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Charcuterie Is the Perfect Christmas Breakfast, Actually

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Christmas is a big food day. Cinnamon rolls for breakfast! Liqueur in your coffee! Champagne in your orange juice! Grand roasted meats with crispy potatoes! Gravy to your eyeballs! And do not, under any circumstances, forget the pie. It’s fun, but starting the day with a dense, rich casserole can put a sleepy damper on the festivities before they really take off. Treat your Christmas consumption like the marathon it is and start your day with a festive charcuterie board.

High-quality meats and cheeses with a nice baguette, crackers, fruit, nuts, and olives make a great breakfast. (Many countries, such as Croatia, Finland, and Denmark serve cold cuts as part of the morning meal. I wish it were more common here.) They’ll satiate and give you the energy you need to watch your children unwrap presents, without weighing you down and making you sleepy. (Don’t want to eat olives before noon? Grow up.)

You don’t have to arrange your meats and cheeses in the shape of a tree or a wreath, but I highly recommend it. If you want to get breakfast-y with it and serve mini pancakes with bacon and some jammy boiled eggs, you certainly can, but I think the classic offering of cheese and charcuterie with all the little accoutrement is easier and feels a bit more special. Jamón ibérico before 9 a.m.? Crystal-flecked aged gouda with a mimosa? Marcona almonds to nibble as you un-stuff your stocking? How decadent.

Unlike a lot of breakfasts, this one doesn’t require any cooking, needs few utensils, and can be assembled the night before, covered, and set in the fridge until the morning. Just make sure to remove it from the fridge at least half an hour before serving—cheese tastes best without a chill.

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