No party should be without an Epic Holiday Cheese Board. This one is super customizable and filled to the brim with winter favorites. It's so good that you won't even notice that it's a gluten-free + vegetarian cheese platter! Pair it with Vinho Verde wines for the ultimate Christmas dinner party.
It is officially holiday season. And you know what that means … Christmas parties!!! And there is no better way to start a dinner party than with a glass of Vinho Verde and an epic holiday cheese board.
Heck, this holiday cheese board is so epic that it could easily be dinner.
What's so epic about this holiday cheese board
- Red and green bell peppers cut into little stars that scream CHRISTMAS and are just. so. cute.
- Mini Santa's hats. AKA: tomato bocconcini skewers with reduced balsamic vinegar. Classic wins.
- Sliced red pears with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. So simple. So pretty. So good.
- Fresh mozzarella that tastes like cream.
- Beet and parsnip chips. Because we love veggies even more if they're in chip form.
- Sweet mini pickled peppers, salty olives, toasted hazelnuts, juicy mandarin oranges, sweet cranberries, and all the little picky bits.
- Bet you didn't even notice that this is a gluten-free and vegetarian cheese board!
What to serve with your cheese platter
Wine! Because we all know that wine and cheese are made for each other.
My top wine picks for this winter season are those three bottles you see up there. They are all Vinho Verde wines, which means they were produced in the Vinho Verde region in the northwest of Portugal. If you're a wine buff, you can learn more about all the sub regions and the types of grapes grown in them here.
All three of those bottles are great, crisp white wines. (Although Vinho Verde wine can also be rosé and red.)
I'm not generally a big white wine fan, so when I find a bottle (or 3) that I like, it's kind of a big deal. It means it must be a pretty special wine. All three of these wines would be as easy to drink on a patio in the sun as they are at a holiday dinner party. They're really versatile.
I liked the little effervescent bubbles when I poured myself a glass. It was like the wine shimmered.
That bottle up there is Vinho Verde – Vincente Farina Animus. According to the tasting notes, it has:
Aromas of lime, melon and green apple mingle nicely with floral notes. Slight effervescence lifts the citrus flavors on the palate. The finish is zesty and crisp, with a hint of minerality.
Try pairing this with citrus flavors, like the oranges on the holiday cheese board.
This bottle with the blue label is Vinho Verde – Aveleda Casal Garcia. The tasting notes describe it as having:
Notes of citrus are amongst the fruity aromas that define the freshness and youth of this delicate wine. Ideal as an aperitif or to accompany oriental dishes, such as sushi and sashimi, seafood in lemon sauce or salads with cheese such as Roquefort.
If you're a fan of blue cheese, put some Roquefort on your holiday cheese board and eat it while sipping Vinho Verde – Avelada Casal Garcia.
This one here is Vinho Verde Loureiro – Quinta Do Ameal. Loureiro refers to the grape variety. The tasting notes say that this wine has:
Apple, mineral, white flowers and dried herbs give way to a crisp and citrus flavored palate. Try it with lemon and herb grilled fish.
Try sipping this one with the red pears with goat cheese on the cheese plate.
How to make an epic vegetarian cheese platter
Now that you have your wine covered, let's focus on your cheese board.
The key to making a vegetarian cheese board a success is lots of variety. You want to cover all the bases. Think salty, sweet, crisp, crunchy, creamy, tart, juicy, nutty, and spicy. Give your friends and family lots of choices so every bite is new and fresh. Then they won't even notice the missing meat.
Here are a few cheese platter ideas to switch things up:
- Salty: aged smoked gouda (pictured in the center), olives, capers, caper berries, pickles, pistachios.
- Sweet: dried fruits (cranberries, apricots, apples, banana chips, currants), fresh fruit (berries, oranges, apple slices), honey, jam, marmalade.
- Crisp: veggies (peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber), pear slices, crackers.
- Crunchy: chips and more chips
- Creamy: brie, mozzarella, hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush.
- Tart: pomegranate seeds, pickled peppers, gherkins, pickled onions.
- Juicy: oranges, kiwi, persimmon.
- Nutty: hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, or a mix of all of them.
- Spicy: pepperoncini, sweet pickled peppers, pickled jalapeño.
If you pick up 3-4 types of cheese from the store, I bet you have everything else you need to put together a cheese board in your pantry and fridge right now.
Make your cheese plate extra special
I always like to include a few things that I have made on a cheese board. These don't need to be fancy or difficult to make. Just a little something extra.
On this holiday cheese board, I've made mini tomato bocconcini skewers and pears with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds.
Both are very simple to make but they make the cheese board feel special.
A few other options that would be nice on a holiday cheese board are:
- Blue Cheese and Walnut Balls with Grapes
- White Cheddar and Thyme Cheese Puffs
- Caramelized Shallot and Gruyere Fondue
Whichever you choose, pick up a few bottles of Vinho Verde, invite your favorite people, and dig into your epic holiday cheese board!
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Best Holiday Appetizers
- Roasted Caramelized Onion Dip
- Mini BLT Tomato Cups
- Lemon Whipped Ricotta with Cranberry Honey
- Chorizo Stuffed Mushroom Caps
- Mini Cucumber Smoked Salmon Bites with Lemon Dill Cream Cheese
- Spicy Rum and Rosemary Mixed Nuts
- Sticky Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
No party should be without an Epic Holiday Cheese Board. This one is super customizable and filled to the brim with winter favorites. You won't even notice that it's a gluten-free + vegetarian cheese platter!
The Holiday Cheese Board
- Brie cheese + honeycomb + pomegranate seeds
- Fresh mozzarella + olive oil + flaky sea salt + black pepper
- Smoked gouda + fontina cheese, sliced
- Store-bought or homemade hummus + olive oil + minced parsley
- Red and green peppers, sliced or cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter
- Hazelnuts + olives + dried cranberries + sweet mini peppers
- Pomegranate seeds + orange segments + honey
- Store-bought beet chips + parsnip chips
- Rosemary, to decorate
Pear and Goat Cheese Slices
- 1 pear, cored and sliced
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Tomato Bocconcini Bites
- 20 bocconcini pearls (or regular bocconcini cut in half)
- 20 grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons reduced balsamic vinegar
- Put the brie on your cheese board and top with some honeycomb (or honey) and a few pomegranate seeds. Put the mozzarella in a bowl and drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and put it on the board. Arrange the sliced gouda and fontina on the board.
- Either put the hummus in a bowl or directly on the board, if it is marble. Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some parsley over top. Arrange the peppers around it.
- Add the pear and goat cheese slices and the tomato bocconcini bites to the board then arrange the remaining ingredients to fill in all the gaps on the board.
Pear and Goat Cheese Slices
Place a little goat cheese at the end of each pear slice and fan them out on the board. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds over the goat cheese.
Tomato Bocconcini Bites
Skewer the bocconcini and tomatoes on toothpicks and pour the reduced balsamic vinegar into a small bowl.
With a busy board like this one, I find it best to serve the harder cheeses sliced.