Imagine what would happen if your Hawaiian pizza took a trip to Italy… Meet the Spicy Pancetta Grape Pizza. The sweetness of bright, juicy red grapes balance out fiery Calabrian chilies and salty pancetta in this Italian twist on Hawaiian pizza.
With so many holidays throughout the month of December, we find ourselves snacking constantly, and there’s no snack we love more than… well basically anything served on a board. Why do snacks taste so much better from a board? Honestly, it’s a mystery, but even our kids love a good snack board so we’ve rounded up some charcuterie board ideas from the HMC Farm Kitchen to get you through the holidays and into the new year.
Board #1: The winter classic
This is one of our favorite winter charcuterie boards. We started with HMC Farms red seedless grapes (of course), and added local almonds, pistachios, pomegranates, and salami—in fact, nearly everything on this board is grown or made in California. What we love most about this board is that it balances the sweetness of in-season fruit with the saltiness of salami and nuts and the bold flavor of our favorite cheeses. It’s a crowd-pleaser, and our go-to when hosting a small gathering or cocktails over Zoom.
What we used for the winter classic:
HMC Farms red seedless grapes
Pomegranates from the Central Valley
Almonds from the Central Valley
Two kinds of salami from Busseto Foods
Dubliner cheese from Kerrygold
Habanero and jalapeño cheddar from Yancey’s Fancy
Board #2: The vegetarian board
FYI: meat is not required for a delicious board of snacks. We said it. Honestly, why should meat eaters have all the fun? Whether you are a vegetarian, shifting toward a more plant-based diet, or simply not eating processed meats (hello, pregnant ladies!), this board is a great option to enjoy your board sans-meat (you can also ditch the cheese or swap for vegan cheese to make this a vegan board). Honestly, even if you’re an omnivore, you might not even notice the salami is missing—we didn’t!
What we used for the vegetarian board:
HMC Farms red seedless grapes
Oranges and pomegranates from the Central Valley
Red walnuts from the Central Valley
Dubliner cheese from Kerrygold
Red wine cheese
Rosemary from our backyard for garnish
Board #3: The charcuterie wreath
It took us a minute to get on board with the charcuterie wreath trend. It seemed like a waste to leave a giant gap where there should be a pile of yummy snack foods. However, with the holidays upon us, we concede that a charcuterie wreath is cute for Christmas gatherings. If you’ve got a plate so cute you don’t want to cover it up, or if your famous artichoke dip needs a home on your charcuterie board, this might be the perfect fit for you.
What we used for the charcuterie wreath:
HMC Farms red seedless grapes
Cranberry white cheddar cheese
Served with a side of mini crisps
Board #4: The jarcuterie
This portable pint-sized snack is a promising pick when plating your preferences isn’t pleasant. (We are trying to compete with Peter Piper and his peppers here). A jarcuterie is an adorable way to refer to all of your favorite charcuterie board items served in jars. Why do we love jarcuteries? They remind us of Christmas stockings. There are layers of fun surprises, and you honestly never know what you’ll find at the bottom. You can easily customize jarcuteries for people with food allergies or dietary preferences that would make different foods overlapping on a board a bad idea. This is also a great way to prevent people from touching (or breathing on) all of the treats, and it’s pretty easy to make these little guys look just as adorable as a full spread. As a fun bonus, your uncle can’t hog all of the HMC Farms grapes if everyone gets their own portion.
Grapes are a go-to choice when making a fruit salad or charcuterie board, but they are so much more versatile than that! One of the most surprising things about grapes is how great they are when roasted. This super easy recipe using HMC Farms grapes is a great way to elevate your appetizers and small plate offerings from home gatherings to catered events.
What you’ll need for about 16 pieces of crostini:
1 bunch of HMC Farms red seedless table grapes
Fresh ricotta cheese
1 medium-sized loaf of rustic bread
Fresh thyme or rosemary
Salt and pepper
Optional: honey, balsamic glaze, or walnuts
Steps to roasted grape crostini bliss:
Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse the grapes and let them dry. Tip: We chose to use HMC Farms sliced grapes, but you can choose whether to slice the grapes in half or leave them whole.
