Once a month my husband and I enjoy a cheese platter for dinner. It's an easy dinner and something that we both look forward too. It usually includes several cheeses, crackers, nuts, and occasionally some grapes. We also have a glass of wine with it as well. But every now and then I like to take it up a notch a make a full on charcuterie platter. What exactly is a charcuterie platter? Good question!
Simply speaking charcuterie is a cold cooked meat such as ham, sausage, and bacon. Basically it's a lot of pork meats. Whenever a charcuterie platter is made it generally contains these delicious cured meats, cheeses, nuts, fruits, some type of sweet garnish, some type of acidic vegetable, and either a cracker or bread. This is totally a winning dinner for my husband and I but it's also an easy but stunning appetizer platter to serve at the holidays. I created this Holiday Charcuterie Platter around a variety of Kerrygold Cheeses.
Before building a Charcuterie Platter the best thing to do is choose your meats and cheeses. Everything else can be built around those. I chose to go with Kerrygold Aged Cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout, and Blarney Castle. The Aged Cheddar is a pasteurized, grass-fed cow’s milk cheese that is aged for one year and undergoes a stringent grading process as it matures. It's the perfect start to a Charcuterie Platter. The Dubliner with Irish Stout brings out the sweet, nutty, rich flavor of Dubliner Cheese and swirls and tumbles it together with the malty, caramel, bitter flavor of a perfect pint of Irish Stout. Blarney Castle is a mild and creamy cow’s milk cheese with rich and velvety undertones.
Next I chose two meats to go along with the platter. I feel that you need at least 2 meats but no more then three. My husband actually picked out the meats and chose a smoked ham and a salami to go along with the platter. Both meats had a ton of flavor and just the right amount of salt in them. From there I started choosing other things to go on the platter.
For the nuts I chose smoked almonds because I thought the smoked flavor would pair well with the meats. My favorite fruit to put on a cheese tray is grapes and I went with seedless black grapes on this holiday version. Next I went to the basement to look through my homemade jams and find one that went with my holiday theme. The Mixed Berry Jam with Herbs was exactly what I was looking for. Big chunks of sweet berries with savory herbs was amazing with these cheeses.
Next I went to the Mediterranean bar at my local supermarket and choose a few acidic vegetables. I choose some blue cheese stuffed olives, red peppadews, green olives, and ham stuffed peppers. These looked so amazing I had a hard time not easting them ahead of time! I wrapped up the platter with two types of crackers and several crostini.
The results were a beautiful Holiday Charcuterie Platter that I was able to pull together in less then 25 minutes. The flavors all complimented each other and looked wonderful too. My husband and I enjoyed sampling this platter and I can't wait to serve a similar one at our Christmas party this year!
So remember, when creating your own Holiday Charcuterie Platter, use the following checklist:
- 2-3 dry cured meats (I used the smoked ham and salami)
- 2-3 good quality cheeses (Kerrygold cheeses are one of the best!)
- 1 type of nuts
- 1 type of fruit
- 1-2 sweet garnishes
- Several acidic vegetables
- Crackers or bread
Are you making a Charcuterie Platter for the holidays this year? If so, leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite foods are to put on a Charcuterie Platter!
I received a variety of cheese from Kerrygold but all opinions are 100% my own.