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Entertaining 101: Cheese and Charcuterie Boards

Thinking about throwing a party? Then you have likely considered assembling a cheese and charcuterie board.

Boards come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties now (breakfast boards, anyone?), and it seems they have staying power in the entertainer's line-up. They are versatile, look pretty, and can be modified to pair well with whatever beverages are being served. Charcuterie and cheese is definitely the most classic choice and be found on menus at wineries, restaurants, and bars, but it is easy enough to create your own with some thoughtful planning and purchasing!

Step 1: Obtain the essentials

These are the items you will need for setting up your beautiful board.

  1. A decently sized cutting board or serving tray.

  2. Proper utensils. You will want to have knifes, small spatulas, and spoons for condiments. Consider investing in a cheese knife set.

Step 2: Go shopping!

  1. Buy your cheese, and go for variety! Consider purchasing a softer cheese, such as brie or burrata; a sharp cheddar or smoked gouda; and a harder cheese, like parmesan. Throw in a blue cheese, goat cheese or chévre, or other fun cheese of your choice, too.

  2. Select your meats. Prosciutto, speck, peppered salami, or sopressata are all great choices. I also love a good summer sausage or pâté.

  3. Bread or crackers or both! I love toasted baguette slices, drizzled with olive oil

  4. The other goodies, such as nuts, grapes, apple slices, berries, dried apricots, olives, cornichons, or honeycomb. Look to these to give your board a direction.

  5. Condiments such as stone ground mustard, honey, fruit preserves, or a savory tapenade are all lovely additions.

Before you go out and buy all these ingredients, consider the number of people that will be present at your gathering. Pick a few items that go together for a small group of people.

For your shopping in Houston, consider stopping by Houston Dairy Maids or Montrose Cheese and Wine! These are both great local spots, as is Spec's on Smith Street in Midtown. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods markets are excellent choices for other locations.

Step 3: Arrange and serve!

Now that you have your ingredients, arrange them on the board. Start by placing the cheese, then the meats, and fill the empty spaces with the other fruit, nuts, etc. Place the condiments in small bowls and add the serving ware. Cheese often tastes better when closer to room temperature, so give your self a bit of time to get everything plated neatly.

Once you finish your board arrangement, pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy!

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