Spread the grapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top with thyme or rosemary sprigs, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss the grapes a bit on the pan and then place in the oven for about 8 minutes, checking after 5 minutes.
Tip: It’s okay for the grapes to split or wrinkle up, but avoid letting them burn.
While the grapes are in the oven, slice the bread to desired thickness (we prefer about ½”), brush one side with olive oil, and grill in a pan or on a griddle. Brush the other side with olive oil and flip. Remove from the pan when both sides look lightly toated.
Remove grapes from the oven and set the pan out to cool.
Spread fresh ricotta on one side of each piece of toasted bread. Add 4-5 grapes to the top of each piece, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme or rosemary.
Tip: These are great just the way they are, but there are also lots of options for additions to top off the appetizer. Try drizzling a little honey, olive oil, or balsamic glaze over the top, or even adding a few chopped walnuts!
Chances are, you’ve seen a perfectly styled cheese or charcuterie board on social media. While cheese, meat, and crackers can make any crowd pretty happy; we feel that no charcuterie is complete without our HMC Farms fruit. The sweet flavors of our tree fruit and table grapes perfectly compliment the savory meat and cheese that are classic cheese board staples.
What you’ll need to copy our board:
4-6 pieces of HMC Farms fruit
We used 2 plumcots, 2 nectarines, and a large peach
HMC Farms grapes
We used Bunchkins, which are perfect for this, but our other grapes work well also.
3 kinds of cheese
We used 3 types of Vintage Cheese from nearby Bravo Farms: Dutch-Style Gouda, Chipotle Cheddar, and Classico (this one is a hard goat cheese) – we suggest using one cheese that crumbles well
2 types of meat – salami, prosciutto, etc.
We used sliced peppered salami and dry salami nuggets
Crackers, crisps, or a sliced baguette
We used cranberry pumpkin seed crisps and mini Croccatini crackers
1-2 kinds of nuts
We used raw almonds and cashews
We used chipotle honey from a local stand
We used oregano from our home garden, but rosemary is a beautiful accent.
The perfect board is a combination of beauty and taste. We started by placing our cheeses in three different spots around the board. We sliced the softer cheeses, and crumbled the hard cheese, while leaving it inside the rind for aesthetic purposes. Next, we sliced our HMC Farms peaches, nectarines, and plumcots, and placed them in three different spots on the board. We’ve found that the board looks best when the anchor items, in this case cheeses and fruit, are on different thirds of the board. Our jar of honey went right in the middle of the board.
Tip: A lot of our HMC peaches and nectarines are clingstone varieties. We’ve found that the easiest way to create pretty slices of fruit is to place the fruit on a cutting board with the stem side down and slice straight down on each side around the pit. These larger pieces can be sliced more easily that trying to separate each slice from the pit individually.
After placing the stone fruit, we added our Bunchkins Champagne grapes. These petite bunches of fun practically scream charcuterie board, and we are still in their narrow window of availability. Once the Bunchkins have completed harvest and are no longer available, try replacing them with our delicious HMC Farms California table grapes.
The open spaces remaining on the board were then filled in with the salami and crackers, followed by the nuts and garnish.
Tip: An easy way to make sliced salami look fancy is to fold it into quarters (in half once, and then in half again so that it is shaped like a slice of pizza) and then wedge it together with the rounded side up.
Honestly, we had to hold back the whole office to take photos of the board. It was promptly devoured as soon as we finished the photos. You can expect a similar reaction when serving a fruit and cheese board at your next BBQ, game night, or book club. People love these delightful mini buffets, and HMC Farms fruit will elevate your board to the next level.
We hope you enjoy our fruit and cheese board guide. Tag us in your fruit and cheese board photos on Facebook (@HMCfarmsKingsburg) and Instagram (@HMCfarms)!
P.S. We learned how to make cheese boards from @ainttooproudtomeg on her Instagram feed. Check it out for ideas on different types of board styles and ways to elevate your cheese board game.