Look who is here! Spring has made it’s appearance and is looking mighty fine. Yes, it’s still chilly in Louisiana, but winter is officially over. I tried really hard to find things to love about winter. We bought a fire-pit at the end of summer and it came in handy during the winter months. During one of the freezing cold months, we also lit one of our fireplaces in our home and that was really nice. So, I can officially say that I love fires during the winter months. But summer is still my favorite so the closer we get to those months, the better my mood.
Spring is a great time of year! Though most people’s allergies are really bad it’s still a great time to get outside. It’s also a great time to entertain. In Louisiana, summers can get really hot and humid. So that makes spring a great time to entertain outdoors. One thing I love to use when I entertain is a charcuterie and cheese tray.
I’ve made various cheese trays based on the needs of my guests including this cajun cheese tray and this spicy cheese tray. I really love creating various charcuterie and cheese boards depending the season, what’s available to purchase, or even things I want to try or know my guests will enjoy. There are endless options. Today, I wanted to share a really simple cheese tray that you can make for your guests before a big meal or if you’re just featuring snacks for hospitality.
If you’re looking to create a simple charcuterie and cheese board, you can do so with a few grocery store treats. Fresh salami, seasonal fruit, bread or crackers, and cheese is all you need. For this cheese tray, I found these new Naan bread dippers and they are great for little pizzas, hummus, or for spreading a dip of some sort. For fruit, I chose, grapes, blood oranges, and strawberries. And for cheese, I picked up pepper jack cheese. With those options, you can pull this tray together for $20.
To help cutdown on costs, find ways to cut corners but not sacrifice quality.
If you need to stay under budget, especially if this isn’t the main course, do not buy anything pre-packaged. Buy fresh fruit and only use what you need. We normally have lots of leftover fruit when I make a cheese tray. Buy cheese and cut it yourself. Most delis have pre-cut cheese, but I’ve found a slice of cheese can be cheaper…just cut it yourself. Also, see what the deli has for fresh meats like pepperoni and salami. You may only need 1/4 pound sliced pepperoni for your tray which might be cheaper than a pre-packaged pack of salami. Lastly, instead of fancy bread, buy a loaf of french bread and slice it into bite sized portions. Warm the bread in the oven just as guests are arriving for warm toasty bread to go with whatever else is on the tray. Slice some butter and don’t overthink it.
What I do not want you to skimp on is beauty. Yes, a charcuterie and cheese tray can be pretty. A beautiful marble cheese board, pretty cheese knives, and a little candlelight goes a long way. Even if you cut corners with your snacks, make the setup feel special with other things. Keep quality entertaining items readily available to entertain. Place tealights in an old mason jar or in these round brass bowls. Add mint or another herb for garnish. The little details will go a long ways in making your guests feel comfortable and encourage conversation.
Now that spring is underway, warmer days mean more opportunities to entertain. Whether you’re having a dinner party, serving up a big multi-course meal, or just having friends over for a snack – a charcuterie and cheese board is the perfect snack. You can mix it with whatever your guests like, you can tailor it to another meal, or create something completely unique. The great thing is you can’t really go wrong with what this kind of food. Just make sure to make it with love, don’t forget about the details, and you’ll be all set. Now get out and enjoy spring!
Don’t forget to stop by our new shop – Copper and Brass!