I was in Trader Joe’s the other day when I was inspired to create a Valentine’s Day cheese board. The thing that made me think of it were 2 incredible cheeses that I ran across. They were giving out samples of bacon cheddar, and it was as good as you think combining bacon and cheddar would be. Then, as I was looking for the bacon cheddar cheese to buy some, I noticed they also carry chocolate cheddar. I thought that sounded interesting, and perfect for Valentine’s Day, which led me to the idea of using red fruits, and vegetables, as well as heart shaped crackers that I had recently seen at Sprouts. So this post is more about an idea, and some thoughts on putting a cheese board together than an actual recipe.
On one of Ina Garten’s shows she gave instructions on how to build a cheese platter that has helped me whenever I make one. She advised to start at the top left with something taller, next, in the middle of the plate place another item medium in heighth, and then something of lower height cascading forward in the lower right. It reminds me of a waterfall. Then using different shapes and textures and varieties of fruits, cheeses, meat, nuts, and vegetables, build from there. You can use a smaller board, and just a few items, or a larger board. It depends on how many people you are serving and what you have on hand. I think that is why I like making these. You get to be creative, and also use up whatever is in your refrigerator, as well as customizing the platter to your guests.
For this board, I used the cheeses mentioned previously in the top left, strawberries for the middle section, and heart crackers to cascade forward. Then I filled in the rest of the spaces with slices of red pear, whole pecans, raw almonds, summer sausage, and cherries. In the heart container is an olive and tomato tapenade from Costco. I found the heart dish at Target many years ago.
If you don’t have a heart container, use a white dish, and put something red in it. You might even add some red food coloring to a store bought dip. Some other things I thought about using were radishes with Ranch dressing dyed pink, red bell pepper, or Craisins. Or how about putting some dark chocolate hearts on the board, too. Actually, it might be fun to use candy conversation hearts. This was so easy to put together, and if you are having a get-together with family or friends or a romantic dinner at home with a loved one, it is a festive way to start the evening. When the kids were little, we used to have a family dinner for Valentine’s Day. It usually included pink mashed potatoes and Valentine shaped chocolate cake with pink frosting and lots of sprinkles, as well as anything we could cut into the shape of hearts. Those are great memories! Whether your Valentine’s Day includes pink potatoes or a fancy dinner, I hope you have a wonderful day whatever you do!