In spite of all those back-to-school ads, it’s still summer and I plan to squeeze out as much of it as possible. Even the weather knows what’s up (hello, consistent triple digit heat). But with the weather brings a level of laziness, or perhaps heat exhaustion, that means even though I want all the fun of summer entertaining, I don’t want to expend a lot of energy creating said fun.
As you know, I haven’t met a cheese and charcuterie board I don’t like. Aside from being a cornucopia of edible treats, when done right they look beautiful enough to impress even the toughest guest. They can be served as an appetizer or even be a complete meal. Throw in some exceptional wine and you may never get me to leave. This is the way to my heart, peeps.
I created two easy summer boards for a simple summer gathering and I paired them with two of my favorite Texas wines. All you need to build a simple board is a small cutting board or platter. Go for wood, slate, or marble. I love the way colorful foods pop off a dark slate board like this one. There really aren’t any hard rules when it comes to food composition (just have fun with it), but if you’re looking for inspiration then I recommend the following.
For the white wine drinker:
Wine – 2017 Mary Ruth from William Chris Vineyards (57% Malvasia Bianca, 22% Blanc du Bois, 21% Moscato Giallo)
Cheese – Fresh Chèvre (goat’s milk cheese)
Garnish – Small stone fruits and sage leaves
Top the goat cheese with orange marmalade and serve with black pepper crackers. The citrus flavor of the marmalade tempers the tartness of the cheese. I find cherry plums to be a fun alternative to grapes. They’re bigger and make a great conversation piece as many people don’t know what they are. The 2017 Mary Ruth is pretty fruit forward, but not sweet. It’s more bright in the way a citrus fruit would be. I enjoy it by itself but also with food. It has hints of apples, pears, and orange blossoms. I like how the black pepper in the crackers spices up all that fruit. The Mary Ruth is ready to be enjoyed now or can be cellared for a couple more years. But I say drink it now – life’s too short not to enjoy delicious wine!
For the red wine drinker:
Wine – 2016 Enchanté from William Chris Vineyards (61% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot)
Cheese – Manchego (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese)
Charcuterie – Dry Coppa (Capocollo) or Jamón Ibérico, if available
Garnish – Olives and fresh rosemary
The beauty of a cheese like manchego is that because it’s a hard cheese, your local cheese shop will slice it into nice wedges, which look great on your board. It has a creamy texture and a mild sharpness. Dry coppa is one of my favorite cured Italian meats, so it’s my easy go to. But Jamón Ibérico is really what you want if you can find it. A small bowl of olives keep juices tidy. This board has some stronger flavors and needs a wine that can stand up to them. The 2016 Enchanté is a brilliant blend of some of Texas’ best grape varietals. This wine always impresses me – nice to meet you indeed. It has the body I expect from a great Cab, but it’s incredibly smooth. I usually want to eat alllll the meats with it. That’s why the addition of charcuterie to the cheese board is a must! Toss out some dark chocolates if you want, too, because this wine has notes of blackberries and dark cherry. It’s a wine that will carry you through an entire meal from start to finish.
A few simple pairing alternatives to consider for your boards: almonds and walnuts, chutneys, fruit spreads, French bread or breadsticks, berries, raw honey, pickled vegetables, and sun-dried tomatoes.
When planning a simple summer wine and cheese spread, it’s most important to remember that you don’t have to go crazy with a ton of ingredients or fancy foods. Stick with one or two things you love. With good wine and good conversation, you’re all set.
Xo – Erin
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I was provided wine from William Chris Vineyards in exchange for my reviews. As always, opinions are entirely my own.
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