ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Thanks to Instagram, a boring plate of cheese and crackers just doesn’t cut it anymore. NEWS10’s Mary Wilson got a preview of a fun and tasty St. Patrick’s Day activity that benefits a great cause.
The “Shamrocks and Charcuterie” virtual class, which takes place at 7 p.m. on March 17, benefitting the Special Olympics, will turn your kitchen into a classroom and teach you how to elevate your spread with some fancy techniques.
Nedine Yagan, owner of Grate Expectations, is the appetizer entrepreneur behind charcuterie boards that are as beautiful as they are mouthwatering.
“And that’s G-R-A-T-E, like grating cheese,” she said.
Nedine paid a visit to Mary’s kitchen (via Zoom) to help her create the ultimate graze board, ahead of the virtual class she’s offering.
“I like to call them a build your own adventure board because you can really be as creative as you want with them and tailor them to your taste,” she said.
She’s getting an assist from Special Olympics athlete Jude Killar, who says his favorite sport is basketball.
We start with the centerpiece of the board–a wheel of brie cheese. Slice down the middle, cut out a shamrock shape in one half, then stack it on top of the other. Now pour the honey into the shamrock, creating a delicious combination of sweet and savory.
Nedine says the goal is to include a variety of colors, dimensions, and textures—soft cheeses and hard. Instead of uniform slices of cheddar, we use a knife to chisel off chunks.
And there are some tricks to take your board to the next level, like the salami rose.
Fold one piece of salami in half, then take the second and place it halfway through the first. Continue until you have a row of seven or eight, then roll it up to reveal your rose!
Kiwi stars can be a wow-worthy addition to any board.
“Make a V-cut, so a downward diagonal. Cut one direction and you’ll go back to that starting point and make a downward diagonal cut in the opposite direction. You’re going to want to cut halfway through the kiwi so when you’re all done you should be able to pull it apart,” said Nedine.
Sticking with the green theme, grapes fill up a lot of space. You want your board brimming.
“You’ll take your berries and fill in wherever you see any empty space,” she said.
By the end of the class, everyone’s creations will come out differently, but all of them will help athletes like Jude pursue their dreams of competing in the Special Olympics.
“It’s just been a great journey to meet friends and it’s been a great opportunity for me,” said Jude.
The class is Wednesday (St. Patrick’s Day) at 7 p.m. Cost is $35, not including the ingredients. You’ll get a shopping list when you sign up.