I sing in my church choir and once a year the alto section has a Christmas party. We’re the only section that does this, which of course makes us better than all the other sections. What is a choir, or a band, or anything really, without pointless competition?
I was really racking my brain trying to think of what to bring. I’m usually running out of food on Saturdays in advance of my Sunday shopping trip, so I had some tortillas, shrimp, and a couple other bits and bobs. Shrimp didn’t sound appetizing and I didn’t want to take the effort to make a salad. Other meats also didn’t sound appealing; what I really wanted was some fruit.
You know what goes well with fruit, right? Cheese.
You know what goes well with cheese? Crackers.
So about 30 minutes before the party, I bustled off to the grocery store to make a cheese board.
There are a couple of different formulas for a successful cheese board. Basically, you want a different cheeses for differing palates. For example, I happen to love funky, smelly cheese, but I am well aware that many others don’t. From there you need a few sweet fruits to balance out the salt or funk—berries work well, as do sliced apples and dried stone fruits like apricots or plums. Then you need something to eat the cheese and fruits with. I know I’m becoming an adult because I really like these seeded crackers now, but anything bready will work.
Optional inclusions could be nuts (for a little extra crunch), fruit preserves, pickled vegetables and/or olives, and balsamic vinegar. If you wanted to add meat, salami, prosciutto, ham, or pâté would be good options.
I ended up going with berries (I conveniently spotted a container of all my favorites—raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries), mixed salted nuts (including almonds, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans), gorgonzola (funky), pecorino (salty), brie (mild), seed crackers, and garlic crostini.
Once I arrived at the party, I arranged everything on my ordinary wooden cutting board and inaugurated the cheese knives we got as a Christmas gift last year.
It turned out great and I got a lot of points for presentation! And the best part was taking the leftover fruit and cheese home and snacking on it all day!