Holiday meals at my house are hectic enough so I always kick things off with a care-free charcuterie board. It’s really the perfect dish for entertaining because I don’t have to cook it, it looks impressive, there’s something for everyone (even the picky Pollys) and it keeps mouths and bellies happy while I fuss over the main meal. But let’s be honest- most typical party platters aren’t much better for you than the mini sausage rolls and fried shrimp- they’re often loaded with saturated fat and refined carbs from all the rich cheeses, fatty meats, and buttery crackers. So this holiday season, why not let McEwan help you build a better board with an assortment of lighter, more elegant bites.
The key is to choose an assortment of big bold flavours so that a little bit goes a long way- no processed diet food, no deprivation, and no Debbie Downers. Need proof? Check out the top ten delicious and balanced items you’ll be seeing on my cocktail spread this season.
Niagara Berkshire Prosciutto- Skip the well marbled salumi and go for prosciutto which is one of the leanest yet tastiest charcuterie options at the deli.
Fresh figs – Jammy and sweet, ripe figs are irresistible with salty prosciutto or cheese.
McEwan Spanish Marcona Almonds- Packed with protein, fibre and good-for-you fats, a small handful of these will keep the hunger monster at bay.
Mary’s Organic Crackers- Forgo the carb overload of the bread basket and opt for these whole grain gluten free crackers instead that deliver tons of flavour and great crunch in their petite size.
Pastrami Smoked Atlantic Salmon- Loaded with protein and healthy omega-3 fats, pescaterians and meat lovers alike will swoon over this pastrami-inspired smoked fish.
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co’s Bagel Chevre (Garlic & Chive)- Made simply with just some hormone and antibiotic free goats milk, bacterial culture, rennet and salt- this is a far more nutritious alternative to cream cheese.
McEwan Olive Trio- Olives are packed with heart-healthy fats and a ton of bold flavour so you only need a few to get your briny fix.
McEwan Pickled Beans- Virtually calorie free with a good bite of heat, these snappy beans are more addictive than chips.
McEwan Spiced Orange Marmalade- Try this bitter-sweet preserve on your cheese and crackers for the spicy sweet flavour of the holidays.
Beemster Slimkaas Matured Cheese- Skip the processed “low fat” cheese, and opt for a naturally lower fat offering like this Slimkaas which has 33% less fat than most regular Gouda cheeses.
To pick up my ten tasty essentials and everything else you need to pull off a healthy and delicious holiday meal, visit McEwan Foods at Shops at Don Mills.
ABBEY SHARP, RD
OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN