The New Year is fast approaching and this will be my last post of 2014! For today I figured I’d write about one of my favourite ways to snack over the holidays; cheese and charcuterie plates. Our schedule over the holidays is definitely more lax, so late breakfasts don’t leave us hungry when it comes around to lunch time. Rather than having a whole meal, we whip together an assortment of cheese and charcuterie. Here are some of my tips and tricks on mixing it up!
First of all, this is where it all begins. I like going to a restaurant supply store like Aubut in Montreal or Bourassa in the rest of the province. In Ontario, the only places I’ve seen with a big selection of cheese for such an occasion is Loblaws and the Saint Lawrence Market. The Saint Lawrence market actually has a huge selection of original cheeses like mentioned in my earlier post like aged wine, stout, and many others.
Second, texture is important. It’s never enough to have only hard or only soft cheeses. I’ve had a huge realization on the impact of texture in our food in the past few months. Even though you won’t be having a bite of soft and hard cheese in the same mouthful, it’s still necessary to have a selection.
It’s also nice sometimes to add a little on top of a cheese. For example, a super simple way to elevate a soft ricotta is by drizzling some honey using a thyme branch for a little bit of an earthy undertone and grind up a few coffee beans to sprinkle on top. The combination of sweet and bitter flavours becomes a perfect accompaniment with the creamy and rich cheese.
Third, just like tartare, you need enough crackers and baguette. Another selection here is also necessary!
Fourth, it’s so easy to arrange charcuterie meats into pretty patterns to go in between the cheese and it makes it a little fancier; just for fun. (This is one of my favourite parts of the arranging)
Lastly, I can’t really say no to a glass of bubbly; it brings it all together. Happy New Year all!