November 14, 2014

Holiday Entertaining with a Cheese Board – plus baked brie with apricot preserves recipe


Cheese. . . one of my favorite things! Whenever we gather with friends or family, one of my favorite things to bring (or to serve at my place) is a cheese platter. It’s always a hit.

The great thing about a cheese platter is you can change it up – every time – using whatever cheese is on sale at the time and serving it up with bread and apples.


Some of my favorite cheeses to pick up are:

Gouda – Creamy and mild this is a great cheese for those who don’t like strong flavors.

Blue cheese – A nice strong blue cheese pairs well with cranberries and bacon flavors.

Smoked cheddar – Cheddar takes on a whole new life when it’s smoked!

Boursin – This creamy cheese is so easy! You can buy it with various herbs and flavors. It spreads easily on bread or crackers. Beware – you can’t eat just one bite.

Beecher’s Flagship – Whenever possible, I like to find local cheese to have on my cheese board.

Fresh mozzarella – Pair with fresh basil and fresh tomato slices (drizzle with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt if you want to get fancy)

Cranberry Orange Cheese torte – Look for prepared packaged cheeses such as this cranberry orange cheese torte – to dress up your cheese board. This torte recommends freezing beforehand, for the best display.

Prosciutto panino – Take your cheese board up a big notch with fresh meats such as prosciutto. You can buy pre-made prosciutto cheese rolls or roll your own! You can also use toothpicks to skewer prosciutto with your favorite cheese – I like to skewer baby fresh mozzarellas, with cherry tomatoes, a sprig of basil and a piece of prosciutto!

Serve with thinly sliced french baguettes, crackers or apple slices! 

And if you’re 21 years or older – red wine is always a good match with your cheese board.  For an affordable priced red wine, I like 14 Hands Hot to Trot – usually $8.99 – $11.99 a bottle.


Here’s an example of fresh mozzarella slices, with fresh basil leaves and fresh (firm) tomatoes! You can jazz these up with a little balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. You can also toast these on top of bread slices – we’ve done that for dinner before!


One of the easiest (and more delicious) party dishes is baked brie with apricot preserves – it’s insanely easy to make and always one of the first things eaten at gatherings.  I like it because brie is a really affordable cheese – usually $3.99 – $4.99 for a large wedge.


Here’s how to make Baked Brie with Apricot Preserves:


Brie wedge
Double creme is my favorite – but they are all good.

Raw sliced almonds

Apricot preserves, 1 cup

Water crackers, apple slices, sliced bread



1.) Unwrap brie and put into a baking dish (leave the white, edible rind). Make sure the baking dish has edges, as the brie will spread when it melts.

2.) Top with apricot preserves

3.) Sprinkle a handful of sliced almonds on top
Ignore my photo – my sweet daughter was helping me and she went a little “nuts” with the almonds. Still tastes awesome but probably a little much. 🙂

4.) Cover with foil

5.) Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-14 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the preserves have started to crystalize.


Enjoy with slices of crusty french bread of baked apples.


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  1. Helen in Meridian says

    I love smoked gouda chunks dipped in warmed apple butter. Thank you Hickiory Farms 40 years ago.

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