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The $20 Cheese & Charcuterie Board You Need to Try Out

Mood Music: Make You Feel - Alina Baraz & Galimatias

I know I may be obsessed, but nothing beats out a beautiful and delicious cheese and charcuterie board. Want a quick and tasty dinner on a warm summer's night or to impress your guests with your style and attention to detail, can’t go wrong with cheese and charcuterie boards! The one downside is that these fancy displays can end up being quite pricey, so I set out to see how far I could get with only $20 and I was quite impressed with how it turned out!

Charcuterie is a French word for cold, cooked meats, so it is actually distinct from the cheese board part.

The first step was to come up with a plan: I knew that I wanted three cheeses, one meat, and some fruit. This was going to be for a late evening hang out with 3 friends plus myself, so I did not want it to be too overwhelming, but I still wanted the tray to look full.

Next I went shopping... my friends joke that my cheese plates are "sponsored by Trader Joe's" (they are not), but I can't help myself! I love that place and they have such a great assortment.

What I bought: (serves 4)

- organic blueberries

- 2 organic gala apples

- fresh organic french bread (which I sliced and put in the oven on 350 degrees (F) until browned and crisp)

- Trader Joe's Chevre (goat) with Honey cheese

- Saint Andre cheese (the best brie cheese)

- Trader Joe's Cheddar with Caramelized Onions (a rich, complex flavor; great with apples)

- Trader Joe's pack of mixed olives

- Volpi gourmet pepperoni (I meant to grab salami, but whoops!, this still worked great and my husband (Italian) was pumped)

Even with mostly organic ingredients, this turned out to be only $20!

Next is the fun part; take your time to slice everything thin and think up unique ways to arrange your ingredients. Adding this little bowl helped keep the olive juices from getting on everything else, and looked cute, too.

TIP: To make the pepperoni look more interesting, fold each piece into quarters, then bunch groups of them in your hand so that they stick together and hold their shape better before putting them down on your tray.

When our friends were about 15 minutes away, I started preheating the oven to 350 (F) degrees and sliced the french bread at an angle and put it on a cookie sheet. Once the oven was warm, I popped them in until they were starting to brown (maybe 10 minutes? It depends on your oven).

How cute are these little fork cheese labels??

I love to add jams (this is my favorite honey-based jam), or little honey pots with these adorable little honey dipper sticks, to the cheeseboards, since they make for wonderful flavor combos. Trader Joe’s also has these incredibly delicious truffle-flavored Marcona almonds that are another top pick of mine.

Get creative with it, and enjoy!

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