• July 27, 2018

    Al Fresco Dining- A Design Roots Takeover


    There’s nothing more inviting than a relaxed evening under the stars and a great meal to pair with it. When I think of al fresco dining, a great cheese board is always the first thing that comes to mind. It’s easy to pull together, can feed the masses, and the possibilities are endless. Not to mention, you can have a lot of fun with presentation.  We’re throwing together some sort of “board” at least once a week at our house. They’re also a great way to get the entire family cooking… my kids love building our spread on board nights. 

    Just in time for the weekend, I’m sharing my tips on pulling off a fantastic board for your outdoor entertaining.


    1. Choose your serving base

    It doesn’t have to be a traditional board. Get creative! Baskets, trays, wooden boards, etc. can all be used for displaying the right charcuterie for your outdoor dining experience. We just got our hands on these cute flat baskets that are perfect for holding all the goods in one spot. They’re also easy to move from indoors to outdoors, which is a total win for this hostess. 

    2. Pick your cheeses

    I typically work in threes. A good rule of thumb is to choose one soft (think goat, brie, or port salut), one hard (manchego is my go-to), and another with a different shape, texture or color (like gouda, or havarti) Think of your audience too.  When I’m entertaining with kids, I will pick something mild and a for sure crowd pleaser (cheddar for the win). If I’m entertaining adults, then I will go a little more bold or try something new (hello stinky bleu!)

    3.  Add some layers

    This can be in the form of spreads, nuts, olives, etc. Try a roasted garlic bulb for a warm, delicious addition. You want people to be able to add to their cheese and cracker. Pairing certain cheeses with spreads elevates the flavor. You can’t go wrong with honey, fig jam, marcona almonds (they can be pricey- but SO worth it), grapes, or sliced apples. Be sure to provide a variety of sweet and salty options to satisfy any craving!

    4.  Fill in with crackers

    You’ll want a good mix of textures and flavors. Water crackers, toasted baguette, crunchy bread sticks (which are fun for shape), etc.

    5. Time for the finishing touches-garnish!

    This is such a simple, important piece, but often overlooked. It will make your board stand out against the rest; you’ll for sure wow your guests. Look to nature for this detail – herbs, flowers, branch clippings are the best. My signature addition is an aromatic rosemary branch. We have rosemary planted all over our yard, so I just clip a few branches to finish off the presentation!

     Voila! Time to share your creation with friends and family. Or make a board for one… we won’t judge if you don’t want to share! 

    Happy cheese boarding! 

    ~Heather @ Design Roots

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