I’m gonna say it’s a safe bet that by the time Santa gets to your house, he is going to be really over some cookies. He’s going to want salt, and protein, and probably a big glass of red to even him out. Why not make him a cheeseboard instead? Or if he does take you up on cookies, at least you’ll have a bomb snack while you wait for him to finish the job.
For me, a solid cheeseboard needs to have a few key elements: salty, crunch, something hard, something soft, a meat that’s a treat, and a few accoutrements to ensure you aren’t just eating a piece of cheddar on a cracker. (Does this last sentence sound sexual to anyone else? No? Ok, good.)
Here are some ideas to mix up whatever it is you usually do. Keep fresh for Santa.
Salty: nuts, salami, Marcona almonds, spiced chickpeas
Hard: aged cheddar, Manchego, parmesan
Soft: Brie, Camembert, Point Reyes bleu, Epoisse (only around at Christmas), compte, fresh mozzarella,
Treat Meat: Iberico ham (my true love), Prosciutto, chorizo, salami
Accoutrements: fig compote, quince paste, herb butter, honey, dried fruits
These are my go-tos, but I love to experiment. If I know I’m going to be having a gathering in the near future, usually I’ll go to Whole Foods or even my local market and buy those tiny, little remanents of cheese that they sell for just a dollar or two and taste test them in advance. If I like, I’ll return just before the party for a solid chunk of cheese change. Or, many places will let you taste in store, so don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.
Next up, grab a bold bottle of red and have your way with your board. If you need something that drinks like an expensive bottle, but costs $10, I’d suggest the Dynamite Red Blend. Try it, you won’t be sorry.