Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The mornings and nights have that crisp chill in the air, the leaves start to put on a gorgeous show and mulled wine makes its long awaited appearance! The change of seasons are a perfect time to get a group together. As most of you know, my go to entertaining dish is an amazing antipasti spread and the inspiration behind our Salumeria Bar at our new location Vintner’s Table, coming soon! Right now, grazing boards are a huge trend and are easy to put together, yet make a show stopping display. Read on to find out how to make one and what wines I recommend serving this season!
A feast not only for the stomach but also for the eyes, grazing boards are gaining popularity. What’s so great about them is you can also tailor it to whatever theme you’re looking to achieve, i.e. summer seafood inspired, Valentine’s Day, brunch etc.
STEP ONE: Choose your boards
First choose your serving boards. A mixture of different kinds or one large one like we’ve used above (we have many options available in our gift shop!) are all good options. It can be wood, marble, granite, metal, slate, ceramic anything that is food safe and will show off the colors in the foods you’re using. A fun addition to my table, I used small wood paddle boards as plates for my setting so guests can assemble their own mini boards from the main grazing board. I also filled small wood bowls with crackers and nuts as a starter at each setting. Little bowls, spreaders, and tongs are needed to assemble your board as well. Serving vessels will also add height and visual appeal.
STEP TWO: Meats & Cheeses
If you’re going for a vegetarian or vegan theme, skip this step. You can either cut everything up or leave it whole, but I like to do a mixture of both. Always take your cheeses out of the refrigerator at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours before your guests arrive. Meat should be 15-20 minutes before. When choosing cheeses, it’s best to serve a mixture of hard, semi soft and soft. I included a cranberry fig goat cheese and pumpkin cheese as Fall was obviously the inspiration behind my board.
STEP THREE: Accompaniments
Guests need something to spread the soft cheeses and jellies on, so you’ll want to provide some soft breads, crostinis, crackers, etc. Pickled and marinated foods act as palate cleansers between bites and can heighten the flavor of some foods. Olives, marinated mushrooms, caper berries, and pickled vegetables like the ones we sell in our Tasting Room from Tillen Farms are all great options. You can also add in-season raw vegetables and fruits and dried fruits. Spreads and condiments are the next thing you’ll want to add. We have an amazing selection in our Tasting Room from Stonewall Kitchen and a new company for us, Girl Eats Dirt. I loved the Italian Plum cutting preserves for my Fall board. We also have honey by Savannah Bee that’s made specifically for cheese. Salty and sweet nuts like the candied pecans and sunflower seeds I’ve included are also a necessity for a good grazing board.
STEP FOUR: Garnish
Next, you’ll want to make your board pretty. Fresh flowers, whole fruits and vegetables and fresh herbs are all perfect finish touches to finalize your grazing board. I love flowers and included lots of fall blooms, like dried sunflowers, coneflowers and sedum. I also added mini pumkins and gourds.
Your guests will always appreciate something sweet and one of my favorite easy desserts to make is a fruit crostata, a dessert my mom taught me. You can get extra points for making your own crust, but I am a cheater and always just use pre-made pie dough. Don’t judge. I made a delicious Red Plum & Concord Grape Crostata that’s so good, no one will ever notice the crust isn’t homemade!
What’s a grazing board without a great glass of wine? I’m so excited to have our Black Label Collection available for this Fall as the wines in this collection go so well with the bold flavors of Autumn.
Our Pinot Noir is another one of my fall favorites. It’s a great transitional wine from summer whites and rosés (although I will drink rosé year round) and the essences of cranberry are ideal for the season.
While the wines I mentioned above are all great options, our Mulled Wine has to be my top pick for Fall. The orange and cinnamon flavors mixed with cloves and other spices smells like Fall. While you can make it with a variety of red wines (or even white, stay tuned for our Christmas Entertaining post!) we like to use our Chambourcin. We also sell jars of the mulling spices we use to make our signature Mulled Wine so you can make it at home easily.
I hope you enjoyed my Fall Entertaining post and I look forward to seeing you at Folino Estate this season! We’re excited to be hosting our first Thanksgiving Feast this year! Check out more images from our shoot below.