This past weekend some of the girls and I went on a yurting trip, it was an amazing short getaway. We had tarot cards, thunderstorms, and snacks galore. Pictures of our adventures will be posted on the blog soon. Each of us brought items to cook, which made me start thinking about some of my entertaining go- to favorites.
One of my favorite entertaining items, which is probably at the top of my list for every gathering, is a proper Cheese and Charcuterie board. I love how camping makes me think of cheese and charcuterie boards, so maybe I should refer to our camping trip as ‘glamping ‘, because that’s how we roll.
I usually buy my cheese boards straight from The Rhined, a local hot spot for cheese and vino lovers alike. The Rhined is also known for helping to obtain cheeses when creating your very own cheese board. You will love this shop, especially those self proclaimed cheesemongers like myself.
Step 1: Choose the Cheese + Board
Pick out a wood/ marble board which will really showcase the cheese heaven we are about to create. First choose cheeses from different milk sources—cow, goat and sheep—and with a variety of textures—soft, semisoft, hard. Start with at least two selections for small get-togethers and up to six or more for big parties. If you’re serving three cheeses or fewer, plan on about 1½ to 2 ounces of each cheese per person. If you’re serving more than three cheeses, allot about 1 ounce of each per person. Mix and match your cheeses using this texture guide:
Gruyère, Comté, Cheddar, Manchego, aged Gouda
(This is the largest category of cheeses, so consider selecting more than one cheese from it for a larger board.)
Brie, Camembert, Cambazola
Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, aged Manchego
Young Gouda, Havarti, Fontina
Fresh, creamy cheeses
Goat cheese (chèvre), ricotta, fromage blanc
Limburger, Taleggio, Epoisses de Bourgogne
Cheese Selections Shown Above:
Face Rock Creamery Clothbound Cheddar (semihard cheese)
Gorgonzola Cremificato (blue cheese)
Roth Grand Cru Surchoix (semihard cheese)
Brillat-Savarin (soft-ripened cheese)
Cypress Grove PsycheDillic (fresh cheese)
Aged Spanish Manchego (hard cheese)
Step 2: Pairings
BREAAAAAD, We need vehicles for eating cheese—especially for soft cheese. Make sure to add lightly toasted crackers as well as add slices of baguette next to or near soft and fresh, creamy cheeses. Make sure to avoid crackers and or breads that are flavored, try and let your cheeses be the star of the show.
Step 3: Fill the Holes with Extras // Charcuterie board
I usually tend to have this blog lean towards more of a vegetarian lifestyle, however, I know and embrace that all of my eaters do not share the same dietary restrictions. If you would like to go a step further to make the cheese board into a Charcuterie board, start with how much meat you will need. If the charcuterie is an appetizer or starter course, estimate around 2 ounces per person. If the charcuterie is the main food feature for your gathering, estimate roughly 5 ounces per person.3 It’s a good idea to provide variety in the types of meats. Your two basic categories are crudo (raw cured meat) and cotto (cooked meat). Cured meats such as prosciutto are saltier and more intense, so balance them with the fattiness and sweetness of cooked meats like ham.4
Fill in bigger holes on the board with fruit (try grapes, apple slices, fresh figs and dried fruit, such as apricots), jam, olive tapenade, olives and/or dried/cured meats (such as salami, prosciutto, pepperoni). Now fill in whatever space is left with crunchy extras like nuts and seeds (start with Marcona almonds, pistachios, spiced walnuts or pecans).
Suggested Meats and Something Pre-Sliced
Served either flat or in loose rolls and thinly sliced (not the thicker cuts typically used in sandwiches), whole-muscle cuts of cured meat may include:5
Prosciutto, jamón Serrano, and jamón Ibérico
Italian cured pork legs that are salted and air-dried; Spanish Serrano uses a different curing process, but has a comparable taste and texture.6
Lomo de cerdo(or “lomo” for short)
Spanish cured pork tenderloin; the Italian version is called lonzo.7
Italian beef tenderloin that is salted and air-dried; the Spanish version is called cesina.
A bacon made from pork jowl; often considered similar to pancetta but with richer, porkier flavor.8
Filetto bacciato (or “kissed fillet”)
A cured loin, wrapped in salami; when sliced it is said to look like kiss-ready puckered lips.
Essentially grown-up bologna, but richer, silkier, and more complex; in addition to distinctive polka dot fat marbling, some mortadella are cooked with black pepper or pistachios.