Thanksgiving is that time of year where we are reminded to reflect on everything we have, and to give thanks and gratitude. It's also a time that reminds us to give back to our communities and to find fulfillment in non monetary things. For me that means spending quality time with friends and family, and making memories.
This was the first year for Grazing Haus Thanksgiving and I couldn't be more thankful and filled with gratitude as I write this blog. Looking back on it I couldn't be happier with the amazing clients I have, and I am truly to lucky to have met everyone of them in the most organic ways. I want to give a special shout out to business owner Laura (Lulu's Gift Emporium) and Angella (Premiere Aesthetics) for sharing my business with their customers and promoting local. Your support has been overwhelming from the very first minute we met!
Now that I've gotten that out of the way and my hear is full, I will now give back, and recap all the items and steps I used to create four cheese and charcuterie boards. Hopefully this inspires you to try something new at home.
1. How to choose the cheese?
The most important rule is to remember variety. What does that mean? It means including a selection of creamy and hard cheeses, and also keeping in mind that cheese comes from three main different sources: goat, cow, and sheep milk! Everyone's palate is different, so including a variety of textures and milks will ensure everyone is happy.
Right: you can see here I've included a Brie (cow), Cheddar (cow), Manchego (sheep), Gruyere (cow), and chèvre (goat cheese).
2. Charcuterie what?
Simply put charcuterie is cold cooked meat. You may recognize this as salami, prosciutto, sopresatta, capicolla, chorizo etc. Charcuterie and cheese have been paired together for hundreds of years for good reason, they go together like peanut butter and jelly, they were made for each other. So try to include a good variety on your platters. Typical crowd pleasers include a hard salami, and a buttery prosciutto.
Above: Proscuitto, Hard Salami, Fresh Figs, Dried Apricots, Candied Cranberries, Grapes
3. Crackers to crunch
I have come to learn that there are 2 types of grazers in the world, the kind that MUST have a cracker with every bite, and the kind that could care less about a cracker. Since we are making platters to please a crowd I highly suggest having a few crackers on hand for those that just have to have them. I have a few brands that I absolutely love including the Trader's Joes Fig and Olive Crisps, Raincoat Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps, and the crowd pleasing Carr's Water Cracker.The combination of these three should give you confidence in your crunch selection!
4. The Fillers
Fillers are where the magic really starts to happen. The empty spaces on the board begin to fill and your platter starts to get some character and dimension. Fan favorite fillers (that was fun) include dried apricots, berries, rosemary marcona almonds, and chocolate covered nuts/berries. Fillers are not just for looks, but they also help break up the heaviness of eating just cheese and charcuterie all the time. They are also are good to pair with your bite! A favorite combination of mine is a manchego with fig jam and a marcona almond all in one, delicious! Or try a Fresh Fig with a bit of goat cheese and a honey drizzle, I promise that combination will never steer you wrong.
The end result is pretty magical if I do say so myself. The colors and the dimensions are really what make a board pop. Do not be afraid to lift and tuck, or sprinkle here and there. A cheese and charcuterie board is always a good idea, and should be fun to make and eat!
I hope everyone enjoyed reading a little bit about Grazing Haus and my techniques in building platters. Cheers!