Well, it’s time for my annual cheese and meat tray! This year it did not disappoint and it was unique all on it’s own. Every year, I make a cheese tray when my family visits in November. Last year, this is the cheese tray I made. It featured a few food items specific to the Louisiana culture and it was hit! I honestly had no idea what theme I would go with this year. My process involves heading to the store to get inspiration. So, I went to my local Rouses Markets for fresh charcuterie, cheese, and meat options.
After looking around for about 20 minutes, I decided that I could pull off a spicy theme – spicy okra, cajun fried turkey, red pepper pork cracklins, and habanero jack cheese. That theme got me going and I pulled what I could with spicy options. I got cajun roast beef, jalapeño stuffed olives, pepper jack cheese, and and chili shrimp pimento cheese. I was starting to feel confident about pulling off my cheese and meat tray.
It’s always fun figuring out how to arrange things on the board I’ve selected. I talked a little bit about how I arrange food on a cheese tray in this post. It really does make a difference where you put everything.
There is a basic art to arranging the food on the tray.
The prettier it is, the more your guests will be excited to eat. So be sure to give attention to your arrangement. Also, don’t forget to garnish! Garnish with fresh herbs, exotic fruits, etc. This year I used cranberries, mint, and pomegranate to garnish the cheese board. Be careful because pomegranate does stain whatever you put it on.
Always be sure to include crackers for spreads and soft cheeses. This spicy cheese and meat tray include red pepper cracklins, pretzels (kid-friendly), and Ritz chip crackers. They paired well with the soft Boursin herb cheese and Rouses shrimp pimento cheese dip. The spicy cracklins are a Louisiana favorite and I knew they would be just the extra spice I needed.
After about an hour of thinking, arranging items, getting the assistance of my sisters – it all came together. This year’s cheese and meat tray features a ton of spicy options without being overly hot. There’s fruit, cheese, crackers, spicy okra, cajun fried turkey, peppered salami, pepperoni-wrapped cheese and more. You eye really doesn’t know where to land and that’s a good thing. Introducing my fall 2018 spicy cheese and meat tray…
The pomegranate was my favorite touch! Even though we didn’t eat it I’m so glad I added it. I’ll definitely be adding it to future trays…maybe a summer fruit tray. Yes, that’s right. I’m planning more trays for different seasons. But this one…this one might be my favorite one yet. What about you?