This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Shaw’s Supermarket. All opinions, images, and content are my own.
I love to serve a giant, overflowing, themed grazing board when I entertain friends and family. But these days, “entertaining” obviously looks quite different. If we have gathered at all in the past few months, it’s been in very small groups with lots of considerations for safety and social distancing. I’m always up for the challenge of getting creative with gatherings though, no matter how small or different they may be from what we’re accustomed to. My friends at Shaw’s Supermarkets shared some of their exclusive Open Nature® line with me, and it felt like the perfect opportunity to rethink my large-scale grazing boards for our new normal.You heard it here first guys – micro cheese plates are the new grazing board. You can quote me on that! I adapted this idea from a social-distancing picnic I had with my girlfriends earlier in the summer. Everyone got their own brown paper bag filled up with all of the ingredients for a personal-sized cheese tasting. We each grabbed our bags and headed to our own picnic blankets and lawn chairs and caught up over savory snacks at a safe distance. It was a perfect way to avoid digging into the same plates and ingredients, while still finding a way to enjoy the things we love the most about gatherings: the company and the food!I started with a few of my favorite vintage salad plates and started to build out some mini cheese plates using some tasty ingredients from Shaw’s Open Nature line. Open Nature® is Shaw’s exclusive line of high-quality, minimally processed products made without any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Quality products, made from natural ingredients that taste awesome — what’s better than that?I’m always on the hunt for beautiful looking crackers for my cheeseboards and used a variety on these little plates including the Open Nature Sesame Flat Bread Crackers, Open Nature Pita Crackers and Open Nature Cheddar Cheese Crisps. I always look for different shapes, textures, and flavors to give the board visual variety and let guests mix and match combinations. I love a longer textured option like the flat bread crackers, and the cheddar cheese crisps made for a tasty gluten free option!After adding 2-3 of each cracker variety to the plate, I alternated in a few different types of cheeses from Shaw’s specialty cheese selection. The idea of these small plates is that you can grab little bites of each element, so I like to pre-slice the cheeses and divide them up on each plate. Then I added in some Open Nature Marcona Almonds for a bit of a salty snack, and sweet slices of apples and fresh figs from Shaw’s produce aisle. That balance of savory and sweet is the best part of a cheese plate in my opinion! Another way to get that sweet and savory balance is by adding in salty charcuterie like Open Nature Salami or Prosciutto slices with a sweet drizzle of honey or jam. Play with the ingredients you and your family like the best, and scale everything down to bite sized tastes on these perfectly portioned individual plates.
I shop for Open Nature at Shaw’s in the Boston area, and you can find them exclusively at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, , Star Market, United Supermarkets and Carrs/Safeway. Visit shaws.com to find a store near you.