Host a Charcuterie
and Cheese Party
Ah charcuterie: the key to no-stress entertaining. As far as hosting parties goes, charcuterie is a real win-win for everyone involved. It’s easy to throw together – even last minute – and guests are rewarded with a delicious variety of tasty treats. So what’s the secret? Keep reading and find out how to create your own impressive platter for the perfect party with the ones you love most.
First things first: it’s time to pick the items you want to serve. You can consult your local cheesemonger, butcher or specialty grocer for pairing suggestions, but you should also feel free to pick whatever sounds most delicious to you and see how it pairs. The real fun is all in the variety so make sure to round out your selection of cheeses and meats with fun finger foods like olives, almonds and pickles. Balance it out with something starchy like crackers and freshly baked bread, as well as something sweet like dried apricots, dates and glorious honey, jams and jellies.
Then all you have to do is arrange your selection on a nice cheese board and set of knives to help themselves. You can provide small appetizer plates for your guests or just set out a few cocktail napkins to keep things feeling casual.
Pro tip: set your cheeses out before serving so they can come up to room temperature by serving time – usually about an hour ahead. Super cold cheese served straight from the refrigerator is less aromatic and therefore, less tasty.
If you’re hosting a gathering for many guests, multiple charcuterie and cheese platters may be in order. You can separate each one by region or country, such as a plate of Spanish specialties, like manchego cheese, manzanilla olives and decadent Marcona almonds. Use serving platters of different sizes to create a variety of different taste experiences for your guests. You can also serve red and white wines that pair well with your selections.
Arrange your platters on one table and finish the look off with fresh flowers and candles for a festive feeling. For smaller, more intimate gatherings, a charcuterie and cheese platter makes for a fuss-free appetizer to enjoy while you’re still setting up for the main course.