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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 ( http://www.volpifoods.com/products/wi... ), 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:
        http://www.amazon.com/Cahill-Irish-Po...

        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.

            1. Not disagreeing with everyone else, but for greater variety, consider slices from a rotisserie chicken, avocado, and oven-roasted grape tomatoes. Will go with many of the suggested cheeses, especially manchego.

              1. No, she specifically requested just cheese & maybe a couple meats. I was going to elaborate a bit but not so much as chicken. Was going to have some figs & grapes & maybe marcona almonds. She likes strongish cheeses & is bringing the wine so I have no idea what will show up.
                Good point on the saltiness. I adore pecorino but it is salty as is the prosciutto.

                1. Last night our cheeseboard was a selection of goat cheeses all from a local farm - a chevre with honey and sage, a Nobiolo (their take on a robiolo) and a sharper aged goat. Paired with a pate de champagne and french ham. Figs and apples, mustard and cornichons. Almost everything worked with everything and we delighted in finding new combinations!

                  1. Maybe a nice Camembert, a Pecorino Romano, and a good aged cheddar. Some garlic stuffed olives. Some chutney. Some good almonds and pistachios. A fatty, mildish meat...a sliced Polska kielbasa? Some sweet capicola. Some chourizo, sliced thinnish. Serve with parmesan frico.

                    Brie and berries for "dessert"?