Fall Charcuterie Board
When just a hint of winter chill is in the air and you catch yourself searching the landscape for trees lit with the fire of fall, you know it’s time to start switching your seasonal gears from sandals and sunscreen to boots and scarves. Preparing for family meals and Autumn get-togethers with friends becomes a joy, stocking your pantry with all things pumpkin, figs, apples, pie crusts, and crisp wines that pair perfectly with the glimpse you’ve had of Jack Frost. Here in Wine Country, the vineyards are preparing for harvest while the grapes hang heavy on the vines. With so many of the longed-for, warm comforts that fall brings, it is only natural that your wine tasting parties and appetizer platters reflect the flavors of the season. With this in mind, we are happy to present this cheeseboard featuring all of our fall favorites.
Gruyere cheese – A creamy, sweet and salty cheese that in its younger stages tastes a little nutty. The older this cheese is, the more complex and tart its flavor becomes.
Gorgonzola – Residing within the blue cheese family, gorgonzola has a distinctive earthy and sharp flavor that hits the tongue with a bit of tang. More pungent than gruyere, this cheese adds a punch to the variety.
Manchego – This firm cheese, with its sweet, fruity nature and the backlash of a nutty tang, rounds out the cheese selection for this board.
Grapes – Sweet, juicy, and at this time of year, harvested at the peak of their ripeness, these add a bit of fruity ‘sweet’ to the board that remind us that harvest is here.
Oranges – As a final salute to the fading summer weather, include slices of orange on the charcuterie board. If you would like, use grapefruit instead for a more bitter flavor, or a blood orange for a little fall color pop.
Cranberry Sauce – What is fall without the addition of fresh cranberries to our palette? Cranberry sauce reminds us of thanksgiving, family, and friends, and with the sweet yet sour flavors present in cranberries, they add a very different flavor option.
Pecans – This wonderful nut is also harvested in the fall, making it the perfect selection to fill the ‘nutty’ side of the board. Try lightly toasting them to bring out an even richer flavor and crunchier texture.
Whole seed mustard – A grainier texture than yellow mustard, whole seed usually has a heavier Dijon influence in essence. Depending on the time of year the mustard was harvested, it can range from spicy to sweet. Use a sugar spoon for serving purposes.
Asparagus – Extremely mild in flavor when the spears are fresh, asparagus has a high sugar content when initially harvested. Make sure that the asparagus you choose has thin stalks and is fresh, preferably from a local farmer’s market.
Honey – No cheeseboard is complete without the sweet, unique flavor of local honey. They come in a variety of flavors, such as clover, orange blossom, and lavender, depending on what fields your local bees have been pollenating. Choose the flavor you find that best fits with the fall theme so far.
Turkey – With Thanksgiving around the corner, it is only natural to include a bit of turkey in our fall charcuterie board. Use fresh deli slices over packaged meat if you can, or go the extra mile and include a fresh-roasted and sliced turkey.
Chicken Sausage – With the many mild flavors on the board, the chicken sausage will add the flavor punch that your palette will desire. Spiced with herbs and savory flavors, these will pair well with bold, red wines.
Originally published 9/23/2016