Appetizers — they’re the new dinner party.
As the holiday season approaches, you'll need some fast, simple yet special ideas for family get-togethers that everyone will enjoy. Charcuterie boards are a top choice for no stress holiday entertaining. Load them up with all your favourite vegan cheese, meats, fruit, nuts and spreads. Add some wine and baguettes and you have yourself a meal!
Even if you're not ready to commit to a full vegan spread, a few dairy-free options are always appreciated!
A charcuterie board is a meat and cheese platter that typically includes a variety of items that can be paired in mouth-watering combinations. They usually include various ingredients that complement the meats and cheeses for a fun do-it-yourself appetizer experience for your guests.
With Zengarry fauxmages and these simple tips it's a snap to pull together hours or minutes before your guests arrive.
We are all naturally drawn to beautiful things, and when guests are presented with a spread that is appealing to the eyes, it can even impact the taste.
When building a charcuterie board, serveware plays a huge role in stepping up your presentation game. Natural materials like slate or marble slabs or large wooden platters or boards are visually appealing and have a natural feel.
Some must-haves are a long wooden board, a cheese board, cheese knives, a few serving trays and a selection of mini bowls/dishes (short, wide-mouthed mason jars work well here). The rustic yet modern look of these serving elements will bring out the vibrant colors of each food item in this impressive spread, and serveware in natural materials and neutral colours let the food take centre stage.
The Feature Foods
Whether feeding vegans, vegetarians or omnivores, Zengarry fauxmages provide a fine cheese experience that will satisfy any cheese lover.
Using a variety of cheeses with different textures and flavours is preferable on your charcuterie board. Some milder cheeses and well as some with fuller, sharper flavour provides variety for pairing with the different elements of your offerings.
Try using two or three of your favourite Zengarry fauxmages. We used the Cumin Gruyère style, the Sun Dried Tomato and Pub Cheddar below and the Smokey Jalapeño and the Holiday Brie style above.
Yves has a number of meat alternatives like veggie turkey slices, ham slices and bologna that are perfect for charcuterie platters and easily available here in Canada. Another of my readily available faves is Fontaine Santé veggie paté. If you're a wiz in the kitchen, try your hand at making your own!
There are a number of meatless sausage alternative readily available today including Gusta, Field Roast and Yves. Cut them into rounds and sauté them on each side just before serving.
Coconut Bacon, tempeh bacon or vegan jerkey can all be great additions if you can get your hands on some at your local health food store.
For a more natural alternative serve thinly sliced marinated portobello mushrooms, seitan, or tempeh.
Bread and Crackers:
Include some sliced baguette along with a selection of crackers. You may want to consider at least one or two gluten free options like Mary's crackers or Rice crackers. Avoid strongly flavoured crackers or bread, with strongly flavoured fauxmages; however, an olive focaccia can pair nicely with milder flavoured cheeses like our Gruyere or Brie styles.
The Final Touches
Grainy flavoured mustards are a great addition to your charcuterie plate. Try a horseradish dijon, or any smokey or savoury mustard.
Spicy jellies like Garlic Pantry Garlic Scape and Jalapeño jelly, Niagra Peach and Jalapeño jelly or a spicy Red Pepper Jelly work well. There are also a number of wine jellies meant to be paired with cheese. All sorts of tapenades are great or add your favourite chutney or a corn salsa.
Anything pickled or briny adds a bit of tang to your charcuterie board. There are so many amazing options here: gherkin pickles, pickled beans, cocktail onions, olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes or capers.
Add in some sweet seasonal fruits and veggies; concord grapes, pears, apples, sliced tomatoes or cherry tomoatoes are some of the traditional favourites. Look for produce that looks fresh and colourful since this is where most of the colour on your charcuterie board will come from.
Nuts and dried fruits help to cleanse the palette between meat and cheese samplings. Try adding dried apricots, figs or dried prunes or your favourite nuts. A few fresh herb sprigs or pine boughs can provide a decorative element.
Fine dark chocolate can also be a welcome addition.
Putting all of these elements together, you will end up with a board that provides a fun do-it-yourself appetizer experience that has a variety of pairing options so that each and every bite is different from the last.
Serve with a variety of white and red wines or perhaps your favourite local craft beer.