The Art of Charcuterie

Grazing in the Summer

Story and photo by Nichole A. Cavallaro 

For this month’s Fashion Forward, we’ve decided to look at the art of charcuterie. Lifestyle blogger Nichole A. Cavallaro shows us how.

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, meals tend to be lighter and more fresh. I must confess I’m a fan of snacking and grazing. I like to graze in the mid-afternoon, on weekends, and at get-togethers. I even graze after Thanksgiving dinner. (Who doesn’t graze after an early 2 p.m. dinner?)

Grazing is a perfectly healthy habit. If cows in the pasture and toddlers can do it, why can’t I? I’m the one with the busy life! So, in honor of being busy and still providing snacks for everyone else, I present you with an elevated snacking option. No more settling for the Cheez-Its and Goldfish.

Enter my modified version of a charcuterie board. It’s the horn of plenty, sans the horn. Instead of smoked and cured meats and pâté, I’ve included family-friendly options, as well as a few grown-up ones. I certainly can’t snack on delicate and rich meats, as I need to stay awake all day and don’t want to fill up on sodium. Plus, there are young people who’d want in on the fun, too. Nonetheless, I’m a sucker for all kinds of cheese and a variety of fruits.

With this colorful and inexpensive modality of snacking, it’s also beautiful to look at in its bountiful glory, and even better when you have leftovers to pack away for the next day.

For this compilation of good food, I’ve chosen the following cheeses: bleu, gouda, sharp cheddar, Havarti and brie. The cheddar is kid-friendly, of course. I’ve included the following seasonal or dried fruits: cherries, dried apricots, dried figs, raspberries and strawberries. All fruits are kid-friendly, too, with the exception of the cherries, as they have pits. I’ve also included Kalamata olives, bleu-cheese-stuffed green olives, jalapeno- and garlic-baked cashews, red cherry tomatoes, butter crackers, pre-sliced salami, pepperoni and imported strawberry preserves. I bet I could have added some French bread in there, as well!

To sip while I snack, I prefer a sweet rosé, a variety of different moscato, or possibly a riesling or light and fruity white. While I’m not as much a fan of red, I’m sure they’d work, but not as well as the sweet wines, in my opinion.

The thing I like about grazing is it’s a controlled and consistent option. It’s not too much, nor is it barely scratching my appetite’s surface. Not only do I feel healthier and less indulgent as I would consuming say, a huge hot fudge sundae, but if it’s laid out neatly and beautifully for me to dig into, I feel that much more eager! A pretty spread is like a work of art just waiting to be enjoyed.

Here’s to sunny weekends, delicious grazing and responsible sipping! SWM

Nichole A. Cavallaro is a Syracuse-based fashion blogger. Read more of her work at