“Summertime..and the livin’ is easy…”
Yes, it’s that long-awaited time of year when the sun shines a little longer and a little brighter, allowing time for late afternoon swims, a neighborhood game of ball, and chasing fireflies.
Summer is also the savviest season of all for casual entertaining—whether hosting an impromptu dinner party or dining al fresco with family and friends. Relaxing, unscripted dinners can be the most memorable—just always be sure to have a few choice nibbles on hand.
My most favorite go-to hors d’oeuvre, hands down, is an inviting cheese display.
This duo of salty + sweet is the perfect prelude to any menu or can stand alone in the spotlight, accompanied by a refreshing cocktail or glass of wine.
Simply follow these tips to keep your spontaneous get-together one that even the host can enjoy!
- Savvy + Setting
Your cheese board is the cornerstone, the backdrop. Choose one that will spark conversation and create a super savvy and unique setting. Here is one of my favorites from Hudson Grace.
- Textures + Taste
Embrace and mix interesting flavor and texture profiles, such as the following: Aged (Gouda), Soft (Brie, goat), Firm (Parmesan), Bleu (Roquefort), just to name a few.
- Salty + Sweet
Naturally salty cheese pairs perfectly with a pop of sugar. Think outside of the box while tossing in a completely unexpected sugary surprise on your cheese display. Sugarfina’s cocktail gummies, caramel popcorn, macaroons and marshmallows are always fun, whimsical accents.
- Honey + Heart
What’s not to love about the natural sweetness and lovely presentation of honeycomb, truffled honey or honey sticks that offer a menagerie of flavors!
- Crackers + Crunch
I like to offer various textures when serving bread or crackers on a cheese display. My pantry is always stocked with classic kettle chips, Raincoast Crisps: Cranberry + Hazelnut and Rustic Bakery’s Olive Oil + Sel Gris Flatbreads. These crunchy delights add a perfect blend of flavors and textures.
- Art + Accoutrements
Paint your display with a profusion of colors: bunches of green and purple grapes, strawberries, fresh cherries, blueberries, and blackberries. Dried fruits such as apricots and sprigs of fresh herbs and edible flowers also add vibrance to your palette. And feel free to go nuts as they are another perfect addition to your masterpiece: pistachios, almonds, walnuts and my favorite, fried pecans.