Tag Archives: cheese

Spooky charcuterie spread for Halloween

SpookyCharcuterie4 I chose pickled okra instead of gherkins because they reminded me of a witches' fingers.

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend, and I am taking over the blog today to bring you a spooky charcuterie spread for Halloween. Annette and I both love Halloween, and every year, I am lucky enough to get to put together a festive post for the blog. You might remember my skull floral arrangement from last year (and if you missed it, go check it out!). Basically, I love any excuse to get a little creative in October.

One of the things that I enjoy doing every year is hosting my friends for a Halloween gathering. My birthday is just two days before Halloween, so it’s perfect timing for a soiree. Here’s the thing about my friends: every party we have, big or small, involves a charcuterie of some sort, and with Halloween right around the corner, I decided to put an eerie twist on this classic appetizer.

Over the years, Annette has done some pretty phenomenal charcuterie spreads, and she even has a step-by-step guide to creating one yourself. I used her post as a starting point for my grocery shopping. It was so nice to be able to make a shopping list directly from her post.

SpookyCharcuterie1 The "cauldrons" are actually tiny copper food prep bowls, and the "witches broom" breadsticks are held in a skeleton drinking glass.

To add a spooky spin, I picked up a few treats from World Market. When I saw this piece of slate, I knew it would be the perfect creepy base for my meats and cheeses. From there, I settled on a copper, chrome, and black color scheme. I grabbed a few tiny bamboo utensils because they reminded me of bones. I also picked up a few Halloween-inspired containers to hold all of the goodies, and a few little decorative pieces like the skull, rat, and tiny spiders to add some pizzazz.

One pro tip is to make sure that you get food-safe containers for your own spooky charcuterie spread. The “cauldrons” are actually tiny copper food prep bowls, and the “witches broom” breadsticks are held in a skeleton drinking glass.

SpookyCharcuterie3 The end result is a spooky charcuterie spread that is sure to be a hit at your next party!

As I shopped for remaining accoutrements, I kept the Halloween theme in mind. I chose pickled okra instead of gherkins because they reminded me of a witches’ fingers. I added dried apricots (a tip from Annette’s post) because they are a lovely shade of orange. I decided on prosciutto because it’s so fatty and veiny.

The end result is a spooky charcuterie spread that is sure to be a hit at your next party! If you really want to carry the theme throughout, add some festive bottles of red wine. Prisoner is one of my favorites and quite on-theme, too!

Thanks for having me, Annette, and Happy (almost) Halloween, everyone!

xo, Nicole

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The Cheese ladies of Metro, Lunigiana, Italy

C H E E S E !!! … full disclosure I could live on it. In our region, we have many local cheese makers. Goat cheese and cows milk as well. Sydney and I (if you read the last post you know Sydney is our son’s girlfriend; she’s studying nutrition here in Italy for the summer as she gets her degree to become a registered dietitian) traveled high above the mountains of Metro to meet and try local cheese made by a mother daughter team of cheese ladies. The Mama is about 90 and still works actively in the processing kitchen. In her white wellies, she scoops the whey and makes the pecorino, the ricotta, and the mozzarella. We had the pleasure of touring their tiny but immaculate facility in the back of their small but well-stocked cheese and salumi store.

The aging room was my favorite part. Neatly stacked cheese just waiting to be picked from the shelves to be enjoyed.

We went home with a new pecorino, aged for 4 months, and a more pungent pecorino aged for 2 years. Mama tossed in a mozzarella ball as a gift to be discovered when we unpacked everything for lunch at noon. What a enormous treat, and you know I will be back to buy more….once we’ve polished off the wedges that we took home.

Thanks to my friend Davide for taking a minute to show us this delicious place.

xx Annette

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The Anatomy of a Charcuterie Platter


One of my favorite things to construct, food wise that is, (*you all know I love a construction project) would have to be a charcuterie platter. I love nibbling, and I think that guests do as well. Everything from buying the spread to laying it all out into an amazing piece of art makes me so happy.

I think that most people think that a hunk of cheese, some grapes, or apples slices and crackers and maybe some pepperoni make a charcuterie plate.

In this post, I will teach you to make the ultimate food stylist charcuterie platter.

From start to finish, I will show you how to take a blank canvas and turn it into the most gorgeous Caravaggio– esque food spread ever. Your guests will be in awe.

Charcuterie platter

This is a platter we photographed for Atlanta Magazine’s HOME winter issue constructed by Alisa Barry

Charcuturie Platter

So here we go.

Pick out a wooden board. I like a cutting board that is at least 24″x 30″ but bigger is better. I own several sizes, but I like working with something that is 36″x 40.” In some cases, I find these boards at flea markets. You can also use cake stands for a different look; I like both approaches. Make sure you have plenty of cheese knives, spreaders, spoons, and forks all over the board. I also like to put bowls and plates on top of the board for some height and textural interest.


Like with a floral arrangement, I place the large items on the board first, a pile of thinly sliced Prosciutto, whole salamis, large cheese wedges, and perhaps include crackers on the board as well. Then place the jars or small bowls of tapenade, jams, jellies, and pickles. Next add the veggies like roasted peppers, and smaller items like salami bites, nuts, and olives sprinkled into the spaces. There should be minimal space on your board. It’s really like an art project.

Your shopping list should include:

Cheeses: both hard cheese like Cheddar or Pecorino, and soft cheese like Burrata or Brie.

Meat: Prosciutto sliced, Bresaola, Salami, both sliced and whole.

Condiments: nuts, tapenades, jellies, and sweet and savory jams. Grilled veggies, peppers, onions, artichokes and pickles, pate, olives, and honey comb.

Fruits: figs, grapes (green, red or purple), dates, and dried fruits like apricots or apples.

Breads: rustic breads like ciabatta, rye, and country breads, not sliced. Make sure you slice the bread, so it has a rustic look. Crostini or a baguette, nutty crackers or focaccia.

Charcuterie Platter

This beautiful platter by Honestly Yum

Photos credit: John McDonald and Dane Sponberg

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