How to Make the Best Summer Cheese & Charcuterie Board… with Wine!
Are there summer days where you don’t feel like cooking? Or, it’s simply too sweltering for a hot meal? We know the feeling! That’s why we love cheese and charcuterie boards. We love them for many reasons, but they’re especially great because:
- They require minimal dishes.
- Most use only cold or room temperature ingredients, meaning you don’t have to use the oven or stove.
- They’re incredibly versatile, and are an ideal pairing with wine!
Cheese and charcuterie boards are relatively easy to put together, but they can also be a work of art that involves much more than putting some cheese and crackers on a plate and serving it to guests.
If you want to enhance your hosting skills or simply have some friends over and make a night of it, we’ll walk you step-by-step through making the perfect cheese board to dazzle your company – or yourself!
Step 2: Charcuterie
Some of our favorite meats are prosciutto, salami, bresaola, coppa, jamón ibérco, speck, chorizo – the list goes on! It’s also fun to try and mix up the textures. Try choosing a variety – one or two with a harder texture like salami or chorizo; something soft and rich like a pâté, and dry-cured meat such as prosciutto and coppa. Folding the slices in traingles or being creative with rolls or roses, is a visually appealing way to present this key (tasty) component.
Photo courtesy of Kylie Mazon-Chambers (will go under photo)
Step 3: Cheese
The other main ingredient we can’t forget – cheese! Brie, Havarti, cheddar, chèvre, gouda, mozzarella, a spicier option such as pepper jack or a habanero cheddar – you name it.. Get creative with colors, too! If you’re serving hard cheeses, cut them into slices ahead of time to make it easier for guests to eat. It’s best to offer a variety of milk as well, such as cow, goat, and sheep as they all have different tastes and textures. For a visually appealing spread, we aim to plate an odd number of cheeses (3 or 5).
Step 4: Bread & Crackers
The next staple item is some form of bread or cracker to accompany the cheese and meats. While sturdy crackers or breadsticks are a classic, one of our favorites is a sliced baguette dipped in a touch of olive oil. This is especially great for spreading soft cheeses, but can also hold up to harder cheeses and the olive oil makes it extra flavorful. If you do use olive oil, opt for Extra Virgin Olive Oil as it is higher quality – we love Italian and Spanish!
Step 5: Sides & Spreads
You can’t forget those sides and spreads to accent your base items and add some pizzaz to the mix. Embellish your board with cured olives, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, and vegetables soaked in oil or vinegar. It’s also great to include a few spreads to really enhance the flavors, such as jams and mustards. A tomato and red pepper spread, truffle, honey, spicy mustard, or a sweet fig jam all pair nicely with creamy brie and are sold at most grocery stores.
Step 6: Dried Fruits & Nuts
Mix in a colorful variety of fresh and dried fruit such as grapes, berries, dried apricots, sliced apples, or dried banana chips. These add a hint of sweetness, dimension, and color to the plate. Add a variety of nuts and don’t be afraid to mix them up! Pistachios, almonds (regular or marcona), and pecans (try candied pecans for a kick) are easy to snack on and pair beautifully with many types of cheese.
Photo courtesy of Kylie Mazon-ChambersStep 7: The Finishing Touch
For a finishing touch, add some fresh herb sprigs such as mint or rosemary as a garnish. If you’re serving this to guests, it will go a long way as a thoughtful addition. The cherry on top of the board, if you will!
Step 8: The Wine
Last but not least, red, white, Rosé or sparkling wine will enhance whatever you choose to decorate your board with, but there are two Scarlett wine favorites we love for summer that really bring something special to the table.
For those who prefer a light summer wine, we recommend our 2017 Scarlett Sauvignon Blanc. A powerful, creamy texture with brisk acidity greets you on the palate while honeyed accents, succulent pear, and apricot flavors flow into a refined finish. It’s food-friendly and great for those hot days.
If you prefer reds, our 2017 Scarlett Zinfandel is flush with red fruit, licorice root, and brambleberry on the nose. The mid-palate is loaded with mixed dark fruits, spice cake, and root beer, which brings a unique element to each component of your board.
Looking for more? We have six current release Scarlett wines for you to choose from. There’s something for everyone!
Most importantly, while you artfully arrange each ingredient, have fun doing so! Creating a cheese and charcuterie board can make for a great night with friends – we love to have a contest to see who can make the best one! It can also be the start to a date night with your significant other or be a fun night in activity. Whether you’re savoring each bite sitting outdoors or inside around the dinner table, we hope you enjoy this guide and sipping on your favorite Scarlett wines this summer. Bon appétit!