Nothing perks up a humdrum party like a plentiful cheese plate or charcuterie board. But there’s more to it than just throwing a few crackers at a wood cutting board and slicing some cheese (though admittedly not much more). Make your board waste-free by only leaving out what you think your guests can reasonably eat, store what folks don’t eat in an airtight container, and be sure to save what remains of your cheese rinds for a Leftover Parmesan Rind Lasagna.
You’ll want at the very least something soft, something hard, and something funky. Here are a few options you can get at Imperfect right now:
Imperfect Foods Truffle Cheddar
This handcrafted, farmhouse cheddar with truffles is a real crowd-pleaser and will perfectly fill your quota for “something funky.”
Cowgirl Creamery Devil’s Gulch Organic Cow’s Milk Cheese
A soft-ripened/bloomy rind cheese is essential and honestly, the main event for a cheese plate. Think brie and other soft cheese like the Devil’s Gulch from Cowgirl Creamery. This organic cheese is made with pasture-based milk and encrusted in dried red heirloom peppers grown by Allstar Organics. Remember that you can eat the rind on this one and should because it’s delicious.
Roth Cranberry Goat Cheese
Made from real cranberry goats! The folks at Roth are true artisans when it comes to goat cheese. This perfectly tart, tangy, and creamy cheese is only here for the holidays and worth stocking up on.
Belgioioso Parmesan Wedge
Parmesan is a little out of the ordinary on cheese boards but it makes a great snacking cheese or festive tree-making cheese as you can see in the image above. Hard cheeses also tend to have a longer shelf life, so if you’re left with leftovers, you save this one for your next cheese board.
Right now at Imperfect we’re offering an amazing assortment of cured meats from artisan producers, including:
Imperfect Foods Crespone Salami
This coarsely ground farmhouse-style pork salami is traditionally served around the holidays and infused with warm baking spices like ginger, clove, mace, and cinnamon.
Imperfect Foods Genoa Salami and Finocchiona Salami
These fan-favorites are made in an old-world style with American pasture-raised, heritage pork. These salamis come from small family farms that don’t use hormones or antibiotics.
Imperfect Foods Charcuterie Selection
This artisan three-pack includes lomo, saucisson sec, and sweet soppressata, making it good to go and ready to assemble.
Crackers and bread
For cheese plates, you’ll want something salty and snappy that won’t distract from the main event, like our Imperfect Foods Water Crackers. You’ll also want a few “look at me” crackers that add pizzazz to more mild cheeses – think seedy sourdough crackers or homemade multigrain crackers. For something easy, grab a box of our Imperfect Foods Specialty Cracker Trio for the trifecta of crispness!
You can opt for crackers on a charcuterie board too, but a crusty baguette or some sourdough bread would be better. Cut and assemble a baguette in slices for easy grabbing, or chop some sourdough bread into spears and throw them in the oven for a few minutes with olive oil to toast. A charcuterie board is also a great way to use up slightly stale bread; just prepare your bread as you would croutons, but keep them in larger pieces.
Sweet and acidic little somethings to complement your meats and cheeses are essential. A jar of honey or fancy jam would be great. And who would turn their nose up at a handful of seasoned nuts, olives, or gherkins?
If you don’t put it out, people will just ask for it anyways. Opt for local honey with a bold amber color and floral flavor.
Sweet, tart, and absofruitely scrumptious, Kitchen & Love Fig Premium Preserves or a raspberry fruit spread add balance to a cheese plate or charcuterie board.
Dried apricots and fresh fruit
A bit of fruit never hurt anyone and you’ll want something sweet with all that salt. Some fresh strawberries and grapes still on the vine would also add a pop of color.
What are they stuffed with? Good stuff. Just kidding, it’s pimiento peppers. Kalamata olives would also be delicious; just be sure you get the seedless ones or put a cute little flag near the olives to make sure no one cracks a molar.
For a cheese plate, something lightly seasoned or a little sweet is often welcome. Lightly salted cashews, our Toffee’d Broken Almonds, and/or something a little fancy like marcona almonds would be perfect.
For a charcuterie board, offer other tasty morsels to snack on to help people not hog all the ham. Think lightly salted and roasted almonds, pistachios, or a cup of mixed nuts like you’d get at a pub.