Did I expect anything less?
He proceeded to explain, in delicious detail, how he prepares food throughout the entire day for his family. It looks a little something like this:
Cheese and charcuterie board with Prosecco – “I have to put snacks together to keep everyone from just diving into the food as I’m cooking it.”
Grilled shrimp and lamb chops (around 120 chops).
A little break.
Soup – usually Italian Wedding Soup.
“A couple-a salads” – Caesar and spring mix with dried cranberries and crumbled goat cheese.
A pasta course which elicits a yearly battle over baked pasta vs. ravioli, but always includes Emilio’s wife’s homemade gravy made with meatballs, sausages, pepperoni, bresaola and pork.
Ham and sliced beef filet served with roasted potatoes and carrots and raw sliced fennel to be dipped in Olio Novello.
Pies, cakes, sfogliatelle and cannoli. “You gotta have cannoli! We eat lots of cannoli.”
I had just one question when he was finally finished, “Can I come over?!”
OK, we can’t all go to Emilio’s house for Christmas, but we can make this cheese and charcuterie board to keep our hungry families at bay. According to Emilio you’ve always got to cover the cheese basics; soft, medium, hard and blue. Then you can add special seasonal cheeses like Gruyere Alpage, Rush Creek Reserve, Rogue River Blue or Doe Run Holly. That’s a whole lotta of cheese! So here are five classic pairings that Emilio always serves along with some seasonal treats.
Grande Mandarini Provolone and Di Bruno Bros. Pepperoni
Sharp and spicy! A pairing for any occasion.
Pecorino Mascio and Cacciatorini al Diavolo
This sheep milk cheese is nutty and herbaceous pairing beautifully with the spicy Cacciaotorini.
A fresh chèvre and Di Bruno Bros. Strawberry Prosecco Jam
A creamy tangy bite balanced by the subtly sweet jam.
Olio Novello, Balsamic Vinegar and Lost Bread Focaccia
This is the first press of the season’s olive harvest yielding flavors both fruity and spicy.
Calabrian Hand-rolled Fig Ball
Sweet, decadent with notes of caramel, these preserved figs are a southern Italian tradition.
Christmas spices are infused throughout this dense fruit and nut cake.
I finished off the board with super sweet satsumas for some seasonal flair. Persimmons and pomegranates can also contribute bright winter flavors and a pop of color.
Open a bottle of Prosecco and let the festivities begin!