Ask anyone who knows me--My last supper will forever be a cheese and charcuterie spread. The quintessential appetizer that draws together dinner guests and gets the evening going, a cheese board takes many forms but holds true to its foundation. I enjoy experimenting with different spreads, jams, cheeses and meats; though the magic is truly in the pairing. My best cheese board bets are below; which is your preference?
1. BARI RISTORANTE The luxurious antipasti opportunities are extraordinary, offering a la carte ordering service with two full pages of salumis, cheeses and accompaniments. Let your waiter help craft a perfect palette for two, four or eight. And don't skip the prosciutto.
2. LOFLIN YARD Perhaps it's the rocking chair and Coach House porch view, or the French bottle of red that I plucked from the shelf of the Safe House--Nonetheless, it's a package deal at Loflin Yard. The cheese plate offerings are selected collaboratively between Loflin's executive chef and bar lead to ensure wine and barrel-aged cocktails match appropriately. Earlier in the Spring, I especially enjoyed the picked red onion and watermelon with the brie.
3. ECCO ON OVERTON PARK The cheese and antipasto plates--offered separately or together--pile high with rich berries, cheese blocks, nuts and tapenades. The starter is truly a feast in itself...And we don't mind it.
4. ANDREW MICHAEL ITALIAN KITCHEN I usually boast about the cheese; but in this case, the freshly baked bread slices and irresistible olive tapenade make this appetizer a home run at the original Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman establishment. Andrew Michael's new-ish bar lounge is a can't-beat backdrop for this cheese and charcuterie plate.
5. 387 PANTRY (do-it-yourself) I love to take inspiration from restaurant experiences into my home. Thus, I cannot finish this list without recommending an outpost to create a show-stopping cheese board in the comfort of your own abode. I trust 387 Pantry on South Main to hand over the fresh cheese, salumis from Porcellino's, fancy crackers and spreads (like Flo's tomato jam). You might even walk out with a cutting board.
6. SOUTH OF BEALE SOB's seasonally inspired snack plate offers pre-cut cheeses with hearty sides--a hummus of sorts, fried deviled eggs (hello), glazed pecans and toast points. Their Downtown patio calls my name on an almost weekly basis, and I can never go wrong with this snack of champions.