Whether you’re gathering friends and family, hosting a get-together at your office, or just want to elevate the snacking that goes on while the main course is in the oven, a cheese board is a must-have. Follow these steps to create an eye-catching charcuterie experience that will pair perfectly with your favorite Silver Thread wine (especially our Dry Riesling)!
A big bunch of grapes? Homemade hummus? An entire wheel of brie with honey? Choosing a featured food item will center the board and help inspire the rest of your choices!
Select two or three cheeses (even if you’ve started with choose) that have different textures and/or flavor profiles. Think salty Parmesan, herby goat cheese, mild cheddar, intense Gorgonzola… Variety is key, not only to be a people-pleasing snack but also so you can experiment with what pairs well with which wine. Place the cheeses in small piles or neat lines around the centerpiece food. Bonus points if the different cheeses are cut in to different sizes or shapes!
Spicy pepperoni and salty prosciutto and mild turkey, oh my! The trick with charcuterie is flavor variety and presentation. A neat line of round slices or loosely-folded pieces make it easy for folks to pick them up and add to their chosen cheese. Don’t hesitate to slightly overlap meats and cheeses; it makes the board look even fuller than it is!
Choose two or three crunchy items that can cleanse the palate and be used to stabilize the cheeses. Melba toast, wheat crackers, round rice crackers, pita chips… Just as you did with the cheeses, choose crunchy items with different textures and ingredients. Toast a baguette and slice it thinly, or open a bag of blue corn tortilla chips. You can spill them neatly on the board OR keep them in their own little bowls outside the plate. *This is a great option if you know you have gluten-free folks in attendance!*
You can’t go wrong with carrot sticks, dried apricots, and raisins! Be thoughtful about the pairing of the cheese and fresh food items: apple slices are great with a sharp cheddar, pears go well with blue cheese, and peaches are delicious with goat cheese. Produce is also where you can really add some color too: bright red cherry tomatoes, plump blackberries, green bell pepper slices.
Pickles and olives are great additions, and work best in small dishes that will keep their juice contained so that crunchy items don’t get soggy. An assortment of nuts look best in small clusters, and can be used to sprinkle around the board so that every gap is filled! Candied walnuts, pistachios, and Marcona almonds are delicious additions.
A dish of apricot chutney, blackberry jam, or hot pepper jelly can really elevate the options! Pick up some local honey (great with soft cheeses) or homemade cranberry sauce (delicious with cool-climate reds, like our Cabernet Franc) to increase options. Other options: olive oil, apple butter, or ranch dressing.
Again: no empty spots! Fresh micro-greens, pea shoots, or sprigs of rosemary will make this board even more memorable. And don’t forget some dark chocolate for just a touch of sweetness.