Whether you are at home, camping, boating or just having a family picnic, one of the easiest and most creative ways to present a fun and delicious snack is to make a cheese board. I have found that it is a fan favorite of everyone, from foodie guests to kids of all ages. One of the many great things about a cheese and snack board, besides the aged cheddar and other cheesy goodies, is that there is no right or wrong way to make it — so do not be intimidated. This will quickly become one of your go-to snacks!
The basic cheese board can be made with sweet treats such as chocolate, fruit, jam and even candy, or with savory ingredients like kielbasa, sausage, salami, prosciutto, jamón serrano or even beef jerky and beef sticks. To me, being creative is one of the most important elements, whether you are making it for your office Christmas party, your kid’s slumber party or that weekend camping trip. Think of the “Wow” factor and add height and dimension or maybe even a theme to fit the occasion … have fun! I’ve used a snowboard without bindings as my “board.” I also keep a small paddle in my boat to use for snack time for my family and fellow anglers. For the Super Bowl, I would make or try to find an emblem of your team or arrange your display in a helmet or football shape. That kind of stuff goes a long way in entertaining, and it’s something that people will remember.
You always want the cheese to be the star of the show, but adding lots of good bread, fresh fruits, vegetables, crackers, charcuteries and condiments can not only fill the board and add dimension, it can save on the pocketbook and can be a healthy alternative to other snack ideas. I’m a big fan of meats, nuts, pickled vegetables and olives, but I also love to include freshly made bread and locally made products like jams, honey, lots of whole grain mustard and even pimento cheese, but sometimes I just grab some items from the convenience store on the way to the lake.
Here are some very basic suggestions for different activities, but remember there is no right or wrong here. It’s all good! Enjoy and Go Outside!
For the backyard
- Cheddar, brie, chèvre, blue cheese, manchego
- Grapes, pears, cherries
- Salami, soppressata, prosciutto, pancetta
- Olives, pickled vegetables, roasted red peppers
- Spiced pecans
- Baguette, ciabatta
- Dark chocolate
- Coarse, grainy mustard
For Fishing or Boating
- Cheddar, mozzarella, swiss
- Apples, oranges, clementines or any other fresh fruit
- Carrots and other fresh vegetables
- Pepperoni, lunch meat, smoked sausage
- Chocolate bars, candy
- Crackers, tortilla chips
For the Campsite
- Cheddar, parmesan, gouda
- Pimento cheese
- Fresh or dried fruit
- Mixed nuts, trail mix
- Smoked or cured meats, kielbasa, hot dogs
- Peanut butter
- Jellies, jams
- Homemade bread or crackers