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Guys, it’s August! This past weekend I had my mom in town and was trying to tour her around while avoiding Lollapalooza like the plague. Then Monday night we went out to see Louis CK in Milwaukee. We’re beat. This is the first time my mom has come to stay at my place ever! Like ever at any apartment I’ve lived in since I graduated from college. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve always been so close to home that my parents would rarely visit me at my tiny apartments and I’d just go home to see them. So this was the first time I hosted!
Key tips to wowing your parents when they’re visiting:
- Actually hang the headboard that they made for you, and hang some photos while you’re at it.
- Dust everything.
- Make sure their room smells nice.
- Prepare your best recipes to make for them when they’re there.
- Teach your dog some new tricks to surprise them.
I had prepped some of my favorite go to meals, like my soy salmon, a buffalo chicken salad, and then a charcuterie board to snack on in our downtime while I was cooking. Like you should already know, I’m all about simple and easy. Surprisingly, all of the above is a lot simpler than you might think! Here’s what you need to make your own charcuterie plate to wow your friends or family, too:
How To Make Your Own Charcuterie Board
What You’ll Need
- A wooden board, large serving plate, or chalkboard cheese plate.
- Cheese knives
- Your Choice of Cheese
- Your Choice of Meat
- Optional: Crackers, Peppers, Grapes, Honey, Jam, or Olives
Assembling the Charcuterie Board
- Select a variety of meat and cheeses. Cheeses have all types of flavors and textures. To make sure that everyone was happy with the selections I made sure to get some popular wine, meat, and cheese selections that my Mom, my boyfriend and I would all like. The cheeses I picked were a Humboldt Fog (a goat cheese with vegetable ash layering) and a Mahon (a Spanish cow’s milk cheese). For the meats, I chose sausage (we already had a venison sausage) and Calabrese (a thin sliced italian salami). These are great pairings that will all go well but it’s honestly all up to you and your tastes.
- Select some great wines to go with your appetizer. Seriously, did you think I would skip out on the booze for this? No way! Wine is a great pairing to a charcuterie board. Some folks prefer a strong red that can hold up to the flavors of the cheese, or other prefer a smoother white wine to finish. I chose two of my favorite types of wine that would both be popular with Mom and boyfriend, so I got Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Woodbridge by Robert Mondai wines are always one of my go-to wines because they are affordable, taste great, they’re a great name that’s been around for over 30 years, and they make any occasion more fun 😉
- Crackers & Breads. While you can get along perfectly well without crackers or sliced bread (hey less carbs!), I think that providing a little bit of stability for the bite can be more pleasing to guests. Try to choose crackers that don’t have a huge amount of flavor to them so they don’t detract from the flavor of your charcuterie and cheese. Wheat Thins toasted chips are great for this!
- Get crazy. There’s tons of other extras that you could add if you want to make it even more fancy. I like to keep mine simple because if I add too much to my plates, that’ll turn out to be my dinner! You can add something briny like olives or pickled perpperoncinis. Some spreads you can add are a tapenade or hummus. Also, honey or jams like fig spread or apricot jam can go well.
- Put it all together. Obviously this board can be as messy as you want it but take some time and have fun. I like to make sure I label what’s on my plate because many cheese or meats can look similar so this makes it easy to distinguish what’s what. (Yes, if you’re wondering the shape of my cheese board, it’s the shape of Washington, DC!)
For more ideas on fun summer get togethers, check out Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi simple entertaining social hub.
And that is all folks! How do you typically like to wow your guests?