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Holiday how-to: Your step-by-step guide to a stunning charcuterie board

Alex Franzen
for Busch’s Fresh Food Market
You can create the charcuterie board of the season with this simple step-by-step guide.

A holiday party is the perfect occasion to bring your A game on appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, and there’s no better way to offer your guests an array of flavors and textures than by charcuterie.

Serving a variety of meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, wines, breads and more will be a guaranteed hit, but how can you make your charcuterie the talk of the season? “The expert behind the specialty cheese counter at the grocery store, also known as a cheesemonger, is your best friend in these situations,” says Paula Larson, a cheesemonger for Busch’s Fresh Food Market. “They know the products and love to talk cheese.”

You can shop for most of your charcuterie items a week in advance and rest assured that they’ll be fresh and flavorful for the day of the party or dinner. Prearranged charcuterie boards are available at grocery stores, but you can create your very own custom charcuterie boards with this simple guide from Busch’s Fresh Food Market.

Step 1: Pick a board, any board

“Cheese boards are limited to your imagination,” Paula says, “as long as it’s safe for food.” You’ll want to be sure to consider how large your party will be and select enough boards accordingly — especially if the charcuterie will be the main appetizer. No need to overthink this step too much, because the foods that you put on the board will be much more important.

Step 2: Think about your own favorite cheeses

What’s a charcuterie board without at least a few of your very own favorite cheeses? The flavors and aromas you adore will most likely be shared by your guests as well. “If you like a sharp cheddar, chances are most of your guests like it, too,” Paula says. “If your guests are the adventurous types, then go a little crazy and try some new flavors. If your guests are Swiss and cheddar types, keep your choices more conservative.”

Step 3: Don’t forget the wine

There’s nothing more satisfying than a wine that compliments a cheese. Scott Wallace, the beverage consultant at Busch's Canton location, suggested three wine and cheese pairings for this holiday season, all of which are available at any Busch’s locations.

  • Delice de Bourgogne, French classic triple crème cheese – “Wines from the same region as the cheese are easy answers to pairings. For this delicate, creamy cheese that originated in Burgundy, I’d choose a crisp white like Louis Jadot Macon-Village or Simmonet-Febvre Chablis. The wine’s natural acidity is a great compliment to the cheese’s creamy texture.”
  • Old Crock Grand Reserve, aged cheddar cheese – “This cheese boasts an extra sharp, rich flavor. I’d choose a dry red with a full-bodied mouth-feel and rich, jammy acidity. Something like Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise or Boneshaker Zinfandel. And don’t forget to add a handful of Mitica ChocoCherries nearby on the board.”
  • Mont Idyll, pyramid-shaped goat cheese – “The tartness of goat cheese needs to be matched with tartness in the wine. Perhaps something like Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier as a white option or Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nuveau for a red.”
The cheesemonger at your market can help make the best charcuterie choices for your event.

Step 4: Add texture and color with meats, fruits and fresh ingredients

Add pizzazz to the entire course by arranging colorful fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats and more. Anything goes on a holiday charcuterie board — it’s the season of giving and feasting. Think bread slices, roasted or raw almonds, olives, citrus fruit slices, peppers, crackers or even fresh herbs. Take the time to share the foods that you love with the people you love.

Step 5: Make room for the dessert board

Cheesecake is a tried and true dessert, but what about just … cheese? Absolutely. You can serve cheese as dessert, Paula says, and a particularly delicious choice is the Sartori Peppermint Parmesan, paired with a creamy white chocolate for dipping. “I tell people, ‘Don’t think — just try it,’” she says. “This is a Paula Pairing and it makes a perfect end to the meal, as the protein in the cheese is filling, and the guests can take as little or as much of the chocolate as they prefer. Not to mention that the beautiful pink rind and white chocolate is really pretty and festive.”

Busch’s Fresh Food Market are your friends and neighbors with the best selection of cheeses, cured meats, gourmet nuts, beverages and snacks for your next holiday party.

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