I'm having a few couples over next Saturday night and I want to serve something fun and interesting to eat. It's not dinner, but because the wine will be flowing I want to make sure my guests have something delish to nibble on. A bag on nacho chips with salsa or frozen boxed spring rolls just doesn't cut it any more. Can you help me come up with something creative that will wow my guests?
Say No To Nacho Chips
Dear Nacho Chips,
It's such an amazing feeling when you leave your guests "wowed" by evening with you. The accolades come pouring in long after your hang over has passed. But I'll admit, it can be difficult to come up with interesting and yummy ideas that actually look like they do on Pinterest. For that reason I consulted with Chareen Parsons @cherryparsnips. Chareen is a Prop and Decor Stylist/Design Consultant, who also happens to style food like a dream. Here is Chareen's winning suggestion:
One of my favourite things to serve guests (and myself) is a Charcuterie board. It's easy to prepare and always a hit.
Here are a few tips for pulling it all together:
Number 1. (Most Important)
Use a variety of good quality cured meats. Here I've used the following:
- Fermin Jamon Serrano - Presliced and ready to serve, from one of Spain's top producers of fine cured jamon including Serrano, Iberico & Iberico de Bellota.
- Fermin Iberico - Presliced and ready to serve, from the famed 'Iberico' pig of Spain, famous for its melt in your mouth swirls of fat.
- Palacios Hot (Picante) Chorizo. Free of preservatives, Palacios is the market leader of classic Chorizo made with smoked pimenton (aka paprika here in Canada).
- Fermin Iberico Salchichon Longaniza - Again, Fermin is a top producer of Iberico, the Salchichon is made with nutmeg and black and white pepper, mild flavour.
I also added some pate & some mortadella which is always a hit with the kids.
Most supermarkets now carry a decent selection of cured meats and salami, but if you want to make it a little extra special I get mine from Lola & Miguel, Canada's first all Spanish online store. Order from the comfort of your home or office and ship anywhere in Canada via FedEx. If you've ever enjoyed authentic Spanish items in some of Toronto's top Spanish restaurants and are wondering where to find these same items to serve at home - look no further than Lola & Miguel.
Serve something pickled, because who doesn't love pickles? Mini cornichon, or caper berries are the perfect accompaniment to a charcuterie board for its ability to refresh the palate and add a pop of colour.
Spreads & a couple of cheese options. Sweet & savoury pairs great on a cracker with a slice of cured meat or sausage. Try apricot or cherry preserves for sweet, and brown mustard or stone ground for the savoury. Another great sweet option is honeycomb. It looks beautiful and is fantastic with roasted walnuts and a strong cheese. When it comes to cheese, I usually like to serve a soft and a hard cheese. Here I have chosen Manchego and a Stilton.
Breads and crackers. Again, I like to have a nice variety. If possible I usually like to get it from speciality bakeries. But again, most grocery stores now have fantastic options.
These Grissini Integrale from Forno Cultura (one of my favourite bakeries) were delicious and so pretty.
Pull it all together on a fabulous big board. There are some great options at the H&M Home, Indigo, Crate & Barrel and of course Homesense is always a good bet.
All you need to do now is send out the invite and bask in the glory.
Have a great night!