It’s the mooooost wonderful tiiiiime of the year! Granted, it’s the most wonderful time of the year in what was perhaps the least wonderful year in a long time? Regardless of all of the weirdness that the year brought, I’m hell bent on bringing the cheer and feeling festive for the rest of 2020 and then some. 🙂 Since we don’t get to host the usual Friendsgiving celebration, I’m happy to be joining in some virtual Friendsgiving fun with my friends at ShopRite and some other internet gal pals of mine. We’re each bringing something to the (virtual) table – and your girl’s got an appetizer spread and refreshing cocktail comin’ your way today! One of my *favorite* entertaining go-to’s has always been a great charcuterie board, and a favorite HACK is turning your typical charcuterie board into a bigger, better charcuterie table!
Sooooo, we’re doing a seasonal harvest charcuterie board + cranberry rum bubbly for today’s “feast.”
I stocked up on a few favorites from ShopRite for the occasion; more on each to come below, but while you’re at it, add bowl & basket kettle chips, Stella cheese, Canada Dry ginger ale, and Nut Thins to your shopping list! You can also grab paper products from ShopRite’s Paperbird collection, opt into home delivery or contactless pickup options to safely stock up, and load up on holiday recipes from ShopRite’s website right here!
Another amazing perk of shopping @ ShopRite: their Price Plus Club Card! Earn points towards a free holiday dinner item through it, so your Thanksgiving turkey can be on the house. 😉 Learn more about the program here!
OK OK SO, let’s hop into this fall charcuterie board app and cranberry rum bubbly drink, shall we?
When planning your harvest charcuterie board and picking up elements + ingredients at your local ShopRite, remember a few categories:
- Meat – A charcuterie staple, naturally! Any charcuterie board is going to have cured meats; some personal favorites include sopressetta, prosciutto, and a hard salami.
- Cheese – Another classic to a good charcuterie board. I recommend grabbing a few both soft + hard options. Stella cheese has some really quality, yummy varieties; I grabbed a soft crumbled blue and a hard parmesan to have on hand for this table!
- Fruit – This is where you can embrace seasonality, too. For a harvest charcuterie board especially, seasonal fruit like apples, pomegranates and grapes are all the rage. FUN FACT about apples at ShopRite that I learned after going on a fun fall adventure with them this year: Some apples can make it to store THE SAME DAY they were picked off the tree! Talk about fresh! And ShopRite’s top selling apple is Honeycrisp. 🙂 (More fun apple facts from my trip with ShopRite here!)
- Crunch – Crackers, nuts, chips, etc! One of my personal favorites are Blue Diamond’s Nut Thins, which I actually first tried on another trip with my ShopRite friends in Summer 2019; they’ve been a staple in our pantry ever since. Another key recommendation to add to cart: ShopRite’s new bowl & basket brand. If you’re unfamiliar, bowl & basket is a thoughtfully crafted collection of food + ingredients born from the ShopRite brand, with everything from packaged goods and salads to frozen entrees and prepared meals. Their kettle chips are out of this world and come in a handful of varieties; I incorporated mesquite BBQ for another orange color and smokier flavor, and maui sweet onion to counter sharper cheeses.
How to make a charcuterie board:
For more of a charcuterie table like mine, grab a roll of butcher paper or brown craft paper to lay out on the tabletop of your choice! I put a little piece of masking tape underneath the table to keep the ends neat and tucked under, and to keep the paper taut.
Start your table by placing bigger, “cornerstone” elements around the board – like pumpkins! For a harvest charcuterie especially, my cornerstone pieces were all intentionally the more “seasonal” elements to bring home the feel of the board.
Think in waves! Start by waving + wrapping other elements around your cornerstones to begin building up and fleshing out your board. Here for my harvest charcuterie board, I added rows of crackers next to pumpkins, or waved apple slices around a tub of Stella blue cheese crumbles. It’s an easy way to get it going and create groupings that can repeat themselves in other places on the table.
Use long toothpicks to skewer meats and fan them out for added texture.
Another meat hack: wrap pretzel rods in prosciutto! Prosciutto is yummy but not always pretty – especially just sitting awkwardly on a charcuterie board. It pairs well with pretzels, so just wrap ’em up to add flavor + texture to the table!
Pick pops of color and texture! Grapes beautifully balance out this board with both, so I placed those around as “cornerstone” elements, too.
Again, add seasonal elements depending on your time of year. This harvest charcuterie board was completed with pumpkins and in-season fruits; for winter, add sprigs of evergreen, cinnamon sticks, or toasted hazelnuts.
As you’re creating your charcuterie board, don’t be afraid to step back for a birds eye view to see what needs more where. It’s a fun process, and ideally your board or table will let guests have anything/everything in their reach. Especially if you’re hosting a few friends and want to stay safely apart, this is a great way to make that happen – keep ingredients balanced out and repeated often as you circle the board from above!
AND NOW THE DRINK – starring a classic: Canada Dry ginger ale! I’m calling this simple concoction a “cranberry rum bubbly” – it’s got a few familiar flavors and feels festive thanks to the cranberry. If you’re a fan of Moscow Mules, the ginger is a nice nod to that, so it’s a great seasonal sip!
Cranberry Rum Bubbly Cocktail:
- 1 shot spiced rum
- Equal parts cranberry juice + Canada Dry ginger ale
- Fresh cranberries for garnish
- Sugar for your rim!
First, sugar your rim. I recommend having a plate of water nearby to wet the rim for the sugar to stick, then circle your glass in another plate with sugar to coat the rim evenly + entirely.
Next, one shot of spiced rum!
Add equal parts cranberry juice + Canada Dry ginger ale next; feel free to alter the balance of these two to your personal taste, whether you prefer more of a fruity flavor or ginger bubbles. Add fresh cranberries for garnish!
TIP: Freeze fresh cranberries ahead of time to use as ice, to avoid diluting your drinks!
ANOTHER TIP: Skewer your fresh cranberry garnish and place on the rim, that way guests can use as a mixing stick, too.
Will you be making a charcuterie board this season?
And for my fellow local gals, when was the last time you hit up your local ShopRite??? I’d lovelovelove to hear your personal favorite fall-friendly appetizers and cocktail combos – if you’ve got good recipes, send ’em my way!
*Thanks to ShopRite, a brand I lovelovelove, for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions + thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank YOU for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!