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Say Cheese

Crafting the perfect charcuterie board for every kind of eater

Charcuterie boards are a quintessential part of any modern holiday feast—they’re fun to put together, they feature a great mixture of sweet and salty snacks, and, let’s be frank: they look amazing on the table. Despite its versatility, the classic meat and cheese charcuterie board doesn’t typically take into account the variety of dietary restrictions and preferences of everyone attending a holiday gathering. Whether your mom has a preference for minimizing gluten or your grandmother doesn't eat meat, it's still possible to put together a platter that everyone will love. We asked Emma Martin and Sami Smart, co-owners of Revel Board + Beverage in Yarmouth, for their top tips on crafting grazing boards for eaters of all kinds.

Vegan Tip: Keep it Simple

Sure, you can find tons of plant-based meat and cheese substitutes at the local store, but Martin suggests forgoing these short-cuts because they’re full of nasty additives (if you can’t be swayed, however, Treeline Cheese made from cashew nuts is a decent option). Instead, consider making your own cheese (there are plenty of fairly simple recipes online) or stick to items that are naturally vegan: think hummus, veggies, nuts, and fruit. Jazz up your board with blanched veggies tossed in olive oil, or give it a Mediterranean twist with marinated artichokes, mushrooms, and roasted red peppers. While vegan grazing boards are the most challenging of the bunch, they’re really not that hard. “Just don’t overthink it,” reiterates Martin.

Gluten-Free Tip: Make Cheese the Star

When it comes to gluten-free charcuterie boards, simply swap out regular crackers and bread chunks for gluten-free crisps like Simple Mills nut flour crackers or Crunchmaster Multi-Seed rice crackers. Then, turn your focus to the cheese: Martin suggests incorporating soft, semi-soft, and hard varieties in your board (her favorites are Brie, Camembert, Manchego, and Toscano soaked in Syrah). While you’re welcome to visit your local cheese shop, there’s plenty of variety to be found at Hannaford’s or Trader Joe’s.

Vegetarian Tip: Amp Up the Produce, But Keep it Seasonal

Vegetarian boards should feature a variety of produce along with dips, nuts, and crackers. “Strawberries won’t be looking great in the winter, so try pomegranates, persimmons, pears, and apples instead,” says Martin. Dehydrated, thinly sliced blood oranges add a pop of color to any board, as do Badger Flame beets which, when sliced, offer a crunchy bite that can replace boring crackers.

Pescatarian Tip: Tinned Fish is Your Friend

Whether you’re spending the holidays with fish-loving friends or you’re just looking for something lighter to snack on before a meat-heavy dinner, a pescatarian board only takes a few minor tweaks. Instead of lining the board with cured meats, incorporate small bowls of smoked mussels, tinned fish, and smoked trout. Pair the salty goodness with rye crackers, lemon creme fraiche, and pickled red onions for the perfect savory bite.

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Revel Board + Beverage 

revelmaine.com | @revelmaine

Run by friends Emma Martin and Sami Smart, Revel Board and Beverage is a grazing table and bar service located in Yarmouth that focuses on tiered and flat grazing tables for special events, client meetings, or company parties as well as mobile bar services and custom to-go boards. Options include charcuterie, cheeses, crudités, smoked fish, bagels, and more, and boards can be customized to meet gluten-free, nut-free, or vegetarian/vegan dietary restrictions. Revel’s simple online ordering system makes it easy to customize your board and select add-ons. 

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