A Spanish influenced cutting board must have jamón Serrano at its center piece. It’s like prosciutto, but a lot less salted in its curing process. We also like to have lomo and chorizo (all pork products) on our board. Manchego is a must as one of Spain’s most popular cheeses, but there are other cheeses from Spain that are readily available to you like Mahon. Drizzle some honey over the cheese the way they do in Madrid. Slice up some pan rustica (rustic bread) like pan de cea or barra Galega and add some black grapes and maybe some Spanish olives. Now, you’re all set to taste the flavors of Spain. We complement our Spanish board with a white wine sangria. Before you purists write me, white wine sangria is often served in Spain as a lighter alternative to traditional red. The good news for us, we can use a bottle of our favorite white wine (I use moscato) and accompamy it with local citrus fruits and berries. I use peach slices, orange slices, sliced granny smith apples, quartered strawberries, and a can of club soda for sparkle. Steer clear of dessert wines as the fruit will make it too sweet. Don’t forget the Spanish music, and I guarantee you will have a great party, even just for two!
What’s more romantic than sharing some light nibbles with Champagne underneath the French skies? Really not much, but the good news is you can recreate the experience at home. We had an amazing time in Paris, Bordeaux, Champagne, and Nice. Although I have to agree, Champagne tastes better in Champagne, France, and the culinary delights in this country are among the best I have ever had. We were served on beautiful little trays or cutting boards with great free-form shapes. We love the cured French ham, jambon de Bayonne, with its herbal and delicate flavor. Now, I know what you’re going to say. Yes, Bayonne is the town I was born in, but that’s Bayonne, New Jersey and not the reason why I love jambon de Bayonne! It is definitely the centerpiece of our French cutting board. I like to use a soft Brie, but there are other French cheeses you may use. Sometimes I’ll serve a Langres (a cow’s milk cheese), or a Roquefort (a blue cheese from sheep’s milk) for my French board. Of course, you must use a French baguette, sliced thin and ready to go. Add some green grapes, honey, and some spring carrots. Buy and chill the best Champagne you can afford, and keep it simple and delicious.