We’ve all been there before. It’s Thursday and the weekly chaos of work, shuffling kids and correcting homework is starting to wear us down. However, with Friday right around the corner, we somehow find the motivation to pull through one more day of disorder to make it to the weekend. Living in Greensboro’s, Kirkwood neighborhood, gatherings typically occur at the home with the largest front porch. In the warmer months, children run from yard to yard and parents catch-up with friends while enjoying their favorite beverage of choice. By keeping your pantry stocked with a few essential items, pulling together a charcuterie board in a few minutes is the perfect, no-fuss way to impress guests and cater to any palate. When sourcing products, I purchase items that are sweet, salty, crunchy and creamy. This allows flexibility when pairing with a variety of wines.
Must have pantry items for the ultimate charcuterie board:
1. Aged meats: Greensboro’s Giacomo’s Italian Market sells wonderful aged meats. Shelf stable for several months, this is a must have pairing for party platters.
2. Almonds and pistachios: Crunchy, healthy and an easy nibble, almonds typically pair well with hard, aged cheeses while pistachios provide a nice balance to softer cheeses such as brie and goat cheese.
3. Dried fruits: Soft, chewy and sweet – dried fruits are tasty tidbits that compliment all charcuterie boards.
4. 2-3 variety of cheeses: My personal rule of thumb? Choose cheeses that can be paired with any beverage. Aged Cheddar, Goat Cheese, Brie and Manchego are my top picks.
5. Honey: Did you know, honey NEVER goes bad! Provide guests with a visually stunning appeal by having a bit of honeycomb available for nibbling.
6. Good balsamic vinegar and olive oil: Crusty bread dipped in a good blend of oil and vinegar is always a hit.
7. Tapenade or olives: This is a salty staple that pairs well with many cheeses.
8. Pickled veggies: Similar to the honeycomb, sweet pickles, okra and green beans are esthetically pleasing to the eye and balance out the other ingredients.
9. Crackers: Choose a variety of crackers which provide more than one texture.
10. Chocolate: Select high quality milk and dark chocolate bars. My personal favorite brands? Videri Chocolate out of Raleigh and Black Mountain Chocolate located in Winston.
Impromptu gatherings with friends and food are a must in my life and charcuterie boards are a no-fuss way to provide a classy spin on party appetizers. Keeping a few essential ingredients stocked in your pantry will allow you to pull together a quick and easy meal suitable for both the young and old alike.