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The holidays are a time to spread cheer, put a little merry in everything and make even the littlest things seem special. As the holiday party calendar fills up, I always find it easiest for me to choose one dish and make it for every party I attend. This year is all about the cheese and charcuterie board. We are lucky enough to have an authentic cheese shop in town and the on-trend experience is how to create a beautiful and deletable cheese and charcuterie board.

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As with any appetizer, you want it to appear like you spent all day creating it, without actually having to spend all day creating it. We have a few tips to share on how to make a great cheese and charcuterie Board:

1. Start with Great Ingredients: Fresh, whole foods make the best choices. Do your homework and choose quality meats and cheeses that are made in traditional, authentic ways. Another tip is to always offer a familiar staple for those less inclined to expand their palette. 

2. Variety: You'll want to have a variety of choices on the board without mixing too many flavors. Whether you choose savory and sweet or spicy and sharp, offer a bevy of options that are both complementary in color, texture and taste.

3. Plating: Spend time rolling meats, cutting cheeses into uniform and appealing pieces, and placing items on the board in a fashion that is accessible and appetizing. Remember you want people to eat and feel comfortable and if a board is too fussy, you'll miss the mark. 

4. Color: A way to add interest and appeal is to play with color. Try to add in a variety of crackers in different shapes and flavors; try to add garnish with purpose like cornichons or olives. 

5. Background: Use a hearty platter in a solid color or a large, wooden board or try slate if you'd like to write the names near the foods. Include a variety of attractive utensils.

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Other tips include-working in odds (let's say 3 or 5 variety of cheeses and 3 or 5 varieties of charcuterie), plus fruit, garnish, and crackers, bread or mini toasts; and don't forget to add in honey, a complimentary jam and/or grain mustard.

We love how Greens & Chocolate created this beautifully simple Charcuterie board for $30 from Trader Joe's. Hit up local cheese shops, Trader's Joe's Instagram as well as local cooking classes/schools for ideas.

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With a little practice and patience, making a great cheese and charcuterie board will be your go-to party contribution. Have fun, enjoy and be merry!

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HOW TO MAKE A GREAT CHEESE BOARD

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