’Tis the season of festive gatherings. So with entertaining in mind, our undercover tester surveyed the local terroir to find charcuterie spreads that would please even the most cultured caseophile. With $100 in hand, we compared ingredients, quality, quantity, and service to cull out the best board for your buck.
On the Tray: Molinari Finchio pork from San Francisco, Italian prosciutto, pistachio pâté from Olympia Provisions in Oregon, and five different artisanal cheeses.
Verdict: This is hands down the most adventurous board of them all. A bevy of exotic meats, cheeses, cornichons, dried fruit, and baguette slices is impressive enough to wow guests with the most distinguished palates. Bonus: The shop’s original board packaging is made of wood, so if you’re averse to plastic, you won’t need to replate. Also, the assortment is labeled with stickers that give the name of each item and its origin. It’s a nice touch for those who enjoy learning about what they’re munching on.
On the Tray: Sour cherry jam, Reypenaer cheese, Dulce de Pommaro, coppa, Abbaye de Belloc sheep’s milk cheese, olives, nuts, and dried fruit.
Verdict: This well-known cheese shop, located in Highland Park Village, builds a customizable party platter overflowing with a crowd-pleasing selection of cheeses and cured meats. Dried fruits, nuts, olives, and a ramekin of sour cherry jam provide a lively burst of color and flavor. While less exotic than some of the others, this one is sure to please. If you ask, they will label the plastic wrap covering the tray with the names of each meat and cheese. The platter also comes with an entire loaf of bread on the side.
On the Tray: Beecher’s truckle, organic Parmesan Romano, Suigi Guffanti DOP Gorgonzola, house-cured beef bacon, parma-style prosciutto, and Molinari salametti.
Verdict: This Italian marketplace, inspired by the Mercati di Piazzas in Italy, prides itself on providing a fresh selection of specialty foods. Their packaging, a round tray, is heaping with a robust offering of meats and cheeses and makes for a handsome centerpiece at any holiday table. Rich cheeses, hardy meats, and a generous portion of olives make this one of the best options for those sating a gathering of famished guests. The platter comes with two boxes of water crackers on the side.
On the Tray: Speck from Italy, strawberry fig chutney, Mayhaw pepper chutney, spicy Calabrese salami, Amalthea, Piave cheese, aged Red Leicester, and port and fig press.
Verdict: This cozy cheese shop on West Davis Street opened earlier this year and already boasts one of the best cheese and charcuterie boards in Dallas. The shop’s “gourmet board” is a cornucopia of autumn colors and flavors, artfully ornamented with a playful selection of domestic and imported cheeses, cured meats, chutneys, seasonal fruit, and a selection of bread and crackers.
On the Tray: Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, English blue cheese, triple-crème Brie, Italian provolone, goat cheese, and assorted fruit.
Verdict: The plump grapes and scattering of berries are a welcome touch to this otherwise ordinary Artisan Cheese Sampler. The large bricks and hunks of cheese, while delicious, took more work to break down into edible portions than the other boards we tested. The cracker basket is a nice touch. However, at $9 you’re better off grabbing a box (or two) of your favorites while inside the grocery store.