Planning on putting together a cheeseboard for your holiday party? Twin Cities food blogger greens & chocolate loads hers up with specialty cheeses — and a sweet-tart homemade cranberry jam. If want more ideas, inspiration, or recommendations, stop by our cheese department and talk to a cheesemonger.
Specialty Cheeseboard & Spiced Cranberry Jam
Cheeseboards are a very popular choice for appetizers these days, and it’s really not a surprise. They’re so fun! While a cheeseboard can be as simple as purchasing a handful of cheeses, meats, jams and crackers and putting them on a tray, I think the holidays are a great time
to add some special homemade touches, as well as some fun artisan products.
A cheeseboard should usually contain a variety of cheeses. You’ll want to pick one cheese from each of these categories, depending on the size of your gathering and what else you will have on the cheeseboard.
Fresh Cheeses: chèvre, mascarpone, mozzarella and ricotta
Bloomy-Rind Cheeses: Brie, Bûcheron and Camembert
Washed-Rind Cheeses: Limburger, Muenster and Taleggio
Semi-Soft Cheeses: Havarti, fontina and Port Salut
Blue Cheeses: Gorgonzola, Stilton and Roquefort
Semi-Hard Cheeses: Gruyère, cheddar, Gouda and Manchego
Hard Cheeses: Parmigiano-Reggiano and Romano
For this cheeseboard, I chose some of my favorite cheeses from Lunds & Byerlys, including the Wensleydale with Cranberry, which is a cheddar-like cheese with a crumbly texture that makes it great for cutting. I love the sweetness that comes from the cranberries, and they add a festive note to it as well. I always love Brie on a cheeseboard, as it’s soft and pairs great with fruit, nuts and jam. This time, I drizzled it with Mike’s Hot Honey, which is a chile-infused honey. It brought a little sweetness and a little heat to the cheeseboard, and it was a huge hit!
In addition, I had a hard Parmigiano-Reggiano on this cheeseboard, along with a blue cheese called Bleu D’Auvergne from France that is similar to a Roquefort, except that it’s made with cow’s milk and has a slightly creamier texture. I have found the best way to learn about new cheeses is just to try them!
To round out the cheeseboard, I chose a variety of meats, crackers, fruits, nuts and my personal favorite — a Spiced Cranberry Jam. This cranberry jam was my homemade addition to my cheeseboard. It was delicious with the Brie, the salty Parmigiano-Reggiano and the Wensleydale. As a bonus, we loved the leftover jam on our morning toast and dinner rolls!
Spiced Cranberry Jam
16 ounces fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
Zest from 1 orange
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon allspice
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest, water, orange juice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice over medium heat. Cook until the cranberries pop and the sugar dissolves, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
- Allow the jam to cool slightly, and then purée it with an immersion blender or a high-speed blender until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. Enjoy!