Learn how to build a charcuterie board and get tips to host an affordable wine & cheese night!
You know how there are some people who can just make any food look amazing? I have a friend like this, Alise. She is so talented with food presentation and makes the most amazing cheese boards and snacking spreads. This is a skill I lack – please tell me I’m not alone. While I don’t think it comes naturally to everyone to make an incredible charcuterie board, I do think it’s a skill that can be learned. And one of my goals this year is to master making a charcuterie board. So, when I heard Lidl was bringing in a range of Italian wines, I thought it would be the perfect excuse to try my hand at curating charcuterie board ingredients and host a wine pairing party!
Our new house is perfect for entertaining and once we have furniture (we recently ordered quite a bit!), I can’t wait to have friends over. In the meantime, I invited Alise over to enjoy the wine and cheese with me. I originally planned to have her help me put it together but then I thought it would be good practice for me. And, wanted to treat her for once and have everything ready when she showed up. She and Adam have taken such good care of me over the years and host dinner for us all the time. (And, they let me live with them for two weeks before the wedding! Solid, solid friends.) We had so much fun snacking, talking about workouts, and catching up on life. And, of course, drinking wine!
Lidl has become my go-to place to buy wine for five reasons:
1. They have a Master of Wine – I like knowing someone with legit experience is personally tasting and selecting the wines that are sold. That means I don’t have to do a bunch of research to know how well something is rated and mull over what to get for far too long in the wine aisle. Their master of wine, Adam Lapierre, has tasted over 10,000 wines to curate the 120 bottles or so in Lidl’s every day assortment. TEN THOUSAND WINES. I can’t even wrap my head around that. And he tasted 800 wines for the Italian Wine Fair!
2. They have Wine Fairs. To encourage people to branch out and try new styles, Lidl brings in temporary, promotional wine for their Wine Fairs & Discoveries. They had a French Wine Fair last fall and they have an Italian Wine Fair starting March 1. It’s a really good way to get premium wines not found in Lidl’s every day assortment. During their Italian Wine Fair from March 1 to March 7, you can get 40% off Italian wines when you buy 6 or more!!! Tip: Lidl has new Discoveries and Wine Fairs every two months or so, so make sure you’re following their social media (@LidlUS) and website for more info!
3. Their ranking system makes it easy to shop. Adam created three label designations to help shoppers pick wine for the right occasion; the Every Day Collection, Wine Club and Sommelier Selection. Every Day Collection wines are easy-to-drink value picks while the Sommelier Selection offers bottles more suitable for gifting or hosting.
4. Their prices are amazing for the quality. So many wines come under $20 Lidl and there are a lot of amazing wines under $10. And I’ve never had a bottle from there I didn’t like. Plus, since the bottles are so affordable, it’s not that risky to branch out and try something new!
5. They have street cred. Even before they opened stores in the U.S., Lidl had over 200 awards for their private label wines. These came from legit competitions, including prestigious international blind-tasting competitions and the Los Angeles International Wine Competition. And this year, they got 42 more awards from the San Francisco Wine Chronicle Competition, the largest American wine competition in the world. (Um, I want to attend that please.) There really isn’t another grocery retailer that has earned this kind of distinction in the wine category.
A few presentation tips for your charcuterie board & wine party!
Buy some wine glasses you love!
They don’t have to be expensive!
Get a variety of wines.
I like to have a red and a white since everyone’s palates and preferences vary.
Buy an actual cheese board.
There are so many styles (rectangular, circle, square) and materials (slate, marble, wood) available so you can definitely find one you love and is in your budget. I have a wood charcuterie board and a slate cheese board love them both.
Fill it up!
It’s better for the board to look full and crowded, than sparse and empty.
Leave the block!
Cut a few slices of each cheese, so they’re easy to grab, but also leave the rest of the cheese block (or two!) for presentation and to fill up the board.
Up your utensil game
Put a cheese knife out (maybe more depending on how much cheese you have), as well as a couple small spoons and spreaders. It’s worth buying a fun cheese knife set!
Consider using labels
Labeling cheeses can be helpful for guests (especially for those with food sensitivities). Write the type of cheese directly on the board if you have a slate one or use cheese markers found at most kitchen supply shops.
Charcuterie Board Ingredients
When shopping for my cheese board, I literally googled images of cheese boards. I noticed recurring themes, and, um, I bought nearly all of this to go with the cheese and wine. It’s just so affordable at Lidl that it was easy to go overboard without even feeling guilty about it.
Italian cold cuts
salami, proscuitto, soppressata
include multiple types cheese, including at least 1 hard cheese and 1 soft cheese. A blue cheese and semi-soft is always nice too.
fruit and veggies
I like apples, grapes, pears, and berries and mini peppers, celery, and carrots. Chilled roasted veggies, like peppers and zucchini, are nice too.
I like apricots, dates and figs
I like having a couple kinds, including one hearty option and a gluten-free option
crusty bread, toasts
roasted almonds, marcona almonds, walnuts and cashews are my favorites
cornichons, pickles, olives
grainy mustards, a nice jam, honey, hummus, chutney
dark chocolate 😉
These are the Lidl Preferred Selection Italian cheeses I bought.
Montasio Italian hard cheese (this was a new-to-me variety and I loved it!) – $3.99
Asiago Stagionato – $3.99
Gorgonzola cheese, forte (sharp) – $4.99a
Gorgonzola cheese, dolce (mild) – $4.99
Jalepeño Harvarti – $3.99
Parmigiano Reggiano – $5.99
Mini brie, zesty – $2.99
Mini brie, pepper (this was so good!!) – $2.99
I didn’t end up putting them all out, but they’ll last in the fridge for a while and this way I’m prepared for a girls’ night on the fly! 😉 And the prices ranged from $3-$6 which is amazing, especially for Parmigiano Reggiano!
And these are the wines I got from the Lidl Italian Wine Fair:
Nero d`Avola Terre Siciliane – $6.99
Greco di Tufo – $9.99
Dolcetto d’Alba – $7.99
Roero arneis – $9.99
Pinot Grigio Veneto spumante – $7.99
They are all under $10 and all scored 88+!
3 tips to host an affordable wine & cheese night
Save the leftovers. It can seem expensive at first to buy all of the things for the cheese board, but keep in mind that almost everything that goes on it can put back in the package if it doesn’t get eaten.
Keep in mind how long things will last. You very likely won’t use the entire jar of green olives or the full bag of marcona almonds on one cheese board so it will actually last you a few rounds of hosting.
Shop during Lidl’s Wine Fairs and stock up. Their Waster of Wine personally tasted over 800 wines from the best vineyards in Italy to narrow it down to the top nineteen for the Italian Wine Fair . His criteria was to find wine that represented the region well and also over-delivered for the price.
I can’t wait to host again!
Maybe I’ll let Tommy crash the party again next time. 😉 I kind of like him.
Instagram or it didn’t happen, right?
What’s your favorite combination on a cheese board? Any must-haves or unusual additions? And are you a red or white wine lover?
Big thank you to Lidl for sponsoring this post and for the amazing wine!