4 Stellar Pasture Board Ideas for Easy Vacation Entertainment


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Yes, this entertaining trend seems to be everywhere but we don’t get so bored with boards! Scroll through social media and there’s no doubt how popular cheese, charcuterie and other types of boards and spreads are these days. It’s easy to see why: filled with a variety of colorful and cleverly arranged components, they are a feast for the eyes and the palate.

And anything goes—if anything box be placed on a wooden board, a marble slab, a tray or even a clean work surface, it is. There are pancake boards for breakfast, cupcake boards for birthdays, and baked potato boards just for fun, to name a few. Recently, butterboards have taken over TikTok and Instagram. They’re exactly as they sound – softened butter, slathered on a board with various toppings and accompaniments. This was quickly followed by Peanut Butter Planks, Cream Cheese Planks, Guacamole Planks and even, no kidding, Sour Cream Planks.

Chalkboard Ideas by Ina Garten

In her new cookbook, Unmissable dinnerspopular cook Ina’s Garden is in tune with the trend as a simple every night supper and as a simple yet elegant entertainment option.

“I started playing with put together things like a plowman’s lunch for a plank,” she says, using a variety of components (ham, cheese, celery sticks, bread, hard-boiled eggs, etc.) . “It’s a great dinner.” Garten also shares other examples, from an antipasto platter to a dessert spread, all of which she offers as suggestions to inspire readers to do their own thing.

Related: Get the recipe for this stellar holiday dessert from Ina Garten’s new cookbook

Her inspiration, however, came not from traditional cheese or charcuterie boards, but from something she saw while vacationing in the south of France. “There was a big table of people having a party, and the kitchen sent up this huge, long board with all kinds of desserts on it and put it in the middle of the table,” she recalled. “There were little pies with fresh strawberries and figs, chocolate chips, slices of cake and cookies. It was so dramatic!”

It was also something, she realized, anyone could do. “Go to a bakery or specialty food store and buy everything,” says Garten. “It was really inspiring to see that you could make something really beautiful and delicious without any work except just arranging it on a board.”

Pro tips for amazing boards

There aren’t many rules when it comes to putting together a board, but there are a few basics that will help you create a mouth-watering spread:

“An easy way to make sure cheeses and charcuterie work well together is to choose options from the same region,” advises Garten. For example, try the Italian prosciutto, salami, and coppa with fontina, pecorino romano, and gorgonzola. Figure 1-2 ounces of meat and/or cheese per person for an appetizer, 2-4 ounces for a light meal.

—Planks are generally meant for relaxed grazing, so stick to components that taste great at room temperature. This can include anything from charcuterie for a cocktail snack to mini frittatas for brunch.

—Consider the texture. Soft cheeses and dips add creaminess. Crackers and nuts add crunch.

—Fresh or dried fruit, or a chutney or jam, add a nice splash of color as well as a sweet note to balance out the saltiness of other dishes.

—Don’t cover every square inch of your board with food. It’s good to leave some space between foods so people can help themselves easily.

—Small can also be beautiful. Instead of assembling one large tray, arrange the offerings on several smaller boards or trays.

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Here we share four ideas for making your own spreads. Mix and match however you like, combining a few things you make with store-bought treats. Or take a cue from Garten and buy it all!

Related: Check out our foodie gift guide

The appetizer board

While it’s nice to serve a few finger foods before a big holiday meal, you don’t want to overdo it. This spread keeps things simple with a few cheeses, some charcuterie, a dip and crunchy candied nuts and salty cheddar wafers.

movie-night snack

Movie night advice

This one also works for game night, with simple sweet and savory snacks. Popcorn is a must, and pizza bagel bites add another tasty note to balance out all that candy.

cocktail board

The Cocktail Board

You’ll want to serve snacks with these drinks! Our lineup includes many store-bought options (like cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce, Marcona almonds and herbed goat cheese log) as well as premium house-cooked pigs in a blanket.

brunch board

The brunch platter

Our morning meal combines store-bought bagels, herb cream cheese, smoked salmon, and other treats with house-cured bacon, hard-boiled eggs, and pickled red onions.

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