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Curating a Local Cheese and Charcuterie Board

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What to eat with what you drink

WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHER SARAH BARDEN

Originally published in the May/June 2019 issue.

A culinary choose-your-own-adventure story, grazing boards are an excellent way to enjoy local cheeses, meats and fruits and showcase Finger Lakes wines and ciders. We’ve made it easy for you with this approach. See our recommendations below for local sources.

Select three or four cheeses with diversity in milk source (e.g. cow, goat, sheep, buffalo), flavor (e.g. nutty, tangy, buttery, salty), and texture (from fresh & creamy to hard & flaky). Texture is key when choosing charcuterie. Include one each of thin-sliced, thick-sliced, and spreadable meats to keep it interesting. Acidic foods cut through heavy flavors, making pickled and fermented goodies an ideal complement. The savory category is a catch-all for any “it” factor you might be missing. In this case, that’s crunch and spice. A little sweet balances the salty nature of cheese and charcuterie. Aim to include two or three of the following: fresh fruit, dried fruit, jam and honey. Fresh bread and interesting crackers are the perfect finishing touch.

CHEESE
-Northland Sheep Dairy’s Tripletree Tomme is a hard, nutty sheep cheese.
-Crosswinds Creamery’s Goblin is a semi-hard, tangy cow cheese.
-Lively Run Goat Dairy’s Cayuga Blue is a crumbly, pungent goat cheese.
-Lively Run chevre with herbs and olive oil from F. Olivers.

CHARCUTERIE
-House-cured prosciutto from Gola Osteria is salty and sumptuous.
-Turkey pepperoni from The Piggery is thicker, sweeter and spicier.
-Rillettes from The Piggery are spreadable, seasoned and fatty.

ACID
-Emma Frisch’s Quick Pickles, found in the Feast by Firelight cookbook.

SAVORY
-Roasted hazelnuts from Z’s Nutty Ridge add a smoky crunch.
-Sweet & Spicy Mustard from F. Olivers.

SWEET
-Goldrush apples from Black Diamond Farm are juicy and bright.
-Tart Cherry Jam from Full Plate Farm Collective is slightly sour and spreadable.
-Buckwheat Honeycomb from Bright Raven Farm & Apiary has a satisfying texture and deep, rich flavor.

BREAD AND CRACKERS
-Sunflower Farmer’s bread from Wide Awake Bakery.
-Baguette from Ithaca Bakery.

Sarah Barden has always taken every opportunity to try new food, which now includes leading tours with her husband through their business Ithaca is Foodies Culinary Tours. When she’s not working, she’s still eating—which she documents on Instagram @ithacaisfoodies.

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