tapenade cheese charcuterie

Quick Apps. Easy. Winning.

Friends coming over?

Sometimes it’s easier to buzz to the store for ready-to-serve options, than to find a recipe or two, make your shopping list, buy, prep, cook, serve, etc. etc. You know how that goes. So back to the instant party concept.

My top option is a stop at Trader Joe’s for the best selection of gourmet cheeses and charcuterie. I don’t use any type of formula when selecting cheese to serve as appetizers – or for a typical French cheese course, for that matter. I leave my options pretty open for what is available, and what is well-priced. Brie way to dear? Opt for a different soft cheese. So. I think three options is a minimum, five works well, more than that… just why. Too much to absorb, flavor wise. Start with the cheese that speaks to you in the moment, something unusual, on special or your favorite. Then choose each additional cheese to go with your first selection. You should have one soft, mild cheese. One gourmet herbed cheese. And one hard, bold cheese.

Then select some charcuterie, the fancier the better. Slices of prosciutto, a small salty hard sausage (this is always a winner with your cheeses), and a spicy salami. Find a great guide to composing a charcuterie tray on Bon Appetit.

Grab a fresh bagette and don’t forget a container of tapenade – a wonderful spread of finely chopped olives, capers and anchovies.


Instant glamour. All you need to add is a glass of wine.

What are your tips for composing a tempting cheese and meat appetizer platter? Chime in!

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