Summer Charcuterie Board
Summer has arrived! Warm, sun-filled days and cool, inviting nights define the season here in Wine Country, beckoning us towards outdoor family get-togethers, poolside BBQ’s, and picnics in the vines. Of course, no social event is complete without goodies to eat and wonderful wines to pair them with! As the ideal crowd-pleasing appetizer, this charcuterie board is easy to prepare for any summertime spread and boasts the perfect balance of sweet, salty, tangy, and robust. A winner in our books, it is sure to complement any event that this beautiful warm weather may bring to you and yours.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese: One of three tart cheeses we’ve selected for this board, sharp cheddar brings the first tangy element to the palette. Aged for 6 to 9 months, sharp cheddar is known for its complexity, saltiness, and hard texture, making it a textbook sliceable cheese.
Blue Cheese: A wedge of aged blue cheese adds a different variety of tang, and while the flavor is kin to sharp cheddar, the texture sets it apart. Best served at room temperature, this cheese is a softer, creamier, and sometimes a more crumbly addition, great for wrapping up inside a bit of pancetta.
Parmesan Cheese: The dense, grainy texture and savory flavor of parmesan lends a more bitter angle to our list. While still sliceable, this cheese has a nutty and slightly sweet essence, making it the perfect partner to the saccharine side of our board assortment.
Peaches: This delightful summer fruit ripened early this year, making June and July the peak months for this sweet and juicy treat. With its bright, honey-like flavor, who wouldn’t want to pair a peach slice with their favorite meats and cheeses?
Summer Berries: We suggest blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries to compliment our assortment of flavors, but any ripe summertime berries will do the trick. This dynamic trio, however, has the perfect amount of mild, tart, and sweet characteristics to please the palette and balance the board.
Sundried Tomato Spread: A unique and bold addition, sundried tomato spread generally contains a variety of spices, including garlic, onion, and basil. The end result is an acidic and hearty spread that can be shamefully addicting, so be sure to have plenty of backup readily available.
Sweet Pickles: With the characteristic sweet and sour tang that comes with pickles, these are an excellent addition for those who prefer a strong vinegar taste and an appreciation for semi-fermented foods.
Peanuts: No charcuterie board is complete without a handful of nuts. A classic, peanuts come in a many forms: salted, sweet, and honey-roasted, to name a few. The basic salted peanuts make the perfect pair for the sweet side of the board, though if you’re feeling adventurous and use another flavor, we promise we won’t tell.
Cured Salami: Another fermented food, salami is a spiced, cured, and dried meat made of either pork or beef. When sliced, it’s an easy-to-grab and combinable pleasure for meateaters.
Pancetta: The Italian version of bacon, Pancetta is traditionally spiced and cured. It’s a great option for those who prefer a milder meat flavor to salami or bacon, and is an easy addition when you purchase it pre-sliced or cubed.
Bacon: It’s no wonder this cured bit of pork belly has risen in popular demand. With the sweet, salty, and smoked flavors, it’s an effortless crowd-pleaser that perfectly compliments everything else we’ve selected.
Honey (Optional): We’re big believers in adding honey to every charcuterie board, as it adds just a touch of sweet that serves as a complimenting spread, dip, or drizzle to just about anything. With all of the fresh fruit we’ve chosen, however, the board won’t be lacking in sugary goodness without it.
With so many “finger foods” in each charcuterie board, your guests will not be able to stop themselves from coming back for more. We recommend keeping 3-4 times the amount of food you display on your board as back stock, since the perfect host never comes up in short supply. It’s always better to have too much than too little.
Please share pictures and recipes for your version of our charcuterie board - we would love to see your summertime creativity!
Originally published: June 10, 2016