If you've followed Caramelized on Instagram, you've learned that a cheese board is mandatory when I host a gathering, no matter the size (even if it's just me + Alex!).
For the Caramelized Supper Club though, we won't take the cheese board for granted. Every ingredient will introduce elegance and refinement.
Rustic notes are reflected through a large wood block board, which I recommend placing on the edge of the bar or coffee table. It'll entertain and occupy your guests while you make final cooking arrangements over the stove.
You cannot go wrong with high-quality cheeses and nibbles around the board, but here are some recommendations for the perfectly balanced plate at your Caramelized Supper Club..
Parmigiano-Reggiano: The nutty overtones of this classic don't just go with pasta (though I can't wait to sprinkle some over our pesto pappardelle). Break off a bite of the firm block of cheese, and add a dot of honey or apricot jam for a flavorful combination.
Camembert: This stinky blue adds a bold statement to the cheese board. Despite its distaste to some, a slice of blue is important for balance.
Goat: Rich and creamy, the goat grasps perfectly on a water cracker, or even an olive, for a silky smooth beginning to supper.
Preserves: A sweet touch is crucial, especially when placed next to the strongest cheese offered. I enjoy a fig or apricot jam -- if you prefer a standard honey, look for a block of honeycomb at your local fine foods store.
Fresh sage + thyme: Take a bundle of thyme and tie a loose knot. Drape the edges of the board.
Castelvetrano olives: Bright green and bold, this olive is my very favorite. Spoon a handful into a small white bowl. Don't forget to provide a small bowl for pits.
Water crackers: I always add the crackers last, nestling aside the cheese blocks and filling in the blank spaces on your board. If you'd like to add another type, try a thicker whole grain or quinoa-based cracker.
PAIR WITH | Elouan Oregon Pinot Noir 2015, $20.99
"I thought I climbed on the couch beside the fire, wrapped in a cozy blanket, savoring a glass of this wine. It turns out, I awoke 30 years hence, my beard to the floor, and the fire a long time ago cooled. But I nonetheless recalled this subtly earthy gem. This IS pinot noir. And by that, I mean it IS sexy, soft and voluptuous, delicious and intriguing. It is plummy fruit; it is cinnamon spicy; it is almost proto-Pinot Noir. And as one is really getting into enjoying oneself, it dawns that the 2015 is almost rustic, and amenable to all manner of fare, from fish-to-fowl, from fawn-to-frommage, from fancy-to-plain." - Brian Herrera, Memphis wine expert