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The holidays are finally here!
After an epic kick-off with Thanksgiving weekend, I’m finally getting into the Christmas spirit. We bought a HUGE tree yesterday that we are going to spend tonight decorating.
Our Canadian friends including Ms. Megan Joy joined us for an expat Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday night and I created this Holiday Charcuterie Meat + Cheese Platter as an appetizer while Paul and I finished cooking.
I love doing something fast and easy like this, where I can put it out ahead of time and guests can help themselves. It’s great for grazing with some wine or over a couple cocktails.
I like keeping my fridge and pantry stocked with a few staples like crackers, cheese and cured meats for last-minute guests.
Want to create your own platter at home? Here are my tips for creating your very own gourmet charcuterie (a fancy word for a meat platter) with meat + cheese:
1) Crackers or Bread
Put 2-3 different crackers on bread out so you can spread that cheese on something. I like to put out crisps with dry fruit and then maybe a savory cracker to contrast. This is the best time to finally buy those fancy crackers!
2) Cured Meat + Salamis
I like offering up a few cured meats like salami, prosciutto and maybe some pate. If you can find meat that locally cured – even better!
3) Fruit Slices or Dried Fruit
Offering something sweet to contrast all of the salt. Go with something easy like green grapes, Granny Smith apple slices or pears. You can also put out dried apricots or cherries too.
Make sure to have a bottle of wine opened and ready-to-go. Find something that pairs well with your meat and cheeses and leave an open bottle with a few wine glasses next to your meat + cheese platter so guests can help themselves to both.
Put out a few different cheese from sharp, mild or spicy. I chose these cheese balls from Kaukauna® Cheese. They are spreadable and great on crackers! The Kaukauna® Cheese Sharp Cheddar Cheese Ball will please almost anyone and the Kaukauna® Cheese Pepper Jack Cheese Ball has a little kick to it.
I like that Kaukauna® Cheese is made with 100% real cheddar and it comes in cups, logs or balls to add some variety to your platter. The cheese is also rolled in almonds for that satisfying crunch.
6) Wooden Platter or Cutting Board
Arrange your meat, cheese and fruit on a big wooden platter or cutting board. If you have room, you can add little bowls of fig jam, honey and mustard to accompany your board. If you have any almonds or nuts, drop a handful onto your board. Make sure to also leave out a few spreaders, small knives, cheese plane for serving.
A charcuterie meat + cheese platter is an appetizer anyone can make and assemble for last-minute guests. It’s an easy appetizer with LOTS of impact and doesn’t require any heating or cooking. It’s easy to just keep cheese and meat on-hand in the fridge and the whole thing takes less than 15 minutes to assemble.
Look for Kaukauna® Cheese at your local Fred Meyer or Kroger store in the refrigerated dairy case near the deli like above.
What do you like to include in your meat + cheese platter?