Giada De Laurentiis' Quick Jam Trick Will Elevate Your Cheese Board

When it's dinner party time, it's charcuterie board time. There's a good chance you're setting aside an hour or two to slice up some soppressata, candy a handful of walnuts, or wrap salted cantaloupe in prosciutto, and when it comes to building the perfect charcuterie board, "[creating] contrast" is the golden rule for chef and Healthy Seasonal Recipes founder Katie Webster. "I always add something sweet, be it fruit, jam, chutney, honey, or even chocolate, as well as something sour such as pickles, tapenade, or olives," she says, via Food Network.

Seemingly-unexpected flavor combinations are the name of the game, and Giada De Laurentiis has a surprising combo to take your charcuterie board to the next level. Italian chef, restaurateur, Emmy Award-winning television host, and nine-time New York Times bestselling cookbook author, this is a cook who knows her stuff. Perhaps you've tried a spoonful of fig jam before, but De Laurentiis' quick jam trick will take your cheese board to the next level. 

The secret? Blend it with Calabrian chili paste, says De Laurentiis (per TikTok). And here's why it works.

Giada De Laurentiis spices it up with Calabrian chilis

Calabrian chili paste is a popular ingredient in the Italian culinary world, says Chili Pepper Madness. It's a spicy condiment (typically between 25,000 and 40,000 Scoville Heat Units) made from Calabrian chili peppers from the region of Calabria in Southern Italy. The paste is a straightforward combination of Calabrian peppers, olive oil, garlic, and salt. The spicy, flavorful, garlicky taste, says De Laurentiis, will provide an unexpected complement to tart, slightly sweet, tangy fig jam.

In a TikTok, De Laurentiis demonstrates how she spices up charcuterie board-classic fig jam with Calabrian chili paste by simply muddling the two ingredients together in a bowl. (The chef adds juice from half a freshly squeezed lemon, as well.) To make it work for her cheese board, the chef tops individual slices of crostini with slabs of brie cheese and spoons a dollop of the jam on top of each one. But, the jam could also be scooped directly onto your cheese board or piled atop a wedge of brie or other different cheeses and scooped up with crackers. 

Consider trying a variety of cheeses like mild semi-soft brie, soft goat cheese, and hard Mimolette to pair with that spicy-sweet fig and Calabrian chili pepper spread. The Academy of Cheese says Mimolette pairs especially well with tart and fruity flavors — hello, fig jam.