a holiday champagne charcuterie
Holiday entertaining can be stressful, so I am all for taking shortcuts and choosing easy yet elegant menus. Charcuterie boards are a favorite of mine and they are so fun because they are customizable. Choose any kinds of cheeses and cured meats you want, but don’t forget the other important players like pickled vegetables, fruits and such. The only rules are the foods should pair well with whatever type of wine you’re using. Today, I served champagne which is fruity, so I chose foods that would cut the sweetness and bring a lot of nutty, salty and a little bit stinky flavor.
Let’s start with the cheeses, shall we? I really love cheeses and sometimes picking just three is a challenge for me. Like I mentioned, my champages (Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut and Royal Cuvee) are on the sweeter side, so I wanted cheeses that could stand up to them. I always pick a hard cheese, a soft cheese and a crumbly cheese. Today I went with gruyere (hard) which is nutty, St Andre (soft) which is a triple crème and a white stilton with cranberries because it looks super festive for the holidays.
When it came time to shop for my meats, prosciutto was the first I grabbed, like always. There isn’t anything much better than prosciutto but I wanted a trio of meats to go with my trio of cheeses, so I also purchased porchetta (Italian pork roast) and mortadella (Italian sausage with pistachios). These fatty meats were just what I needed to cut through the sweetness of the sparkling wine and, wow, so delicious.
Fruits are a key component on any good charcuterie board, olives being pretty much mandatory, but any fruits you have at home will work. I had a lot of blackberries, so out they came and I had just purchased dates from a local date farm, so they definitely made the cut. Dates are SO good with cheeses and I recommend them highly if you have fresh ones in your area.
Charcuterie boards typically also contain pickled foods, which could be anything from pickled red onion to pickled okra. I had cornichons in my pantry, so that is what I went with. These are just little gherkins from France that are served often with pate and other rich dishes. They are bright and tart, so they cut through rich cheeses nicely and help to balance out fatty meats. Plus, they gave me a reason to bring out my tiny forks!
While this is a delicious spread, wine is usually the star of the show. I really love to drink wine and do it almost every day. Really, everyone should have a glass of red wine every day for the health benefits, but I’m getting off track. Today, we are all champagne! The first bottle we popped was Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut, which is made from pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. This is a very fruity sparkling wine that tastes a bit like apple I think. It also has floral and toasty notes so it isn’t overly sweet.
The second champagne we popped was the Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee, which is created from carneros grapes and then aged in caves for over eight years. I found this sparkling wine a bit brighter than the previous one, fruity but with citrus and honey instead of toasty nut flavor. I thought it was a drier as well, which paired REALLY well with the charcuterie board and would probably be great with all kinds of foods. This is a champagne I will definitely purchase for future dinner parties!
I’ve had quite a few Gloria Ferrer wines in my time and they never disappoint. The company is founded/owned by the Ferrer family from Spain and named after Jose Ferrer’s wife, Gloria. Fulfilling a longtime family dream, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards is Carneros’ original sparkling wine house, founded in 1986 in the southernmost part of Sonoma Valley. Sonoma Valley is famous for its wines and if you ever get a chance to go, GO, because it is absolutely stunning. Gloria Ferrer wines have earned over 400 gold medals and 50 90+ scores in the last 5 years, so they know what they are doing and it shows upon first sip!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.