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Oct 2, 2012 10:15 AM

cheeses & meats tray

A friend is coming over next week & we have decided in lieu of dinner or ordering a pizza to have some wine & cheeses etc. There will only be 2 of of so I don't want to go hog wild buying too much variety. Any suggestions for about 3 or 4 cheeses & maybe 2 or 3 meats?
I was thinking maybe Roquefort, a brie or goat (with jam or nuts on either one), maybe Pecorino Romano and/or a Cheddar or Gruyere . For meats all I could come up with is Proscutto and Salami or Capricola or chorizo. I will also have olives, maybe bread or crackers, maybe nuts.

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  1. It's good to think of meat and cheese pairings. I would do Proscucitto with either Italian Fontina or Parmigiano and then a Salami with a good Pecorino. For a cheese alone, since the others are Italian, I would choose a nice Gorgonzola. The other item I would add is some roasted red peppers which goes nicely with both the meats.

    1. I thought of the peppers too but I wondered if they go with wine. That is why I passed on artichoke hearts.
      And aren't Parmagiano & Pecorino too similiar? And I don't think I need to be true to a theme such as Italian--just want things that go well with vino.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sparkareno

        Roasted red peppers and wine.....a great pairing for the mixed anitpasto you're creating. Parmigiano is made from cow's milk and has a hint of butter pecan flavor to it. Pecorino is made from sheep's milk and is salty and sharp. I suggested the Fontina because it is a softer cheese but if I could only have one cheese forever it would be Parmigiano. I suggested a theme of Italian because it is easier to choose items that go well together rather than have them "clash" like I feel they can if you go too far with different flavors. Edited addition. Are you going to have specific wines or it this just a get together where you will drink wine? That can certainly make a difference in your menu.

      2. I love cured meats more than almost any other food. Prosciutto is pretty much the gold standard, Volpi makes some very nice wine-cured salamis if you can find them ( ), and I agree that something spicy is also in order, like a hot soppresata salami or "gabbagool" -- capicola ham.

        It might not seem "classy" enough for a cheese tray, but don't discount a high-quality provolone to pair with the salami, maybe a smoked provolone if you can find one. I also really like smoked gouda, and cheeses with little thingees inside of them, like Wensleydale with apricots (nice and sweet to counterbalance the salty spiciness of the meats), or a horseradish cheddar, or one of my all-time favorites, Cahill's Irish Porter Cheddar:

        If you get chorizo (which is an awesome and overlooked choice), a Spanish manchego cheese would be excellent to pair with it.

        Definitely get some roasted peppers and possibly sundried tomatoes, and fig preserves (which go perfectly with goat cheese).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

          Volpi's! hey some St. Louis love! I was in there last December. great staff and wonderful aromas. picked up a big ole piece of Genovese for antipasti. good stuff.

          I try to usually eat vegetarian, but STL knows its sausage.

        2. I think your proposed board sounds fine, though I like to see a milder cheese than pecorino romano paired with prosciutto -- maybe a fontina? 2 hours of super salty prosciutto with nutty cheese leads to palate fatigue in my experience.

          You can of course mitigate the risk of palate fatigue by adding sour elements to a cheese board. I am particularly fond of artichoke hearts, fig chutney, peppadew peppers and pickled grapes. For a general fall cheese board, I would consider highlighting a rustic pate de campagne with coarsely ground mustard, alongside a ham (capicolla or the prosciutto) and a hearty beef product like bresaola. For cheeses, I'd go with aged manchego, cheddar and La Tur for a crowd pleasing little bit of everything.

          1 Reply
          1. My salumi platter would consist of:
            Sopressata & Prosciutto Crudo, Gorgonzola & Fiori di Latte, Seedless Grapes & Fresh Figs (or pears, apples), Roasted Red Peppers, Ciabatta.

            Libation: Prosecco.