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At all of our family gatherings, Charcuterie & Cheese Boards are a must regardless of time of year. I will say though, that my favorite time to put them together is during the holiday season. I’m going to walk you step-by-step through making a fab board that will make you the hostess with the mostess! It’s so quick and easy.
They can be downright intimidating though! Am I right?! You just get that silly old thought out of your head right this instant because I’m going to show you just how simple they are! I promise. Then you will be making them all the time, and impressing all your family and friends. They will ooooooh and aaaaaaah, just looking at your lovely board, and then when they dip into all the yummy goodness, the compliments will continue!
One of my favorite things about a Charcuterie & Cheese Board is that it brings everyone together literally, standing side-by-side trying to lay claim to their favorites. Now, while it appears to be fancy, in fact it’s bringing together simplicity in all it’s glory.
Where do you even start? A board, and honey you don’t even need to go out and get crazy looking for some fancy charcuterie & cheese board. Look at my fabulous CUTTING BOARD doubling here as a Charcuterie & Cheese Board! Yes, I just grab one of my cutting boards and use that as my serving board. Do you have a cutting board that has been lovingly used to create so many of your family meals over the years and you are sitting there thinking it’s not good enough? I’m here to tell you that it is, and in fact that is what makes it even more perfect in my opinion. I love the rustic appearance of using a cutting board. Here’s why. The Charcuterie & Cheese Board’s are made of simple foods: meats, cheeses, fruits, seeds, nuts, fruit spreads, crackers. You get the idea. It’s all very natural even in its presentation being laid out as a spread in a nonchalant, yet fanciful way of organized chaos, what better way to continue that theme with a natural surface such as a wooden cutting board.
Okay, so you’ve got your trusty old cutting board, now what? I like to start with the star of the show and work my way out – CHEESE! Now, this is a personal preference but I always like to serve my cheese with fruit spread pairings. I also like to work in odd numbers and typically pick three cheeses, and three fruit spreads. Then I lay out some small serving bowls and place them on the board. Have fun with it and make it your own! You can do it in any design that is appealing to your eye! That’s half the fun of making a Charcuterie & Cheese Board. It’s a work of art, you’ll see! Once the small serving bowls are set on my wood board, I fill them with cheese and fruit spreads.
For the cheeses on my board today, I picked Kaukauna® Sharp Cheddar, Kaukauna® Port Wine and Kaukauna® Sharp & Swiss. The Kaukauna® cup spreads both only contain milk of the top 8 allergens. The Kaukauna® Sharp & Swiss contains milk and almonds, and is labeled for manufacture in a facility which processes wheat. You can learn more about all their products online.
Friends! Did you know that the Kaukauna® brand is turning 100 years old in 2018?! It’s a big year for Kaukauna® – the brand is celebrating 100 years of being everyone’s cold-pack cheese, and they’re excited to launch an updated recipe for two varieties – with no artificial anything – no artificial colors, preservatives or other ingredients. Check them out on social media.
You won’t even be able to taste the difference in the updated Sharp Cheddar and Port Wine because they’d never mess around with the flavor that so many people have come to know and love, but they are super excited about the simplified recipe. Just as I am about this simplified Charcuterie & Cheese Board! Less is more, and simple is better, that’s my motto!
Kaukauna® products have been created and have always been produced in Wisconsin. Have I mentioned here before, that when rooting for any other team than my Arizona Cardinals, it would be for the Green Bay Packers. Why? Because of my love for cheese and I could be a real true Cheesehead! Come on admit it, you want to wear one of those fun Cheesehead hats and cheer them on too!
I found an array of Kaukauna® to choose from at Safeway, in their deli area. You know where all the fancy cheeses are? Yup, that spot! Pssssst! Don’t let that scare you, while it’s in the fancy schmancy area, these little bits of heaven are easy peasy no fuss! I promise, pinky swear even. For my fruit spreads, I found a selection near the Kaukauna® cheese in apricot, fig and plum – oh my! If you haven’t tried this simple little recipe you need to. Do your taste buds a favor and combine your fav fruit paired with Kaukauna® cheese. In my opinion you can pair up pretty much any fruit spread, jam or paste, with any cheese. For this board, my pairings were as follows and you can print them to save for later …just keep scrolling for the recipe:
Plum Fruit Paste with Kaukauna® Sharp Cheddar a gluten-free garlic & herb cracker
Apricot Fruit Paste with Kaukauna® Sharp & Swiss on a whole wheat cracker
Fig Fruit Paste with Kaukauna® Port Wine on a gluten-free bagel chip cracker
I also love to have a mix of sweet and savory for all palate types. So here is where I include some of my kids favorites – black olives and mini kosher dill pickles. Because they have some excess liquids, I do also put them in their own little serving dishes to avoid the liquids from absorbing too much into my board, and also to avoid them from distorting any of the flavors from nearby items.
