Some of my favorite cheeses to pick up are:
Gouda – Creamy and mild this is a great cheese for those who don’t like strong flavors.
Blue cheese – A nice strong blue cheese pairs well with cranberries and bacon flavors.
Smoked cheddar – Cheddar takes on a whole new life when it’s smoked!
Boursin – This creamy cheese is so easy! You can buy it with various herbs and flavors. It spreads easily on bread or crackers. Beware – you can’t eat just one bite.
Beecher’s Flagship – Whenever possible, I like to find local cheese to have on my cheese board.
Fresh mozzarella – Pair with fresh basil and fresh tomato slices (drizzle with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt if you want to get fancy)
Cranberry Orange Cheese torte – Look for prepared packaged cheeses such as this cranberry orange cheese torte – to dress up your cheese board. This torte recommends freezing beforehand, for the best display.
Prosciutto panino – Take your cheese board up a big notch with fresh meats such as prosciutto. You can buy pre-made prosciutto cheese rolls or roll your own! You can also use toothpicks to skewer prosciutto with your favorite cheese – I like to skewer baby fresh mozzarellas, with cherry tomatoes, a sprig of basil and a piece of prosciutto!
Serve with thinly sliced french baguettes, crackers or apple slices!
And if you’re 21 years or older – red wine is always a good match with your cheese board. For an affordable priced red wine, I like 14 Hands Hot to Trot – usually $8.99 – $11.99 a bottle.
Here’s an example of fresh mozzarella slices, with fresh basil leaves and fresh (firm) tomatoes! You can jazz these up with a little balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. You can also toast these on top of bread slices – we’ve done that for dinner before!
One of the easiest (and more delicious) party dishes is baked brie with apricot preserves – it’s insanely easy to make and always one of the first things eaten at gatherings. I like it because brie is a really affordable cheese – usually $3.99 – $4.99 for a large wedge.
Here’s how to make Baked Brie with Apricot Preserves:
Double creme is my favorite – but they are all good.
Raw sliced almonds
Apricot preserves, 1 cup
Water crackers, apple slices, sliced bread
1.) Unwrap brie and put into a baking dish (leave the white, edible rind). Make sure the baking dish has edges, as the brie will spread when it melts.
2.) Top with apricot preserves
3.) Sprinkle a handful of sliced almonds on top
4.) Cover with foil
5.) Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-14 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the preserves have started to crystalize.
Enjoy with slices of crusty french bread or baked apples.