‘Tis the season on holiday parties and what better way to impress the crowd than an elaborate platter of cold cuts and cheese. Below, we broke down what to keep and what to skip on your Christmas charcuterie board.
If you can believe it, certain cheeses are best to consume during the colder months. According to Food and Wine, winter cheeses are made with milk produced during the spring and summer seasons. Basically, animals that are grazing the mountains during the warmer months produce better cheeses due to their diet. The flavour of the milk is more complex thus creating an equally complex and flavourful cheese.
What to keep: Comté and Gruyère.
The traditional production of these cheeses occurs during the summer season when cows are free to graze the mountains. The milk production is high and it typically takes four months to age, which means that it will be ready for consumption come December— just in time for Christmas!
Other cheeses to consider are Appenzeller, Vacherin Mont d’Or, Raclette and Stilton.
What to skip: consider skipping cheeses with short maturation like goat cheese and muenster. Skipping it doesn’t mean they’re not good, it just means that these cheeses may have come from animals with different diets. They’re basically just not as complex as the winter cheeses mentioned above.
Whether fresh or otherwise, try to keep the fruits in season.
What to keep: for fresh fruit, try pears, pomegranate seeds, figs and clementines. And for dried fruits, go for dried apricots and cranberries.
What to skip: Skip peaches and plums, and any type of berries altogether.
There isn’t any seasonality when it comes to cured meats so this portion of the board is free for all. To know more about which cured meat is best for the board, this article has got you covered.
Nuts, pickles, etc.
Cashews, almonds and pickled beans need a break this holiday so we should probably skip those. Instead, keep pistachios and pickled turnips.
Honey, jams, and preserves are the underrated heroes of the charcuterie board.
What to skip: honey and apricot jam—only because it’s mediocre and we’re better than that.
For other recommendations to complete your ideal Christmas charcuterie board, we wrote down the best wine and cheese pairings this holiday season, and the best cocktails to try for your holiday party.
Published by HOLR Magazine.