While cheese is the star of the show, it’s time to add in the charcuterie portion of the board – the meat! Charcuterie is French for delicatessen. It just sounds so much fancier to say Charcuterie, doesn’t it?! Also, it takes some practice. Ha! Charcuterie, charcuterie, charcuterie! Now you try, Shar-coo-tare-ree That’s it, you’ve got it!
I selected some simple meats from the deli section that were all pre-packaged including salami, pepperoni and a summer sausage. The salami and pepperoni, I simply removed from the package and nicely laid them on the board. The summer sausage took a little more effort, and I had to slice it up and remove the covering. So yes, about an extra 2 whole minutes, ha!
Next, I washed and rinsed some fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries to add to the board. No fancy little individual containers for these girls. I just added them to the board nice and close to their friends: the cheeses, pickles and olives. Nice and tight, leaving room for some more friends.
Now keep in mind, there are no hard and fast rules. I think the best charcuterie boards have a nice balance of variety, and are not neat and organized. Just randomly squeeze in your selections nice and cozy next to one another and it really always turns out gorgeous! I do prefer to try to not put all of one item together, separating the meats on different areas of the board. However, on this one I clustered all my fruit pastes in one corner. There are no rules. Just your rules and your creations! So have fun with it and make it yours.
The crackers were up next this time, and I decided to put each of the three different cracker selections near a meat selection. Since my husband is gluten-free, but the rest of us are not, we had two gluten free selections and one with wheat. The garlic and herb crackers as well as the bagel chip crackers were both gluten free. The third selection was a whole wheat cracker.
I love dried fruit as well freeze-dried fruit, but this time around decided to keep it all of the dried variety including apricots, cherries and cranberries. Even though I already included fresh fruits, I personally think this is a fun addition and it’s usually a great hit. Plus, they are fun to top the cheese and crackers with for added flavor.
The final addition that I like to add are nuts and seeds that are allergy friendly for our family. This time around I added some roasted salted almonds as well as some pumpkin seeds. The great thing about adding the dried fruit and the seeds or nuts last, is that you can literally just sprinkle them in to fill in space from what is already displayed on your board.
Now for the fun part! Get in my belly!!! You can fill your plate with whatever variety your heart fancies. Here is my recipe for Fruit & Cheese Cracker Pairings that you can use from your Charcuterie & Cheese board made with Kaukauna® cheese’s, or on their own for a quick and easy snack or appetizer. Keep in mind, there is no end to the ways you can enjoy Kaukauna® cheese’s. Kaukauna® on a warm toasted bagel, or in an omelet, are just a couple of ways to start the day.
Fruit, Cheese & Cracker Pairings
- fruit jam, jelly, spread, or paste of choice
- Kaukauna® cheese cup, ball or log of choice
Select your favorite fruit jam, jelly, spread or paste of choice. Schmear on enough to cover the top of the cracker, followed by a schmear of cheese. The selections that I used and paired in my Charcuterie & Cheese Board were:
Plum Fruit Paste with Kaukauna® Sharp Cheddar a gluten free garlic & herb cracker
Apricot Fruit Paste with Kaukauna® Sharp & Swiss on a whole wheat cracker
Fig Fruit Paste with Kaukauna® Port Wine on a gluten free bagel chip cracker
I only used about half of the log for my board, and wanted to show you how you could alternately serve up the Kaukauna® Sharp & Swiss log. So easy friends, so easy peasy lemon squeezy! Oh come on, you know you want to say, it’s fun! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! I literally just opened up the Kaukauna® Sharp & Swiss, set it on the middle of a serving plate, and then filled the edges with sweet potato crackers. It looks gorgeous and is both easy and yummy! Seriously though, with all of Kaukauna® spreads, balls and logs, the possibilities are limitless.
Kaukauna® is offering a way for you to join in the celebration of their 100 years! There are two ways to celebrate. Who doesn’t like to celebrate?! So here’s your chance to join in on the fun.
First, you can earn cash back through ibotta! Earn $0.75 through December 31, 2018. Stop what you’re doing, and go download that app right now, run!
The second way, is from 11/12/18 – 12/23/18 you can join the #Kaukauna100 #Sweepstakes celebration! Check this out, you can win $500 for the grand prize, and $100 in daily prizes. Be sure to visit daily and reveal a new recipe, offer, or holiday tip! Every day entry is an extra entry in the grand prize drawing! Check out all the details on their website. Who doesn’t want extra cash around this time of year?!
No Purchase Necessary. The #Kaukauna100 #Sweepstakes begins on 11/12/18 at 12:00:00 AM ET and ends on 12/23/18 at 11:59:59 PM ET. There are multiple Entry Periods during the Sweepstakes. Legal residents of the 50 US/DC only, 18+. Void where prohibited. By participating, you agree to the Official Rules at https://kaukauna100rules.pgtb.me/T2k21m.