One of the best ways to bond with friends and family is through good food, and on a warm September evening, all you have to do to achieve this is set out a delectable sharing board. Instead of plating out separate appetisers, consider assembling a scrumptious board that is inclusive of delectable charcuterie, crudités and cheese. What is interesting about this snack presentation is that you don’t have to break your back by cooking all day but use your artistic instincts to put together a mouth-watering treat for your guests.
Take a look at some of the most interesting sharing board ideas that you can incorporate in your next September dinner party with loved ones.
Think of Your Board as a Canvas:
The first thing that you must do is visualise the entire cuisine in an artistic way. Opting for a large-sized or oversized board will give you the opportunity to arrange each snacking item in an artful way without hampering the visual appeal.
Your sharing board will act as a canvas, ready to be swooped, swirled, and layered in textures, flavours, and colours. Once your creativity is expressed on the canvas, the end result will be an eye-catching delectable presentation.
If you don’t own an oversized or large-sized board, alternatively you can opt for stacking several boards, one beside the other, to prepare your platter.
When It Comes To Cheese:
While setting up the board for cheese select two to three varieties of cheese and make sure that these varieties can withstand the heat of those warmer September days. A good choice would be the cheese that is hard, semi-firm, and aged. More than one variety of cheese should be presented on the platter, each of which should be of a different, flavour, colour, and shape.
You can select from a wide range, based on what milk or texture type you like, or even mix and match the flavours based on your choice. The choice of mixing flavours should be based on factors like age like gouda or cheddar, firmness like sheep or goat’s milk cheese, and softness like goat brie, or camembert. For the cheddar cheese option on your board consider Horgans Mature Irish Red Cheddar, which is expertly matured for up to one year.
A good recommendation for the perfect Irish sharing board is Irish Farmhouse Cheese. Cashel Blue Cheese is a great choice in this variety. It comes with a creamy edge and is firm and pleasant to taste with a distinct tanginess. Other options under this variety for your dinner that you can try include Irish Brie from Cooleeney Farmhouse cheese and Gubbeen Farmhouse Cheese.
For setting up your cheese board you can consider cutting a gouda or Swiss-style cheese that comes in a round shape, first in half followed by slicing them crosswise to achieve a variety of shapes. Parmesan or cheddar cheese can be crumbled into bits that are bite-sized. However, cheese-cutting etiquette dictates that you must not ever cut off the nose of a cheese wedge. Instead, try to neatly cut down the wedges along the side so that the actual shape of the cheese can be maintained, and so that the cheese can be presentable when the next guest takes up the knife. In the case of semi-soft or whole-soft cheeses, you can cut out slivers or little wedges for serving.
It would be helpful to note that slicing cheese is most convenient when the cheese is cold. Rather than placing the entire cheese for slicing on the platter, you can slice it up the previous evening and then stack the pieces back into a wedge or block. Refrigerate these blocks/wedges after wrapping them up properly in plastic.
Here are a few key points to note when serving cheese on your platter:
- Serve them at room temperature
- Label them for the guests to have knowledge of what cheeses are being served
- Assemble the mild cheese first and then the bold cheese
Preparing the Charcuterie:
As far as charcuterie board ideas are concerned you have to take certain things into consideration.
Placement is crucial, and placing the meats, fruits, and cheese first on the board makes them act as an anchor for the charcuterie board. Adding the meat is initiating the shape of the board. Use your creativity to arrange the meat in a shape that brings out the visually appealing look of your sharing board. Meat types that you can use for your charcuterie board include chorizo, salami, prosciutto, and ham.
It is recommended that when arranging the thinly-cut slices of chorizo or salami, simply fold the slices into half followed by quarter and then stack the pieces one behind the other to create a unique design.
You can consider opting for salamis from a selection of Horgans salamis – expertly cured salamis produced to traditional German recipes. Horgans Cheese Coated Salami, Horgans Black Pepper Coated Salami, and Horgans Traditional Salami are good choices in salami for your charcuterie board.
In ham consider adding family favourite Horgans Blacky Ham to your board, as it is expertly seasoned pork, cured, cooked and gently smoked to give the authentic blacky ham flavour.
Another delicacy that you can add to enhance the texture on your board is pâté. There are different flavours of pâté; that you can select from that include duck, veal, pork, and chicken in the meat category, and a variety of vegetable-based pâté like roasted peppers, and mushroom, etc. Horgans Traditional Brussels Pate is one such textured delicacy that you should not miss having on your platter.
Crackers Are A Must:
September family dinner parties that involve a sharing board must definitely have room for crackers. After having consumed a lot of snacks, sometimes there is just not enough room for bread, but crackers on the other hand, are best-suited for both during and after-dinner sharing boards.
Cracker variety that you can use for your platter can include water biscuits, which are generally used as the base for the cheeses so that the flavours remain intact. However, you can also select more than one type to set on the platter. Some of the great Irish crackers that you can try in your board include crackers from the Food of Athenry Toasts or Sheridan’s Crackers. Stack or swirl these crackers into empty spaces, while maintaining the neatness of the board.
Seasonal Fruits Are Equally Important:
Seasonal vegetables and fruits are not to be missed, especially the ones with vibrant colours like blackberries, cucumbers, radishes, grapes, bell peppers, and figs. Cut your vegetables using your creativity into unique shapes and sizes, and then assemble them in a circular flowing pattern around the chutney or dip. You can artistically convert whole carrots into baby carrots to make them easier to bite into.
Make sure to leave the edible greens on carrots and radishes (young ones). This will add to the colour of the platter. Also, place fruits that complement meat or cheese next to these items. Grapes and halved figs are some of the fruits that go well with meat and cheese.
A great sharing board is incomplete without accompaniments. So, here are some suggestions for items you can serve along with the items on your board:
Nuts – Pecans and walnuts go best with cheese, especially caramelised walnuts with just a touch of chilli.
Chutneys – Onion (red) marmalade and fig paste are interesting options as accompaniments. A favourite of ours has to be Ballymaloe Original Relish, which is tomato-based, to pair up with your cheeses.
Dips – Of course, you cannot leave out dips while preparing your platter. To add some colour to the board, set your dips on brightly-coloured bowls that are of different sizes. These bowls will not only add height but also dimension to your sharing board. Options in dip flavours that you can try include beet-and-tahini dip, avocado dip, and any other flavour you come across at your favourite supermarket.
Now, to end this guide here are some tips that will help you make your sharing board a success:
Cut and slice items into bite-size. It will help your guests easily pick up the items and pop them into their mouths without any mess.
Leave no space empty. If you find some space on the board unoccupied, fill them up with small-sized items like nuts and olives. A great option in olives is Horgans Olives, in which you can try a mix of Horgans Green and Black Olives or Horgans Halkidiki Olives with Chilli.
If you want to add a dressier look to the board, you can consider adding edible flowers onto the platter.
The main point is that the board should have no empty space on it. Your sharing board should be inviting for all the family and voluptuous at the same time. This way you and your party guests will be able to make the most of your evening with amazing food and even better company.