Throw a festive finger food feast
By MÃ©lodie Picard, Owner The Oregon Cheese Cave
Know your crowd
There are two types of cheese friends: easy and straightforward cheese people and super chic and funky people. Buy accordingly. Also identify the number of guests you expect, the more you have, the more diverse the board should be.
Find a solid variety of different milks (cow, goat, sheep, mixed, vegan) and types (spreadable, bloomy rind, blue, pressed, hard) for a memorable presentation. Of course, you can always choose based on the wine selection. Note that if you focus on red wines, not all styles of cheese will work – I once had an incredible Cabernet Sauvignon and a gorgeous Rogue Blue Clash; it still haunts my palace to this day.
Complete with meat
Cold meats and pÃ¢tÃ©s remain a fantastic accompaniment for a hearty aperitif. Basic side dishes for charcuterie include pickled products and mustard, although they may conflict with some wines, so keep that in mind.
Fresh and dried fruits, nuts, olives, crackers, jams and honeys are on my list of dandies on hand. Select the products according to the season, keeping in mind the possible pairings – strawberries for pinot noir and barbera, do you like it? – and customers’ food allergies.
On your choice of platter, board or tray, arrange the cheeses separately from each other, with the half and hard pre-cut. Arrange the cold cuts between the cheeses in piles or in the shape of rivers or flowers. Fill in the holes with the accompaniments. Try one of three approaches: neat and evenly spaced; pretty and busy (as in the photo); or a hot mess of generous piles. There is no wrong way. And don’t forget the serving utensils.
Cheeses from center to clockwise
Alta Langa La Tur / Italian triple cream and triple milk cheese tastes smooth and smooth with the right amount of funk. (garnished with fresh figs)
Beecher’s Smoked Flagship Cheddar / Naturally smoked on a distinctive blend of apple and cherry wood, the cheese is aged for 15 months. (cube)
Cypress Grove Midnight Moon / Aged six months or more, the dense, creamy goat cheese offers a crunch of protein crystals – think Gouda. (spears).
Abundance / French cheese with a washed rind is made exclusively from milk produced by the Abondance, MontbÃ©liarde and taurine cattle breeds. (cube)
Mitica Manchego / Made with raw Manchega sheep’s milk and matured for six months, this semi-firm Spanish cheese is creamy with just a little crumble. (LANCES)
Meat and more
Bresaola / Lean beef prosciutto is intense but tender and smooth in texture. (rosettes)
Accompaniments / Dried strawberries, apricots and blueberries, Marcona almonds, Castelvetrano olives, two kinds of crackers, two mini jars of jam, a mini jar of hot Rose City Pepperheads jelly. (scattered)