The Ultimate Grilled Cheese and Charcuterie Board for 4

How do you step your charcuterie board up to the next level?

The charcuterie board has enjoyed a rise in popularity over the past few years across social media as people began posting the simple luxury of imported cheese and meats — best enjoyed over a glass of wine. That social media craze led to a charcuterie explosion where you can now find these boards on most restaurant menus across the country. We still love a delicious spread of meat, cheese, and olives. But how can we take this popular favorite and give it the new luxurious twist it needs?

Enter the grilled cheese. We’re not talking about American cheese between two pieces of Wonderbread. Our elevated version combines two different cheeses to provide the glorious cheese pull moment and to deepen the flavor.

Stopping into Penn Mac on The Strip for cheese and meats is a treasured Pittsburgh tradition. I am always excited to see what specialty imports we can try alongside our favorites. At the cheese counter, I meet Jared Snodgrass and I explain that I’m looking to make a luxurious grown-up grilled cheese sandwich. He tells me that one cheese just won’t do the trick and that I’ll need two; one with high fat content to provide a rich flavor and aroma and one with elasticity to give you the perfect cheese pull. He settled on Tomme de Savoie for my rich cheese and Abondance for my pull factor. Finally, as I was about to depart, he also grabbed a pound of French churned butter, Beurre de barrette: Isigny Mere, telling me it’s “The best butter money can buy.” And I think he’s right.

The fashion industry is tapping into quiet luxury, a new-age, minimalistic approach to fashion that focuses on quality materials and thoughtful purchases that are considered more of an investment rather than fast fashion. We’ve given some thought to this concept and think it can undoubtedly translate into the food and beverage world as well. By way of a similar approach, recipes with fewer ingredients, simple preparations, time-honored tastes, and flavors with a reminiscent feel of splendor can also find their way into this trend of quiet luxury. This grilled cheese and charcuterie board checks all of those quietly luxurious boxes…and then some.

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese and Charcuterie Board for 4

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT GRILLED CHEESE

  1. Use about 2 oz of each cheese in equal parts.
  2. Allow your butter to reach room temperature before attempting to spread on bread.
  3. Select a fresh-cut Italian loaf from Mancini’s.
  4. Use a low to medium heat to get the perfect golden brown crunch.

MEAT SELECTION

For our meat selection, we picked a Collatello. This northern Italian specialty is available in a very small production region of Emiglia Romagna, not far from the famous Parma region, renowned for its Prosciutto di Parma. Colatello is made from a choice section of pork thigh, and cured for at least 10 months, creating a velvety texture and mild briney quality unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.

Our second selection is Bresaola. This Italian specialty is made from beef instead of pork. The air drying it undergoes gives Bresaola a deep, rich, nutty flavor and a beautiful deep ruby color. This is often referred to as “beef prosciutto.”

FINISHING TOUCHES

Finally, finish off the board with a few of your favorite accoutrements. We love to add meaty olives like Alphonso and Cerignola, some fresh pesto, caviar, lightly peppered salmon, and a few fresh herbs for garnish.

Recipe and Styling by Justin Matase / Story by Justin Matase and Star Laliberte / Photography by Laura Petrilla

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