Remember the days of inviting a friend over, opening a bottle of wine, and putting out a block of cheese and crackers as the appetizer? Catching up over a simple spread was the perfect beginning to a wonderful evening. For many, this simple “Wine & Cheese” ritual has elevated into a true art form. Some are paid big bucks for their designs – search “Grazing Tables” for eye candy worldwide.
Here, we provide three ideas for creating the perfect Summer Charcuterie Board.
1. Brie +3
To begin designing your board, starting with a wheel of brie is easy. They are visually beautiful and come in different sizes depending on your board. Easily dress wheels up with drizzles of honey, top with a dollop of chutney, or add fresh sprigs of Thyme, edible flowers, or Rosemary on top for color.
For the other three cheeses on the board, go for variety. Choose one firm cheese such as an aged gouda, select a traditionally “stinky” cheese like a Netherlands Dutch Blue, and then round your board out with something a bit spicy like a Manchego or even cluster big chunks of a nutty aged Parmesan-Reggiano on one corner of the board.
2. Theme Your Board
There are many ways to incorporate a theme into your board – calendar holidays are great for quick inspiration. Design a rainbow of green grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and almonds for a St. Paddy’s Board…or add pastel-colored candies and Peonies for a Spring Easter-themed board. For a perfect Summer board, consider adding some small weathered white beach rocks or shells, or bring in a nautical vibe with a small bowl of fresh Shrimp Cocktail, oyster crackers, and a selection of Summer berries.
3. Everything But The Cheese
Cheese is just half the party on a board. Don’t forget the sliced meats. From sausage to Chorizo to Prosciutto – you can get really creative and peruse YouTube for fun ways to make Prosciutto roses and Salami rivers.
Adorn your board with abundant bunches of green and red grapes, clusters of Marcona almonds, Spanish olives, and toasted walnuts – you name it. But, word to the cheese boarders – you don’t want to throw everything on in clumps. Even if a well-designed board looks overflowing and full, there is always a bit of a strategy behind the design, whether you decide to align ingredients by their color or even by texture and shape.
If you want to take your board a step further and educate your guests, send them to “boarding school” and add varietal cheese labels and what’s included on your board – you can print these and put them on little toothpicks right onto the cheeses.
One large, artfully designed cheeseboard can be all you need to serve at a cocktail party. With all the accouterments of meats and pairings, you can skip prepping a lengthy dinner or serving multiple appetizers.
Happy Cheeseboarding! Have you tried designing a cheeseboard? Show us your photos and tag us on social. Follow us @join.timeless.