Home entertaining is one of my favorite aspects of summer. Whether we’re hosting a pool party for friends and family or just having a few neighbors over for a cookout, I always have a cheese board on deck and this summer charcuterie board is perfect for entertaining.
Harry & David’s artisanal cheese and charcuterie collections are a great way to make sure you don’t forget any of the essentials. They have everything you need to build an all-encompassing board, with a few of my favorites like the Cellars at Jasper Hill cheeses, Pepper and Onion Relish, and olive oil sourdough crackers. Plus I like to use sweet fruits and blooming florals to bring a board to life with the fresh, crisp flavors of summer.
Almost more importantly, what’s a summer soirée without the cocktails? Pairing craft cocktails with cheese not only makes eating the board more exciting, it also complements the cheese and charcuterie and creates a fantastic new experience while tasting the food.
For this board, I built each side to pair perfectly with a signature summer cocktail. My personal favorite was using Harry & David’s legendary pears to create a fun twist on the traditional mojito.
First, let’s talk about the pear ginger mojito. Normally mojitos use rum, but since rum has such a distinct tropical flavor I decided to use vodka to let the pear flavor stand out. This crisp, refreshing cocktail is sweet, yet has a slightly peppery flavor. All you need are pears, simple syrup, fresh mint, lime, and ginger beer. If you can’t find pear simple syrup, you can make your own by dissolving half a cup of granulated syrup in half a cup of water with half of a muddled pear, then straining it to use in the cocktail. This cocktail pairs beautifully with the gooey and milky Jasper Hill Little Hosmer new world-style brie. The soft notes of the pear and floral ginger creates a bright, clean finish to the nutty cheese. Try it with a piece of soppressata and a spread of red pepper jelly.
The white peach mint julep is another fruity and fresh complement to your summer board. You’ll need a ripe peach (a ripe one will have a slight “give” when squeezed), fresh mint, sugar, peach liqueur, and your favorite bourbon whiskey. I typically reach for a sweeter bourbon that leads with flavors like vanilla, butterscotch, or marzipan. I love to enjoy this cocktail with the buttery fruit and nut flavor of the Jasper Hill Alpha Tolman. Try this Alpine cheese with a slice of white peach, a slice or two of pink radish, and a salted pecan. The explosion of flavors in your mouth will leave you wanting more! Much, much more.
Harry & David Pear Ginger Mojito
- ½ Harry & David® Royal Verano Pears (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 2 teaspoons pear simple syrup
- 1 cup ginger beer
- 4 ounces pear-flavored vodka
- lime juice (one wedge squeezed)
- fresh mint leaves
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the pear slices with the pear simple syrup.
- Squeeze one lime wedge and add fresh mint, muddle together.
- Add ginger beer and vodka and give it a shake.
- Pour it into a cocktail glass over ice and add a pear wedge to garnish.
White Peach Mint Julep
- ½ white peach (peeled, pitted, and diced)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 7 sprigs fresh mint plus additional for garnishing
- 2 ½ ounces bourbon whiskey
- 1 ounce peach liqueur
- In a cocktail shaker, add the diced peach, sugar, and mint sprigs. Muddle until fragrant.
- Add the bourbon and peach liqueur. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well.
- Strain into a glass and garnish with mint.