Charcuterie boards. They’ve always been a thing, but they’ve had a huge surge in popularity the past year or so. As we can all see- the Lunchables generation grew up!
Never heard of a charcuterie board? Quite simply it’s a platter or board filled with a variety of cheeses, meats, fruits, vegetables, chocolates, crackers etc. all coordinated to pair beautifully and create an elegant snack for a party.
My husband and I have a tradition on Christmas Eve that we have a “picnic” in front of the Christmas tree after our daughter is in bed. Lights all off, tree lights on and of course the Netflix fireplace! We have a bottle of wine, snack on a cheeseboard and exchange our gifts and stockings. This has become my favorite Christmas tradition and an absolute must for us every year. After some trial and error I have solidified our favorite must haves for our Christmas Eve cheeseboard. The nice thing is, unlike some fancier boards, most if not all of these items can be found at most grocery stores!
We always want a good wine for Christmas Eve. To be honest though, I am definitely a sweet wine drinker- no dry reds for me! I’ve found my two favorite wines for us to indulge in when we have a cheeseboard, but especially on Christmas Eve!!!
Ciambello Sparkling Red Wine– I absolutely adore this wine! It’s a sweet sparkling red wine that’s just so cheerful looking! You definitely taste those red fruits in it too- I mostly notice a raspberry and cherry note with a bit of a chocolate bite.
Breitenbach Blackberry Wine– I just want to start by saying I’m sure you could find a local blackberry wine at your grocery store. I prefer this Brietenbach wine but I don’t believe it’s available everywhere- they are local to me. But this wine is so incredibly pleasant to sip on Christmas Eve! Be sure to buy Blackberry though, and not Black Raspberry! Black Raspberry is very tart, whereas Blackberry is sweet almost like jam with a slightly dry/tart finish.
Triple Cream Brie– One of the best cheeses for a dessert cheeseboard is a triple cream brie. It pairs beautifully with the sweet wines as well as fruit and nut accompaniments. My preferred cheese is this one by Saint Angel. Now please do not go buy $40 of cheese on Amazon! The link is just so you can see the brand. I frequently find this cheese (in an $8-9 slice) at my local grocery store. If you can’t find Saint Angel no worries- any triple cream brie will do! You could even do a double cream brie, it’s just less soft!
Honey Goat Cheese– Okay, goat cheese is definitely different. It took me a while to decide I liked it. It has a bit of a sour flavor to it, but in a good way. For our board I always get a honey goat cheese which adds a nice sweet flavor to it. Flavored goat cheeses are fairly common so it should be pretty easy to find at your local grocery store!
Apple Smoked Gouda– Last but not least I like to add a nice smoked gouda to the board. This offers a cheese that’s a bit more “solid” so to speak, something not as soft or sweet as the other two cheeses. I prefer an apple smoked gouda which has something of a buttery and nutty flavor that balances nicely against the sweetness of the wines and other two cheeses. Again, this is fairly common and should be easy to find at your local grocery store!
Okay, there’s really no need for links for the rest… from here we are just looking for fruits and nuts that go well with the items listed above. Below is my preferred list- these all pair beautifully together. Imagine a sweet slice of pear spread with a creamy and buttery brie… or a water cracker topped with honey goat cheese and a few cranberries, topped with a drizzle of honey. Trust me it’s absolutely delicious!
- Water Crackers
- Dried Cranberries
- Bartlett Pears
- Dark Chocolate
Last but not least is setting the scene for your Christmas Eve picnic. We spread a blanket directly in front of the Christmas tree and turn off all the lights except the tree. Since we don’t have a real fireplace we turn on the Netflix fireplace and some Christmas piano music (no words). Typically we also make sure we throw on our pajamas so we are nice and comfy, and then we exchange gifts and/or stockings. This year we bought a new mattress as our gift to eachother (adulting) so we only have stockings to exchange.
So, what do you think? Will you be doing a Christmas Eve picnic this year? Will you follow my sweet charcuterie board or switch it up to something more savory with prosciutto and olives and cheddar?