Cheese-and-Charc uterie Board
For easy party prep that delivers big on flavour, serve a selection of cured meats and artisanal cheeses. A charcuterie board requires minimal effort but has something for everyone—and the no-cook factor means you can spend more time greeting guests and less time in the kitchen.
(precutting may result in oil droplets rising to the surface of the cheese).
$: Canadian extra-old Cheddar or mild Gouda
$$$: Applewood-smoked or clothbound Cheddar, Mimolette, ParmigianoReggiano or aged Gouda
Blue cheeses are injected with moulds to give them their distinctive blue veins and tangy flavour. The pungency differs by variety—Roquefort is notoriously strong, while Danish blue and Cambozola tend to be milder.
$: Gorgonzola or Danish blue
$$$: Roquefort, Stilton, Cambozola, Shropshire or Bleu Bénédictin
The best platters provide an assortment of different textures and tastes, ranging from sharp firm cheeses to aromatic soft types. For extra variety, choose from different milks, such as cow, goat and sheep. Here are our picks to please every palate and budget.
Soft cheeses have a smooth texture and creamy flavour. Because of their consistency, these varieties are best served with crackers or baguette.
$: Soft goat cheese log (a.k.a. chèvre) or feta
$$$: Artisanal soft goat cheese (look for ash-covered varieties, such as Grey Owl or Le Cendrillon)
Semisoft cheeses often have bloomy edible rinds and creamy interiors. Their flavours range from strong and nutty (Oka) to mild and buttery (Brie).
$: Double-cream Brie, Camembert, Boursin, Oka or bocconcini
$$$: Morbier or triple-cream bloomy rind varieties (such as Laliberté, Château de Bourgogne or Saint André)
Firm or hard cheeses are often sharper in flavour because of their longer aging process. Have a sharp knife or cheese slicer on hand so guests can cut thin slices off the wedge or brick
Select a mix of delicate whole-muscle cured meats such as bresaola (air-dried beef tenderloin) and prosciutto, and firm cured sausages such as salami or dry-cured sausage. For instant variety and texture, add a smooth store-bought pâté or terrine.
$: Italian salamis (such as Calabrese sausage or soppressata), Spanish-style chorizo sausage, mini smoked sausages, or pork- or chicken-liver pâté
$$$: Jamón ibérico or serrano ham, prosciutto, bresaola, coppa, or duck- or goose-liver pâté or mousse