When it comes to entertaining, let’s face it, you can’t go wrong with a gorgeous cheese and charcuterie board. It’s the perfect finger food for nibbling while conversing. Cheesemonger Brenton Vasconcellos, who runs the helm at 5 Walnut Cheese Shop in Asheville, knows a thing or two about preparing an appetizing spread. He likes to mix international cured meats and cheeses with local varieties, and introduce customers to new styles and flavors they may never have heard of. Building your own board can be like composing a work of art, but for busy party hosts, it’s nice to have experts like Vasconcellos craft it for you. Take inspiration from his spread here, and place your holiday party orders early at specialty shops across the region.
5 Walnut Cheese Bar
Choose from local and imported cheeses and meats, plus artisan breads, nuts, jams, mustards, and pickles. Boards start at $25.
5 Walnut St., Asheville; (828) 253-2593; www.5walnut.com
Erick’s Cheese & Wine
Choose from more than 100 imported and domestic cheeses at this specialty shop that can also supply you with perfectly paired wines for the party. Boards start at $25.
4004 NC 105 S., Banner Elk, (828) 898-9424, www.erickscheeseandwine.com
Mountain Fresh Grocery
The team at Mountain Fresh can build a customizable board of fine cheese, meats, and artisan extras like dried fruit or compote, nuts, peppadews, and pickled bites. Platters serving 12 to 16 start at $89. 521 E. Main St., Highlands; (828) 526-2400; www.mfgro.com
Customizable boards of meats and all local cheese, plus house preserves, pickles, nuts, and crackers start at $25.
10 S. Lexington Ave., Asheville; (828) 785-1799; www.the-rhu.com