Lately it’s been too hot for cooking. It’s summer, it’s predicted to be a steamy week. When it’s this time of year, we love to eat light and cook less. It’s all about grilling, salads, roasted veggies, mezze platters and for entertaining – a fabulous cheese and charcuterie board. So easy, so pretty, so Instagrammable. I now follow a bunch of cheese board/charcuterie/grazing table accounts online and I love the inspiration.
Recently we had a get together at our home and I decided to put together my first ever intentional charcuterie board. I served it up with Barefoot Wine watermelon Frose and drunken strawberries, and it was a smash! Click here to check out my post and Frose recipe!
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#ad Look out weekend! Today I’m party prepping for a summer weekend get together. My mother-in-law is visiting and FINALLY the weather is hot enough for me to make some Frose! I’ve got a delicious, simple recipe for watermelon frose that I adapted from my friends @BarefootWine using their #BarefootOnTap Rose. It’s so light, refreshing and perfect for this time of year — as is or in fun wine cocktails! Check out my stories to see the BTS steps and below for the recipe> And don’t worry, I’ve had an early glass (just to make sure it’s perfect for you guys and before they all arrive)! #SlayTeam #BarefootWine ? ? ? BAREFOOT WATERMELON FROSE RECIPE: ? Chop up a medium watermelon and put the cut up pieces into a 9×13″ glass dish ? Pour 500ml of Barefoot On Tap on top ? Stick in the freezer and let the juices marinate for 7 hours ? Pour the soaked watermelon in a blender and blend until it’s a “slurpy” texture Optional Step: ROSE-INFUSED STRAWBERRY GARNISH ? Pour Barefoot On Tap Rose into a smaller jar that fits a handful of whole strawberries ? Stick in fridge and let marinate for 2 hours ? Remove from fridge and pour out the excess wine ? Coat the strawberries with some sifted white sugar for an extra dose of sweetness! Cheers!
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve served cheese and light bites at parties for YEARS. But this kind of visually appealing board was new to me and I wanted to get it right so of course I did a ton of research on creating the perfect board. And now I can pass that info along to you, for inspiration!
The very definition of charcuterie is connected to meat, specifically, pork. But I’m over here trying to cut back on my pork consumption. There ARE alternatives to traditional charcuterie boards. Call it a grazing board or cheese board, whatever you prefer.
First things first, check out some of my favorite Instagram accounts around this topic because without their inspiration I wouldn’t be writing this post – definitely check out the hashtags #charcuterie, #grazing board and #Cheeseboard for instant visual amazement. For more detail from actual food writers, check out this Epicurious post, Modern Honey, and also check out Skinnytaste – those posts are really helpful. And this video did a great job of breaking it all down as well.
With a board like this, your goal is abundance, color, visual appeal and variety.
The basic components of your spread are as follows:
Fruit & Veggies
And the combination of those things are up to you.
I headed straight to Trader Joe’s because I love them and I’m obsessed and they’re conveniently located to me. Here’s what I got in each category and why.
Crackers – There are SO many cracker options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. My idea is something to suit everyone’s tastes. So I like to go for a super basic water cracker, something bold with flavor, and something nutty or gluten free. I chose Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Crackers which are a touch salty, plain crackers, and their Raisin Rosemary Crisps which are a touch sweet, a touch herbaceous, lots of flavor and goes well with a sweet or salty cheese.
Cheese — In terms of cheese, you want to consider texture. You want a hard cheese, a medium cheese, and a soft cheese. We chose Havarti and a sweet goat cheese covered in blueberries. Another favorite of ours is anything from Sartori cheese – my father-in-law loved their BellaVitano cheese so it’s always a nice memory of him to have some.
Meat – It’s so easy to fill in this part of the blanks, there are so many pre-packaged kits including two or three meat varieties. Consider salami, prosciutto, and always keep visuals front of mind. If It looks good and tastes good, then go for it. Remember these are small, light bites so consider the texture of your meat choice. Tender is the way to go.
Fruit & Veg – Think small, bite sized, lots of color, combines easily with other things. For veggies I typically see carrots, thinly sliced radishes, cucumbers. In terms of fruit, think grapes, berries, cherries, apricots…when in doubt, always go seasonal. You can also consider dried fruit as part of this category. Or you can combine categories here to present bacon wrapped dates, for example. Maybe those belong more in the next category…
Other Stuff – that would be your honey, your olives, your nuts, your dips and/or hummus. Pepper jelly. Some people add pickles. This is the category for your stuffed grape leaves or (see above) bacon wrapped dates. For this board, I got honeycomb and truffle marcona almonds because fancy.
So here’s my complete list, with prices:
Pita Bite Crackers – 2.49
Honeycomb Honey – 6:49
Saltines — $1.99
Raisin Rosemary Crisps $3.99
Blackberries — $3.99
Sliced charcuterie meat sampler — $5.49
Sliced hot Calabrese salami — $2.99
Medjool Dates — $4.99
Blueberry and Vanilla Goat Cheese $4.49
Aged Havarti — $2.80
Truffle Marcona Almonds — $5.99
Grand total — $45.70.
Big enough to feed a party of 5 with plenty left over to spare. Next time I’ll try to add more veggies and fruit, but for a first effort I felt pretty good about it!
What are your top tips for entertaining a crowd without cooking?