I’m having some girlfriends over to kick-off the holiday season with a little holiday crafting, some mingling and definitely some delicious bites. While the girls all love our DIY meet-ups, we also love munching on good quality food. This year’s theme is Rustic Holiday. That means I can finally put together the perfect artisanal cheese and meat board for this timely event. It’s going to be fantastic and the girls will love the stylish and delicious presentation I’ll have for them.
Serving an assortment of cheeses and cured meats is any smart host’s go-to party snacks. It saves prep time while still allowing creativity with picking and pairing cheeses, meats and accompaniments.
A great cheese board offers a variety of unique flavors and experiences for your guests. The right selection of quality ingredients are essential in showcasing a contrast of rich flavors and textures. This time, I’m introducing the girls to an assortment of locally made artisanal cheeses and salami exclusively from Sid Wainer & Son®.
I put together a little guide on How to Assemble the Perfect Artisanal Cheese and Meat Board. Print this out and save this for your next gathering.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE PERFECT ARTISANAL CHEESE & MEAT BOARD
GOAL: To create a palette of contrasting flavors (i.e. sweet, earthy, pungent, buttery, sharp, nutty and mellow)
AMOUNT: How many guests do you have? A good rule of thumb is two ounces of cheese/meat for every person.
PICK YOUR CHEESES: Have a minimal of two to three varieties of artisanal cheeses. I will have 13 ladies at my party so three varieties of cheeses would be sufficient. I recommend contrasting textures and flavors so the cheeses truly stand out. Sid Wainer & Son Kilchurn Estates® has a great collection of hand-produced and farmhouse-aged Cheddar from the English countryside. For my first pick, I suggest a mild and creamy cheese like Mustard & Ale Cheddar Cheese. Next, pick an herb-infused mild cheese such as Sage Derby Cheese. This traditional Derby cheese has a creamy texture and smooth sage flavor that pairs great with cured meats. The third cheese should be a sharp cheese such as Krystal Pure Cave Aged Cheddar. This cheese was made using calcium crystals and cave-aged for over 15 months! How exquisite are these cheeses? They all taste phenomenal! Trust me. Your guests will be blown away.
PICK YOUR MEATS: I tend to gravitate towards the salami whenever I am around a cheese board. I love the balance of flavor and texture in an artisanal salami. I particularly like that Jansal Valley® offers fresh, natural pork sausages and salami that are vegetarian fed with no hormones, antibiotics, preservatives or nitrates. I know four ladies at the party who support the “real food” movement and will absolutely appreciate this. The Cacciatorino salami and Sopressata sausage pairs great with red wine and Kilchurn Estates® cheeses.
PICK YOUR ACCOMPANIMENTS: Sampling cheeses and cured meats alone can be heavy and salty. Adding sweet jams or honey spreads, toasted nuts, dried fruit and crispy water crackers compliment the rich cheeses and flavorful meats. The diversity truly balances the flavors and makes a wonderful pairing. For a sweet spread, I recommend Jansal Valley ® Huckleberry and Cranberry Honey. Both spreads are delicious and offers different textures for your guests to try. For a nutty balance, I like unsalted whole roasted almonds. I love how dried black figs compliment any mild cheeses. For water crackers, I like the original crackers from Domaine de Provence®.
PRESENTATION: After you have selected your cheeses, meats and accompaniments, you will need to assemble everything in a beautiful presentation. I usually display my cheeses on a butcher board. Because of the rustic holiday party theme, I’ll use a stone slate for a great pairing. I was taught to always keep my presentation simple. That means not to over-crowd the slate. Keep the accompaniments minimal so you can always replenish as needed. A simple and minimal assortment is not only eye-catching, it also gives your artisanal cheese and meat board a delicate and clean look.
I cannot wait to share my artisanal cheese and meat board with the girls. They are going to love it.
*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sid Wainer & Son. All food products were provided by Sid Wainer & Son but all opinions are my own. *