July 25th marks one of our favorite days of the year - National Wine and Cheese Day! If you follow Lance on Instagram, you'd see his obsession with dairy's best offering. He's putting cheese on everything - and appreciating each and every variety. There isn't an After Hours event that doesn't feature one of his charcuterie boards - and with good reason: we're all crazy about his cheesy selections. It seems like every combination makes the perfect bite! So, he's sharing his basic "recipe" for putting together the ultimate cheese board so you too can celebrate National Wine and Cheese Day in Cape House fashion. So, without further ado, from Lance himself: START WITH three to five cheeses. I like to use a semi-firm to firm cheese, usually with a little kick. Try a gruyere or cheddar - or one of my favorites: chipotle gouda! I also add in a soft, spreadable cheese, like a brie - I'd suggest trying Sweet Grass Dairy's Green Hill with it's buttery flavor and creamy texture. A mild cheese is also a great addition, like Sweet Grass Dairy's Thomasville Tomme (are you sensing a theme here? I LOVE Sweet Grass Dairy... ask me about the time I went to cheese school there!) NEXT, add the meat. Now, there's some controversy about adding meat to your cheeseboard, but if you've seen how much I love bacon and the like, you know I have no qualms about adding a little protein to mine! Prosciutto is always delicious, as is a spicy soppressata, or my favorite spicy candied bacon (I'll save that recipe for another day!) NOW, it's about balancing the rich flavors of each cheese and meat with accoutrements. I love marinated olives, peppers, or artichoke hearts for the briny, salty notes they add to your board. I'll include grapes, strawberries, or thinly-sliced apples or pears for a sweet or tart note to balance a creamy, rich soft cheese. A drizzle of honey or olive oil - or my current favorite from the store: Gullah Gourmet's raspberry mustard dip adds a sweet, tangy later of flavor to any of your cheese choices. Don't forget the bread and/or crackers (who are we kidding, I always include both)! DON'T FORGET to make it all look good. I take the time to roll up slices of meat, find the perfect cheese board and knives, and always garnish with a bit of green - like a few sprigs of rosemary, which really take the board to the next level. AND FINALLY, THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: create the perfect bite! Think about balancing all the flavors you've just built on your board. Start with a garlic thyme cracker, add a touch of Sweet Grass Green Hill, a small bit of prosciutto, and a drizzle of that raspberry mustard dip. Wash it down with your favorite vino, and you're in business! And everyone knows, wine and cheese are best enjoyed with those you love - so, follow these steps, and never cheese alone!