Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether it’s a casual christmas open house, a festive family dinner or a rocking cocktail party, just about everyone says cheese! These simple tips will help you whip up a delicious spread sure to please all of your holiday guests.
- When picking what to serve, plan on 1-2 ounces of cheese and meat per person.
- Try to include a variety of textures, something spreadable (soft goat cheese, creamy brie, paté or a terrine) something thinly sliced (prosciutto, salami, or coppa) and something you can cut yourself (aged cheddar, funky blue, or garlic sausage).
What you choose to serve with your spread is just as important as the meats and cheeses themselves. Additions like olives, roasted nuts, dips and spreads, marinated vegetables and of course crusty bread and flakey crackers are key.
- Serve both bread and crackers – different textures enhance the experience. Some favourites are crostinis, water crackers and a nice fresh baguette.
- Fruits and nuts, help amplify the sweetness of the cheese and provide some texture. Try both dried (cranberries, dates, figs), and fresh (sliced apples, grapes or melon) along side salty nuts like almonds, pistachios or cashews.
- Savoury items like pickled vegetables, marinated artichokes, and olives help break up the richness and provide some acid.
- Dips and spreads – This, simply put, is the “cherry on top”. A smear of our Brewhouse Stoned Mustard or a Spicy Pepper Jelly is always welcome and just elevates the platter to another level. This time of year our Cranberry Jalapeno Jelly, or our Apple White Wine Jelly are great options.
- Unwrap the cheeses and arrange them on a platter (or wooden cutting board, slab of natural stone, etc) at least an hour before serving. Letting cheeses “breathe” enhances the flavours.
- Set out a separate knife for each cheese, especially the soft varieties. Soft cheese spreads well with a butter knife; firm cheese might require a paring knife; and aged cheese often requires a cheese plane.
- Label each cheese. This way your guests know what they’re enjoying.