Grazing Boards (and wine)

During our imposed pandemic isolation, we watched a lot of movies and ate in.   One of the easiest and most delicious things to throw together with supplies from the fridge and pantry was a grazing board.  (I was made aware of these during a Virtual Yelp Event…I participated in a lot of those too during the past eighteen months.)

I also drank a lot of wine.

I’m pulling movie watching, grazing and wine all together today for May’s Food ‘n Flix post.  I’m hosting for May and chose Bottle Shock, a 2008 based-on-a-true story film.   It tells the David and Goliath tale of the fledgling California wine industry circa 1976.   An entrepreneurial British wine snob (Alan Rickman) wants to create a blind tasting between French wines and these brash young Yankees, thus the “Judgement of Paris” takes place and puts Napa on the map. You can read the announcement post here.

I was amazed that it was Spurrier’s character (the wine snob mentioned above) that gave the California wineries the idea that people would (and should) pay for wine tastings.

There was a lot of wine (obviously), some food references, but there wasn’t a lot of food shown on the screen.  (You can see my list at the bottom.)  I can’t wait to see what the rest of the FnF members came up with.

What follows is not a recipe but more of a guideline.   

How to Build a Grazing Board


For a fancy board for guests, I use these recommendations. For just us, I pull from the pantry and fridge.  You also want to consider the 3 Cs:  cheese, charcuterie, and crunch.  (And maybe add CHOCOLATE!)


  • soft cheese (Brie, goat cheese, even a cheese ball)
  • hard aged cheese (like an aged gouda)
  • a pungent cheese (like gorgonzola)
  • whatever cheese is your favorite
  • a good cow’s milk cheese like Manchego (or substitute a cashew cheese for vegan options)
  • 2-3 different cured meats
  • pickle or fermented elements
  • fresh fruit  (grapes, berries, pears, apples—think about the textures)
  • dried fruit (apricots, figs, raisins, craisins)  I used dried mandarins above.
  • nuts
  • honey, jam, or jelly
  • chocolate
  • crackers, pita bits, toasted baguette slices


  • Use 3-4 pieces of cheese per person and then build around that.  (The cheeses tend to take up the most space.)  Don’t make your guests work for their cheese—slice, cube, crumble and provide a cheese knife
  • Use 2 oz. of meat per person.  Fold meats and arrange in “rivers” or make some salami roses.
  • Decorate with  fresh berries (even pom arils) and herbs.
  • Add seasonal or holiday touches as appropriate.  Consider gingersnaps for the winter holidays or conversation hearts for Valentine’s day.
  • Place similarly colored items around the board, not side by side.

Use whatever is on hand.  Here’s some of what I found in our pantry and fridge:

That’s a jar of pickled green cherry tomatoes in the background.

I love a bit of sour on the board, too.

Along with some crunch from pistachios and apples.

Our favorite cheese of the moment is Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar ($3.99).


I like chardonnays with my grazing boards.   And, for this post my intent was to do my own blind tasting.   Since Chateau Montelena was the featured winery from the film, I purchased one of their 2018 chardonnays (which was a bit pricey for us), a Stag’s Leap 2018 chardonnay (because 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon won the red category) and Trader Joe’s “Two-Buck Chuck.”

Notice, I said my intent was….

I’ve been a bit out of sorts and discombobulated recently.   First of all, we lost our beloved pet; secondly it’s Memorial Day weekend; and thirdly, I have a mass of relatives converging next week.   Unfortunately the wine tasting will have to wait for another post.   (I feel totally inadequate as the host this month.)

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the film:

“Rodin used bronze…Debussy, the piano…Baudelaire, language…so Henri Jayer and Philippe de Rothschild used the grape.

Great wine is great art, my friend.”


“You have to grow up with the soil underneath your nails…and the smell of the grape in the air that you breathe.  The cultivation of the vine is an art form.  The refinement of its juice is a religion…that requires pain…and desire and sacrifice.”  


Even though Bo (Chris Pine) and his hair drove me nuts throughout the film, I loved watching his character’s transformation from the cellar rat whose life’s ambition is to see The Dead at the Cow Palace to the champion and representative for California wineries at the “judgement.”  

