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White Wine Cheese Board

A summery spread perfect for picnics, entertaining, or everyday snacking.

In this cheese board from Kate Leahy’s new book Wine Style, apple-ginger preserves and oven-roasted grapes create a beautiful spread for pairing with wine. In the book, she suggests assembling an assortment that “highlights the cheese but also leaves room for toasted nuts, fresh and dried fruit, and a few other options to eat with whatever you’re drinking.” For the cheese, Leahy recommends aiming for about two ounces per person. “If you want to really get into a tasting of different wines with different cheeses, pick out a diverse selection—a sheep’s milk cheese, a goat’s milk cheese, and a cow’s milk cheese, for instance. Or just ask a good cheesemonger for her favorites and purchase those—it will be hard to go wrong. With that in mind, think of this as less of a recipe and more of a blueprint.”

Ingredients

  • 1 to 3 cheeses, ranging from creamy to firm, at room temperature
  • Apple-ginger preserves
  • Oven-roasted grapes
  • Fresh and/or dried fruit (such as apricots or figs)
  • Toasted nuts
  • Crackers or crusty bread for serving

Preparation

Arrange the cheeses on a board in such a way that it’s easy to cut into them. Place the apple-ginger preserves in a bowl with a spoon. Add the grapes, any other fruit, and nuts alongside to decorate the board, but make sure people aren’t shy about eating them. Offer crackers alongside the board or slice up some bread. For larger loaves of bread, halve or quarter the slices so no one’s holding a huge piece of bread. For sweet baguettes, let people tear off chunks if they’d like (sour baguettes have a harder crust, so it’s better to slice them). Lay the bread alongside the cheese board or place in a basket before serving.

Apple-Ginger Preserves
2 lbs. apples (about 5), cored and grated (about 5 cups grated apples)
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Have a heatproof 4-cup jar and lid ready. In a large bowl, mix together the apples, sugar, vinegar, ginger, and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer the apple mixture to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to medium- high and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the liquid has evaporated and the grated apple bits have softened, about 15 minutes. While stirring, use the spoon to press on the apples to break up the bits even more. Stir in the lemon juice. If you prefer a smoother preserve, mash the apples with a potato masher to help break up the grated apple bits. Transfer the preserves to the jar. Let sit, uncovered, at room temperature until cool, then screw on the lid. Label with the date and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Oven-Roasted Grapes
1 lb. red seedless grapes, washed and dried

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper or lightly oil it. Cut the grapes into smallish clusters but keep them on the stems. Put the grapes in a single layer on the prepared pan. Roast the grapes until they puff up a bit, with some juices caramelizing onto the parchment, about 30 minutes. Let cool on the pan and then serve at room temperature.

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