When I feel cheesy, meaty, and a little needy, I crave a tasty charcuterie board with flavors that go from salty to sweet, creamy to dreamy, with bunches of crunches along the way. It's the specific additions, outside of cheese and meat, that make this platter special.
The Grocery Store
On a recent grocery store visit, Quay had the smash idea of buying small cheese selections for us to munch on. Obviously, I also wanted some meat to go along with the cheese. Then we saw a store-made container of mascarpone cheese with fig jam that looked amazing. The problem is there was way too much mascarpone and not enough fig.
Solution? We saw a nice container of fig spread and bought that instead. Sweet and salty, remember?
By the way, it's "mas-carpone," not "mars-capone." Stop it already.
Quay picked the cheese and did a doggone amazing jerb. Honestly! Let me tell you about it: a smoked cheddar that I never thought I'd like, a Lamb Chopper that will be on my forever list, and a brie that, while not my favorite on any day of the week, ended up making an amazing bite when paired with something basic that you'll find out about below.
For some reason, I've always liked salami. Even as an overly picky mutha-trucka as a kid, I always liked the salami chunks my grandma would make as part of a Steelers game cheese plate. I even ate some of the cheese - I think white was always my favorite back then because of its milder flavor compared to yellow.
I found a nice selection of pre-packaged (yes, I know) salamis that go great on a plate: Genoa salami, Soppressata salami, and one of Quay's favorites, prosciutto. We didn't have time to visit the deli counter anyway, and in this case, the place didn't even have a good one.
The Special Treats
We talked about special additions earlier. Let me outline these for you to make it simple:
- My Rosemary Parmesan Sea Salt Crackers (make them, don't buy them)
- Fig jam
- Dry-roasted almonds
- Kalamata olives (not needed)
Quay did the plating on this, so I can't take credit. I can, however, take credit for tasting every bit on the damn board.
🐶 Leela Storm's Suggested Pairings
- 🎵 Steely Dan - Hey Nineteen
- 🍷 Chardonnay or Pinot Noir
- 🥂 Dry Champagne
🍽 Kitchen Critique
My rosemary crackers are amazing, so make 'em, bake 'em, and don't fake 'em. Funny thing is, I didn't really need them with this plate. The cheese was the real winner.
When I first heard "smoked cheddar," I had a pre-conceived notion that it would taste like ass and I'd move on to the next cheese. Nope! The smokey flavor is very present but accents the strong flavor of the cheddar. It goes great with the salami and almonds.
Brie. Funkin' brie - the cheese that all the girls like, but isn't really memorable. I guess it's the name that might be fun to say or seems "fancy"? It's just not that big of a deal to me and never was. Until now.
Try this combo: a small cut of watermelon with a small spoon-tip of brie. The ridiculously mild flavor and smooth texture of the brie paired with the soft, crunchy texture of the melon, make this a bite worth remembering.
It's soft, it's crunchy, it's got flavor, it's got pizazz, it tastes like you're eating jazz. It's got what you're looking for in a charcuterie date... er, plate.
It tastes like you're eating jazz. Or something.
Onto my favorite: the Lamb Chopper. Sounds like the title of a war movie, but it's really just an amazing gouda-style cheese that has a mild flavor and soft texture. This cheese goes great with everything on the board, but extremely well with the fig jam. Wow! It also pairs great with the Soppressata and prosciutto.
This cheese is as good on its own as it is paired with something sweet or salty, and would be great on grilled cheese as well.
Both of the salamis are mild and tasty, but I'm missing something with more of a peppery bite. The Soppressata is our fav.
The olives were a last-minute addition, and didn't really go with anything. The Kalamatas, while they pair with other cheeses, are too briny for this plate.
This plate is dynomite as a pre-dinner tummy winner. It'll get you ready to get ready to cook a proper dinner.
- Sweet dreams are made of cheese. Who am I to dis a brie?
- Charcuterie plates are tasty, but it's the accoutrements that elevate them.
- Save a few of those salami slices for Leela, she'll appreciate it and allow you to give her butt rubs.
- Put that damn Lamb Chopper on your go-to list for sandwiches and burgers.