Cook on a Whim: Equestrian Season Cheese Board

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A late summer/early fall cheese board. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.

Fall is here, which for many folks means one thing: equestrian season is back.

Whether you’re practicing, competing or spectating, no doubt there will be lots of good food to add to the experience. The perfect fit to the sport’s sophistication? A seasonal cheese board.

Creating cheese, fruit and charcuterie boards is one of my favorite things to do. There really are no rules and, for me, it’s like painting a picture. I usually start with a loose theme, often based around the season or the closest holiday. For my patriotic cheese board, I chose ingredients that were red, white and blue, but also in season. Similarly, for my late summer/early fall cheese board, I let the beautiful, seasonal produce guide me and the rich colors that make me excited for the change of seasons.

When arranging my boards, I choose a nice big cutting board or tray, and I set my cheeses and anything in containers — like the honey jars — down first. Then I fill in with big clusters of fruits, meats, crackers and nuts. I like keeping things in clusters as opposed to mixing it all up, because I think it is just far more pleasing to the eye. I like to fill in all the gaps and make it look really abundant and inviting.

As far as cheeses, I like to have a blue, a goat and something universally popular like a mild cheddar or a mild brie. Then I’ll usually pick one wild card or seasonally flavored cheese. Trader Joe’s usually has some fun options.

For meats, you can’t go wrong with prosciutto, hard salami and a really spicy pepperoni — but again, use what you love.

For ease of serving, if you have any really hard cheeses, it’s helpful to slice or cube them first. Also, let your cheeses come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.

And don’t forget to serve some beverages to wash it all down. Seasonal beers, wine or cider would all be great choices.

A patriotic cheese board. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.
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