The very last day of high school, as a senior, is May 9th – a fast-approaching date. This school year went by in a flash, with cheese taking up such a large portion of that time. In a way, writing about cheese made it all too real that life happens in the blink of an eye. I’ve poured the time and skills into arranging boards each month, with a cheese spotlight in the middle. This will be the last monthly charcuterie board so I was sure to follow through with a fitting theme.
Being the last board and all, it was a bittersweet one to make in both senses. In the literal sense of the bitterness, the board begins with a bold 70% dark chocolate. Beside it is a different variation of the dark chocolate, this one with an orange accent. The orange chocolate had a surprising citrus zing to it. Flavored chocolate when paired with swiss was a sweet and nutty combination. Sliced ever so finely, I piled small swiss cubes on the edge of the board. A plain cheese like swiss adds a faint taste, ensuring not all flavors on the board are overpowering.
The other two white blocks are quite different but looked too similar to those tasting this board. The very outer and final ring of chocolate ended with a false note. White chocolate isn’t classified as real chocolate but has similar qualities and even a similar name. The reason for it being added to the board was not to arouse confusion, though it accomplished that quite well. While observing those tasting cheese and snacks from the arrangement, the confusion was clear, as people began to have a surprised look on their faces. A mistake was made in the place where white chocolate was laid. Tasters began to pair blocks of solid chocolate with crackers and ham, a simple mistake. Biting into the block, people got a bite of something they hadn’t been expecting.
Sharp spikes of triangular cheese were the culprit of the confusion. Near the end of the white chocolate arch runs an intricate pattern of Sharp Five-Year-Aged White Cheddar. This is what people thought was being combined with crackers and such, yet both chunks couldn’t be more different. The sharp cheddar is a deliciously rich cheddar that both crumbles and melts in the mouth. Slicing down the board flowed a river of buttery crackers. They snaked across the board and were surrounded by fresh, sliced strawberries. Before moving on to the green eye-catcher, for the choice of meat I had to add something sweet. Cherry pepper ham has a sweet flavor and classic chewy ham texture. Perfect for a board of both basic and sharp cheese. And Finally, the ring of green Granny Smith apples laid sliced up to surround a cup of dipping caramel. The sweetest end to the final board.
The end of cheese is nigh for the Hawk Herald. As nobody has the experience or drive to pursue cheese mongering, there’s nobody to uphold the monthly boards. It’s been a joy getting to create, present, and write about making art out of food. I’ve improved since my first couple of arrangements but know there is much more to develop. Still, it’s been a wonderful skill and hobby to share with anyone willing to read. But don’t fret, there’s still one more cheese-based article to go before the delicious dairy form becomes a basic block on the shelf. As a final note, I encourage anyone reading to branch out of their comfort zone, to try something new and quite possibly scary. It could become a sporadic yet enjoyable endeavor: whether it’s a food column, a unique form of art, creations to share with others, or maybe a bit of all three.
Beautiful! Thank you for all your great reporting this year, Hope!