Here’s some of the wine (and their was a lot), the food (barely any) and food references from the film:

  • “I detect bacon fat…laced… with honey melon.”
  • Beers and peanuts at Joe’s bar
  • 1971 Ridge Cabernet
  • 1962 Buena Vista Pinot Noir
  • 1947 Cheval Blanc (the one that almost “stumped” Gustavo)
  • Bloody Marys, martinis and a sandwich at the Country Club
  • A “dynamite” Sauvignon (made by a woman)
  • Vittel bottled water, water biscuits or a French roll
  • Burgers, looks like a roasted chicken (lunch break as the workers watch Sam wash out the thrashers)
  • Portuguese sardines…and crackers (when Sam tastes Gustavo’s wine)
  • KFC
  • Guacamole served to Steven (probably something else he’s never tried, along with the California wine)
  • sweet nectar of the Napa Valley
  • Bâtard-Montrachet and a Chambertin (from Steven’s cellar)
  • Vodka (to drown sorrows after the 500 bottles were thought destroyed)
  • Other wines in the competition:  Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault Charmes, Chalone Vineyards.  1973 Château Montelena Chardonnay (the chardonnay winner)
  • Wine, wine, wine, Elderberry
  • Wine, wine, wine, or Sherry
  • Wine, wine, wine, Blackberry
  • Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee Song 

If you have not seen Bottle Shock, I encourage you to do so.  It would make great holiday weekend viewing.   (You also have exactly three more days to create a post and join us.)   And, if you have not seen Harvest Season, you should.  It’s a great supplemental documentary to Bottle Shock.  (The real Gustavo is featured.) It’s a wonderful film!

The June Food ‘n Flix feature is  The Pickle Recipe hosted at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  Look for an announcement post soon on Cam’s site.



14 comments to Grazing Boards (and wine)

  • That grazing board is just too dangerous for me, someone who has no self-control in front of cheese and all the crunchies.

    • Control is always an issue here, too. 🙂 I know it’s just a glorified charcuterie/cheese board, but I do love building them, especially during the holiday season.

  • Just breathe Debra….and when the guests converge, open the wine, build the grazing board and toast Eliot with those who loved him. Hugs to you.

  • Love this post. You know, I started watching the movie a couple of weeks ago, and never finished it. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t get into it. I tried!

  • We had some of the same thoughts, but this girl loved the 70s hair. Brought me straight back to HS. 🙂 I have a post for your here: I didn’t know if there was a round up or not.

  • I enjoyed that movie very much. It;s a great story and I loved Alan Rickman in this. I hope things slow down and remember, as Wendy said, just breathe. Your grazing board looks phenomenal.

    We drank a toast to Eliot the same night I read about your loss. xo

  • What the perfect treat for watching this movie. Love grazing boards, but I do tend to graze way too much, or maybe just drink too much wine. but then does it matter. 🙂

  • I’m with Wendy. This looks like the perfect way to feed a bunch of guests, Debra. Add some of Eliot’s favorite treats just for fun and see who eats one. Should be good for a small laugh when you are feeling down.

  • i remember being out somewhere at a friend’s place, and there was prosciutto or serrano ham or similar on the cheese board. and i think i ate it all!!! (P.S. fyi – For some reason I’m getting double the post emails from you so i will unsubscribe then subscribe again. hopefully that will sort it.)

  • mae

    That sounds so good I think I’ll go make dinner. We are having cheese, but maybe not in that form.

    best… mae at

  • Haven’t seen the movie, but I’d like to. But what I’d really like is to munch on a grazing board while doing so! Yours looks perfect — thanks!

  • Pam

    Haven’t heard of this film, but love Alan Rickman so will check it out. Mercy, I’d definitely go overboard with the grazing board. Clever name for it and I’d have no control on grazing all of those goodies. Great! Thanks! Have a great time with your family!

  • […] I threw together a Grazing Board that works with whatever wine you have on […]

  • Liz

    I really liked that movie, it was great fun. Your boards are lovely but I share what many commenters have said…they challenge self control. I usually feel awful after making them dinner, along with lots of wine.

    I am so sorry about the loss of your companion. Their lives are too short.