Hopefully you’ve made your way to your weekly shopping trip and now have the beginnings of a well crafted Holiday Cheese Board!
Week 2 continues down the same path of easy to grab essentials but we will have our first foray in to buying cheese!
Are you ready?!
Fig cake is such an easy addition to any cheese plate. It also works well for those that can’t do gluten because it is just figs and nuts pressed in to a cake shape. It provides a textural interest and is delicious!
Tis the season for festive Italian treats! Never had Panforte? Well, I like to call it an Italian fruit cake though it’s nothing like the unwanted brick that most Americans think of when thinking of fruit cake. It’s studded with candied fruit and nuts and should have a little give when you press it. It can have layers of Marzipan of chocolate too. It usually has a bright citrus zest that will add another dimension to your board.
I wasn’t lying about the time for festive Italian treats! Pannetone is a round bread studded with candied fruit and orange peel. It’s definitely a bread unlike the Panforte. Grab a small one if you want something just for the board but if you are in to having some leftovers, get a big one and plan for Pannetone French Toast. You can thank me later. If candied fruit and citrus aren’t your thing, there are some brands like Rustichella that make Pannetone without the candied fruit. Their Fig and Chocolate one is to die for and would make an excellent contribution to a board. (Also, the BEST French Toast!)
Otherwise known as Gherkins, Cornichons are the tiniest but mightiest pickles! So much flavor is packed in to the littlest package! These are great for a palate cleanser when your mouth feels a little heavy and coated from the fattiness of the cheese. This’ll clear you right up to continue snacking!
Let’s be real, everyone loves a cheese spread! You can make it yourself or you can grab something from the store. Pimento cheese spread (I love RedClay Gourmet out of NC and they can be found at your local Kroger by the Murray’s cheese counter!), goat cheese spread (Cypress Grove has some great new cups in many flavors that would be an easy and delicious addition!), or some cold pack cheese from Wisconsin will make any mouth happy! These also make for a great addition to a grilled cheese in leftovers.
The king of cheese! This is no parm in a can. Get yourself a nice, freshly cut wedge. Most grocery stores with any sort of cheese counter cut Parmigiano Reggiano in house. If it comes wrapped in plastic, take it our of that wrapper and fold it in some parchment paper and put it in a sandwich bag with a little air still left in it. This will keep your cheese alive and tasting it’s best even when you aren’t using it for a couple weeks. Now, you just have to try not to snack on it before the big day! Obviously, leftovers are encouraged because having Parmigiano Reggiano in your fridge is just a must!
Prepackaged Cured Meats:
This is the time to buy any of your prepackaged meats. Full sticks of salami, or the prepackaged slices. Fresh slices are best, to be sure, but if you don’t want to deal with the masses in the grocery store eight before Christmas, this will give you a sense of peace. Cutting up salami is easy once you get the casing off of it but unless you have a slicer, you won’t have those perfect thin slices. That’s ok! It’s nice to have a chunk to chew on.
Next week we definitely get in to buying more cheese so that’s something fun to look forward to! Let me know what you like to add on boards! Am I missing something you haven’t seen yet? Tell me!
A Certified Cheese Professional living the cheesy life.