gourmet cheese shop?
I love them for our family at home or on the patio, the beach, or to take to a dinner party if you’ve volunteered to bring the appetizer. Charcuterie boards are perfect for book clubs or after work get togethers because they are so easy to put together. You can shop at your favorite gourmet cheese shop, your neighborhood deli, or even Trader Joe’s to create a one-of-a-kind board that’s as pretty to look at as it is to dig in and enjoy with a glass of prosecco, rosé or sparkling water.
Although I am no stranger to using all Trader Joe’s products to assemble a charcuterie board, for this one, I went to my local cheese shop in Darien, Connecticut. They really know their cheeses and and it’s like a mini lesson right in the shop. I tell them how many people I’ll be serving and how much I want to spend.
Trust an expert and get a mini lesson in cheese pairings…and you get to sample everything before you buy.
I let the cheese monger (is that what we call an expert that sells cheese)? guide me to select cheese for serving 6-8 people for a first course. And I told him I would like to spend around $100.
How many cheeses should I buy?
He selected four cheeses and labeled each one including a numeric order in which to place the cheese on the board. This was new to me. I mentioned I would like to add a fig jam for a hard cheese and he suggested a Framboises jam to go along with the Boerenkäas Gouda from Holland. We also chose a truffle honey that could be paired with any of the cheeses. We added meats, nuts and apricots. I purchased a baguette and sliced it very thin along with a honey crisp apple.
A few things to remember when buying for a charcuterie board:
- Select three to five cheeses. Mix it up and choose a goat, a blue, a creamy, and a hard or semi-hard cheese. Think about shapes and colors. I usually select a goat that is a round and then add wedges that are different colors.
- Serve cheese at room temperature. Take cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour before your guests arrive.
- Place a different cheese knife at each cheese and small tasting spoons for the honey and jam.
- Things you can buy ahead: Crackers, nuts, jam, honey.
- Choose a board that’s large enough for everything or use an additional board or basket for bread and crackers. Use ramekins for nuts and fruit or just put everything on the board.
- Have items on hand like parchment cheese leaves or buy fresh fig leaves or lemon leaves at the florist.
- Make one thing ahead that you can use the day you serve. I love these marinated artichokes and I can make a few days ahead and take them out of the refrigerator with the cheese and serve at room temperature.
- Use small plates and natural linen napkins like these from Magic Linen for an extra special touch.
Make sure to check out everyone’s beautiful boards!
A few things to have on hand for the next time you make a charcuterie board!