I’m not trying to brag but I have been invited to two holiday parties already and we haven’t even entered the month of December. This is going to be a very fun season for me! I’m excited.
My neighborhood is very into the holiday spirit; each and every single house on the block already has lights up. In order to fit in with the Jones’, we spent the weekend trying to get our lives together, i.e., getting rid of the squirrel-eaten pumpkins.
In preparation for this season, I wanted to put a mini guide together about Building a Winter Cheese Board!
For this post, I teamed up with Roth Cheese. Their cheeses are so amazing and made in Wisconsin using fresh, local milk from dairy farmers right down the road. The flavors are delicious and rich. While I think they’re wonderful on a cheese board, I also think they’re perfect for grilled cheeses, too; their meltability is on point! They’d also work in a gratin or melted over vegetables.
Here are some pointers on creating a winter cheese board:
Pick Your Cheeses – I went with Grand Cru Havarti, Grand Cru Gouda, and Grand Cru Alpine-Style. I cubed up the Havarti and Gouda for easy consumption. I decided to leave the Alpine-Style in its wedge mainly for aesthetic reasons lol. The Havarti is mild and buttery. The Gouda creamy with a hint of sweetness. The Alpine-Style is nutty. I like for all of the cheeses to complement each other, while all being different to offer some contrast.
Dried Fruit – I went with dried crystallized mango and dried apricots. Other good options would be dried cranberries, dates, cherries or golden raisins.
Nuts! – I chose Marcona almonds and caramelized pecans. Other lovely options would be pistachios, walnuts or regular pecans.
Pick Your Carbohydrate Vehicle – I usually go with bread because it’s easy and always delicious but on this particular day I went with mini toasts and some fruit-studded crackers. I support butter crackers, a good loaf of bread and water crackers, as well.
Fresh Fruit – I think fresh fruit is a nice alternative to bread. One of my favorite things is to get a piece of cheese with fresh fruit. That pairing in the same bite is delicious! For this board I went with sliced figs and sliced Comice pears. Apples or persimmons would also be lovely and very winter-y.
Briny Things – I went with Castelvetrano olives this time around, but I also love cornichons, pickled artichokes, sweety drop peppers and peppadews.
Meats – If you’re vegetarian, obviously ignore this recommendation. I like to offer two different types: a thinly sliced prosciutto and a sliced salami. This gives guests some texture differences that’s kinda nice.
Other fun additions – I love adding some form of jam like apricot or fig. I had some quince paste and some honeycomb, which always looks so gorgeous and sadly reminds me of My Girl the movie (the end ruined me forever). I also added some membrillo paste which is made from my favorite fruit on earth: quince.
Decor – Non-edible garnishes are very controversial but I’m down for it. I am pro-non-edible garnishes. I do go with organic flowers as garnish just in case someone decides they want to eat a flower (I dunno). You can also add little ornaments or tinsel around the cutting board.
I say get creative!
Let’s Talk About Arrangement– I’m far from a pro, but I kinda like everything close together. I think it’s ok to repeat ingredients. For instance, I have two groups of the same olives, two groups of dried apricots and two groups of prosciutto. I think it looks pretty! And it also offers a practicability factor. If two or three people are reaching for the board, they have options as to where they can grab for the ingredients.
The wave with the cracker is 100% optional but I do think it’s fun. Who doesn’t love a wave?
Let me know if you have any tips of your own!
(This post was sponsored by Roth Cheese. All the opinions expressed herein are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)