The holidays are finally here and if you’re anything like me, the thrill of going to parties and throwing your own has already set in! I love sprucing my place up for Christmas (I had the tree up before November 30th…) and also entertaining friends. One of the staples at any of my gatherings is creating a cheese and meat board for everyone to enjoy. I love filling up the board with different items that are in season, but another reason I make these boards is that if the other food isn’t quite ready yet, at least guests have something to nibble on!

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This month, I was sent not one, but two cheeses: Fromagerie Baluchon’s Baluchon and Natural Pastures’ Boerenkaas. Naturally, it made the most sense to me to have these featured in the middle of the board.

Fromagerie Baluchon’s cheese is a delicious, semi-soft cheese that’s mild, creamy and has a nice slight hint of hazelnut to it. This particular cheese was a hit with the cheese board.

Natural Pastures is located in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, where they craft their Boerenkaas (Dutch for “Farmer’s Cheese”). This lovely cheese is rich, creamy yet crumbly and is the perfect balance of the two cheeses.

I love supporting local businesses and when it comes to Canadian cheese, it’s no exception. We are in no short supply of talented cheesemakers and producers, so wherever possible, I do like purchasing my cheese locally! When looking for Canadian cheese, look for the Dairy Farmers of Canada blue cow label to know the difference.

When working on a cheese and meat board, I gravitate towards the same kind of deli, but I like to mix up my cheeses and compliment the sides with their flavours.

Here are my tips and tricks on how to make a 🔥🔥🔥🔥 board for your friends.

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  1. Think of which cheeses and what meats go well with one another.

Normally, I like to have at least 2 different cheeses on the board (if not more), so that there is a variety of different flavours. Since we are using Baluchon and Boerenkaas, I wanted more spicy, peppery, salty meats to complement their flavours like summer salami, prosciutto, spicy pepperoni and Iberico chorizo.

  1. Have sweet, salty, tangy and spicy flavours to accompany your cheese and meats.

I always love having either antipasto or pickled artichokes or olives as a staple on the board. Today, I used pepperoncini (another one of my favourites). The sweets – wild blueberry honey, strawberry vanilla jam, dried apricots, grapes, pomegranate and pears would complement the Boerenkaas. Because we have some spicy and salty flavours on the board, pecans go well to offset this balance (especially dipped in the honey). The grainy mustard gives the board a nice tangy, with a slight kick to it too.

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  1. The vessel is important!

Of course, I love all types of crisps and crackers, but since our cheese hads a nice hint of hazelnut to it, I thought the Cranberry Hazelnut crisps were perfect for the job. I also used Pecan Fruit Crisps to give the cheese more of a lively, complimentary flavour as well. There are always some neutral tasting crackers on the board as well, just for those friends who don’t want to overpower the rest of the board with the crisps.

  1. Wing it.

Many people like to draw out or figure out exactly what should go on their boards, but I love walking around the supermarket and finding things I might not have thought of originally. Keep an open mind and do a once around, maybe you might find something interesting to include ion the board!

  1. Invest in small serving cutlery.

I’m guilty of this sometimes, but it’s always helpful to have a cheese knife near the cheese, some small forks to pick at the meat and of course small spoons for the honey, jam and other condiments. You’ll always use them if you’re entertaining, so they’re worth investing some money into!

  1. Use seasonal fruits where you can.

It’s always great to buy local and what’s in season! Check out your local farmers market for fresh inspirations.

Which items do you add to your cheese and meat boards? What is the strangest thing you’ve ever put on your board? I’m curious to know, so let me know below!

If you’re curious to know more about the cheeses I’ve used here, visit their websites here:
Fromagerie Baluchon:

Natural Pastures:

Here are the items I used in my board:

  • Fromagerie Baluchon’s Baluchon
  • Natural Pastures Boerenkaas
  • Spicy Pepperoni sticks
  • Canadian-made prosciutto
  • Summer Sausage Salami
  • Mortadella
  • Spiced Chorizo Salami
  • Green Pear
  • Dried Apricots
  • Pomegranate
  • Green Grapes
  • Roasted Pecans
  • Mini Manzanillo Olives stuffed with Red Pimentos
  • Pepperoncini
  • Wild Blueberry Honey
  • Strawberry Vanilla Jam
  • Whole Grain Mustard
  • Raincoast Crisps, cranberry hazelnut
  • Pecan Fruit Crisps
  • Assorted Crackers