NYE Party Platter

New Year's Eve is TODAY! Whether you're staying in to watch the ball drop, hosting or attending a party- you’ll need a snack. One of my personal and honest favorites is a meat and cheese board. You just can’t go wrong with this dish as a party host or guest. It’s quick, simple and full of variety.

Besides tasting delicious, this dish also forces people to mingle and converse. In the restaurant industry, we call this “interactive food”.  How can you grab some cheese without saying “hi” to the person next to you also going in for some cheese?

So before we make our yearly New Year’s resolution to eat healthier starting tomorrow, let’s ring in the new year with some flavor!   

Meat and Cheese Board Guide:

Meat: Any cured meat will be great! Salami, Summer Sausage and Salumi (which is only called so when cured in Italy) are popular choices. You can get as expensive as Prosciutto and as cheap as Summer Sausage.  

My thought on the cured meat: they start to oxidize the second you slice them. So letting a $14.00 a pound cut sit out for a long period of time is not the best use of your money. I'd go down the middle with Sopressata or maybe a Capicola ham (the cut of loin off the pork shoulder). All of these can be found at your local grocery store.

Cheese: Oh man where do I start .... Cheese can be broken down into so many categories! Let's make it easy and use texture as one.

Hard Cheese: Not easy to cut

Semi Soft Cheese: Can be easily cut and somewhat spreadable

Soft Cheese: Difficult to cut, easy to spread and a little messy 

I suggest a semi soft cheese since people usually don’t want to spend five minutes trying to get cheese on a cracker.

Now you pick the animal in which the cheese was made from. (There is sooo much to discuss so I will be writing another blog post soon about cheeses and cured meats!) I would suggest choosing cow or sheep, both are mild and usually something everyone likes. Gouda, (not aged too long ), aged cheddar, Pecorino or fresh mozzarella are also great choices. Again we are very spoiled and most whole foods and sprouts will have this stuff laying around. 


Fresh Fruit: No apples they brown in 5 minutes. It’s best to use what is provided to us through our seasons. I recommend oranges, sweet grapefruit and dates.

Something Crunchy: Nuts definitely- but keep in mind there are those who are unfortunately allergic. Fried garbanzo beans tossed in salt, corn nuts, anything you find that’s crunchy or salty!

Something Pickled: It's good to have a good acid balance on the plate by adding pickles, pickled peppers, pepperoncini’s, or olives.   

Sauces: Mustard, pesto, balsamic glaze, Agave, honey, jam (preferably a pepper jelly or tomato jam something different than strawberry jelly).

Vessel: Any nice crackers of choice and fresh soft flat bread. Cut the flat bread into wedges for people to grab. If you’re not sure which crackers, then grab a few different kinds!

Recap on Cheese Board:

Two different types of each: Cured meats, Semi soft cheeses, Fresh fruits, Something crunchy, Something pickled, Sauces & Vessels.

Find a nice wood board or a bunch of small ramekins and bowls to lay that baby out, and remember rustic is good! I wish you all a very happy and safe New Year!

- Chef C.J.



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