Every Thanksgiving, I like to handle the daytime snacking pre-dinner snacking with a cheese board. I tend to spend most of the day in the kitchen, and it's nice to have little bites to grab and snack on [and for anyone else in the house who isn't slaving over the stove to munch on too!] I really don't do this enough, but it's entirely too easy to put together. If you go to a great cheese shop [in my case, Whole Foods], the cheese mongers are so knowledgable and do a phenomenal job choosing cheeses for you, and will let you taste before you buy.
In the past while Thanksgiving grocery shopping, I was inspired by this small basket of goodies, also known as "Cheese Orphans." This is by far the most affordable way to put together a cheese board, or just test a new cheese at home. Every wedge of cheese is less than $3 and they're just a delicious as their larger counterparts. Trader Joe's is another fantastic spot to grab a few hunks of cheese. I haven't seen cheese orphans there, but everything tends to be really budget friendly regardless!
When I made this board, I grabbed one of everything. I couldn't help myself! Typically with a cheese board, I like to keep it to three or four cheeses, and another three or four condiments to go along with them. I like to go with varying flavor and texture profiles. One soft, buttery cheese [this year it's a camembert that I might bake...mmmm!], another sharp, salty option [serving up an extra sharp cheddar since you really can't go wrong with it!]. I like to pair a sharp cheese with my simple homemade cranberry sauce. The salty bite balances well with the sweet, citrus hints of the cranberry sauce. If your guests are fans of blue cheese, I love pairing them with caramelized onions. [my favorite is gorgonzola dolce!] This year, I'm serving a bit less cheese since I'm baking some cream biscuits as an extra decadent pre-turkey. I like to have some nuts and cut up fruit [this year I've got apples, pears and raspberries], along with a little teaser of cranberry sauce.
When it comes to preparing your cheese, take it out of the fridge chilled, slice some of it into bites [though leaving it whole is just fine!], and allow it to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving, since the flavors will improve that way.
As delectable and satisfying as this board is, don't overdo it on the cheese consumption friends! Try and restrain yourself a bit, having just a bite or two every so often. The same goes for wine! Don't get me wrong, I like to have a glass of wine on hand to sip on while I work, but I won't polish off the bottle. It can be so easy to scarf down on all these delicious goodies, but try and remember, it's all about the turkey feast to come!