The holiday season is fast approaching. If you’re entertaining, a charcuterie or cheese board is a real crowdpleaser. Assembling a gorgeous platter might seem overwhelming, but it’s actually easier than it looks and makes a very impressive party appetizer.
How to Do it Yourself
We reached out to local cheese guru Mary Connolly, aka Marie Fromage, for DIY tips so you can put together Instaworthy boards of your own.
- The first thing to remember is that it’s about PLEASURE. Have fun and don’t sweat it – everyone will love it!
- Start with the cheese: three kinds of cheese are a good number for most situations. Five kinds of cheese are best for a crowd.
- There should be about 1 ounce of cheese per guest, so buy about three pounds of cheese for a small platter, six pounds for 16 people, etc.
- What kind of cheeses? Something MILD (like Brie or a log of fresh goat cheese), MEDIUM (like a Gruyere or cheddar), and something STRONG (like blue cheese or a washed rind “stinky” cheese)
- Next, add something fresh, such as green grapes, peppadew peppers, or cucumber slices.
- Play up the salty-sweet combo by adding nuts, dried fruit, honey, fig jam, and dark chocolate.
- Add “Dry Goods” – crunchy things to compliment creamy and rich cheese. Crackers, sliced baguette, pretzels, breadsticks.
- Make it charcuterie by adding meats. Soppressata or pepperoni slices will give the platter a little something extra special.
- Take your cheese out of the fridge 30 minutes before it will be served. Room temperature cheese is best!
Where to Order
If you would still prefer to let the experts do the work, you’re in luck. There are many local options for amazing charcuterie and cheese boards:
Van Hook Cheese & Grocery (111 Grove Street, Montclair) A cut-to-order artisan and specialty cheese shop. Beyond cheese and platters, Van Hook carries all types of cured meats, crackers, preserves, and specialty grocery items. They hand-pull fresh mozzarella and make dips in-house.
Napoli Trattoria & Pizzeria recently opened at 11 Park Street (formerly Villa Victoria), serves an impressively displayed board featuring thinly sliced prosciutto in their dining room, and will prepare a tray or your own board (on loan) for takeout.
Butler + the Board Charcuterie (103 Forest Street, Montclair) The shop is set to open soon and will offer small-batch artisanal charcuterie made with quality ingredients. Butler + Board is owned by Chef Jeff Butler, a classically trained chef who has worked at NYC’s top restaurants.
Love on Boards Local small online business that offers beautifully arranged charcuterie boards, as well as grazing tables, customized cakes, and chocolate treats.
Sal’s Gastonnomia (104 Walnut Street Montclair) Sal’s is n Italian-inspired deli, caterer, and market that will create custom charcuterie and cheese boards curated for you and your guests.
Rosario’s Butcher Shop & Gourmet Foods (252 Park Street, Montclair) Rosario’s has been a popular butcher shop in town for years, but the Italian specialty shop also offers great cheese and antipasto (that’s Italian for charcuterie) platters.