Whether you are menu planning for a Tu B’Shevat seder or trying to fit the 7 species under the sukkah, including all 7 species of Israel in a single menu can be a challenge. But now here is a way you can get all seven species not just in one meal, but in one course! Creating a wonderful, bountiful cheese plate with items cascading off of it is not just ritually beautiful, but yummy too!
Here is your seven species in nine easy steps!
If you don’t have a pretty platter that will host your cheese board, consider investing in a beautiful wood or marble tray. You will use it forever and having great serving pieces on hand always makes entertaining easier. Beautiful olive wood or marble trays will run you anywhere from $35-70 depending on their size.
Standing at the cheese counter can certainly give you a little sticker shock but great cheeses are worth it and really are only going to cost you a few dollars more (each). For a well rounded cheese board, aim to get one of each: hard, goat, moldy, herby. Finally, don’t be afraid to use the cheese expert on hand. In my experience, they can lead you to new cheeses you would never have tried before. The first time I talked to the cheese lady I just said, “I need to put together a cheese board” and she pretty much picked everything out for me.
Wheat is the first and easiest of species, since it is in just about every cracker. If you have a gluten free guest, don’t forget to get something for them too. Like with the cheeses, you’ll want a variety approach: something herby, plain, and sweet.
Barley is probably the toughest item to include in any seven species menu. For the cheeseboard, bake or buy a barley bread for a more substantial cheese base than a cracker.
I’m sure there is some refined system for selecting a wine for your cheeseboard and your local sommelier can educate you on what it is if you are interested. I just choose a “nice” red and white with a soda alternative for those that don’t imbibe.
Go to town at the olive counter and feel free to mix and match.
Dates are lovely with cheese just sliced but you can also bake a sweet bread that includes dates that can be eaten without the cheeses.
Just like dates, figs can be prepared by slicing but if they aren’t in season, opt for a fig compote or jam. You can find these usually near the cheese counter.
And finally, a sprinkling of pomegranates to remind us of the mitzvot. I’m not a big fan of eating pomegranate seeds so I would opt for adding pomeganates to a sangria.
Need even more ideas? Hop on over to my Tu B’Shevat Noshing Party Pinterest Board for more menu items that include the seven species of Israel.