Nothing says festive like gathering in your home with loved ones and indulging in all the best treats the season has to offer. You can easily impress your guests by creating the ultimate charcuterie board for them to graze on while continuing conversations and holiday traditions.
Charcuterie Board Basics
Cheese is the most essential item on every charcuterie board, followed by bread and crackers. A variety of cured meats such as Genoa salami or prosciutto is always a delicious addition. Many people like to serve those meats along with olives, nuts, and even fruit!
But one way to really take your spread to the next level, whether for the holidays or just for your book club, is to include jams, jellies and mustards that will compliment the varieties of cheeses and meats.
Topping It Off With Our Jams & Jellies
Traditional spreads most often found on charcuterie boards are hot pepper jelly, fig jam, apricot jam, or maybe an olive tapenade. As great as those are, treat yourself and your friends to a gourmet taste this holiday season.
With ingredients like red peppers, onions, ice wine, and scotch bonnet peppers, you need a cheese that is not overly flavoursome and spicy on its own, yet can stand up to the strong tastes of the spicy ice wine jelly. A gouda, which gets stronger and firmer the older it is, is the perfect partner to this jelly. If you’re vegan, this jelly also pairs well with cashew-based cheese or tofu gouda!
If you love the idea of adding peaches and prosecco to your cheese board, this one could be for you. A spicier cheese for the daring ones or just a strong marbled cheese like gorgonzola will pair very nicely with this fruity yet fizzy jam.
Exactly as the name suggests, the main ingredients in this are cranberry, orange, and vodka. There's something so festive about cranberries and oranges, and just as vodka can make your in-laws more pleasant, you'll find it really improves this cranberry orange jam as well. Serve alongside the softer cheeses, like goat's cheese, camembert or brie. If you’re vegan, you’ll love trying this with creamy, cashew-based brie cheese.
The warm flavours of whiskey and spiced apple will chill you on any cold winter's night. Perfect for curling up with an indulgent charcuterie board in front of the fire, this jelly will compliment a smooth mozzarella or English cheddar alongside pears or other fresh fruit.
Blueberries, gin, lemon juice, and citric acid combine to make this a party in a jar. Popping a bottle of bubbly is always the perfect way to celebrate the New Year or Christmas, but why stop there when you can crack open a jar of this to serve with your goat's cheese or a nice Stilton?
This fruit-free jam made up of caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and thyme compliments aged cheddars and blue cheese best. Your charcuterie board will certainly make a great impression on your guests if you supply it alongside cured Salami and some fresh bread.
If you have some leftover, which is unlikely considering how delicious it is, you can add it to grilled cheeses and as a condiment on hamburgers or even tofu dogs or veggie patties.
Putting It All Together
The concept of a charcuterie board is basic: meat and cheese, crackers and bread, a spread (or two, or three), and some little finger snacks on the side. It's easy to take it to the next level with little prep time.
The first step is to find a platter or board on which to display your feast. You don't need to be as fancy as buying a raw edge charcuterie board, although a step up from a two-by-four is always appreciated. A simple wooden cutting board or designated cheese board will suffice, and if you can't find one big enough, use multiples! Maybe one for each type of jam or jelly and the accompanying cheeses. Some boards even come with charcuterie plates, though you will need more for a bigger gathering.
Designate a few small bowls, or for a rustic look small mason jars with some twine tied around the mouth, and supply some little spoons or knives.
But remember, this is a classic take on a charcuterie board. There are plenty of ways to customize your board, especially if you’re vegan or vegetarian. Vegan cheeses pair well with all of our vegan and gluten-free jellies. Our recipes cater to all consumers and are meant to bring people together, no matter the differences in their diets.
Tips To Make Your Board Extra Special
Fresh fruit, dried fruit, mixed nuts and olives scattered amongst your main attractions are not only decorative, but you will find people are more likely to graze on them if they're accessibly placed.
Be sure to include a variety of cheese - everything from the aged cheddar to the blue cheese. Should you be serving a camembert or brie cheese, you may want to invest in a special baking dish but waxed paper can do the trick just fine.
Crackers and rustic bread to spread your jams and jellies on are key but remember that you may want to include at least one gluten-free option for certain guests.
Should you choose to include meat on your cheeseboard, most people use dry-cured meats, prosciutto, mortadella and even pâté. It's also more fun to mix it up shape-wise; having some cubed and some in slices.
Lastly, you will probably find yourself with a lot of wine that people will give you as host/hostess gifts! White wine and red wine bring out the flavours of the cheese, and vice versa, much the way jams and jellies do.
For instance, sauvignon blanc goes great with soft goat's cheese, a Chardonnay and cheddar go hand in hand, and there's nothing quite like pinot noir and soft cheeses like camembert. Keep these traditional pairings in mind when selecting or buying wine for your occasion. Most importantly, remember to enjoy your time with loved ones. You've gone the extra mile to provide a cheese board with all the bells and whistles to show people how much you care, and maybe as a bonus to show off your culinary prowess. But as much as people love charcuterie boards, they're there to see you! 'Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry! Celebrate with your family and friends with the help of La Dee Da.