Not Just Any Cheeseboard
Most parties start off with mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres, teasing guests with anticipation of the next course. All great parties also serve up show stopping cheese boards.
A Cheese Board allows you to show off your creativity- offering several options that are guaranteed to hit all of your guests’ favorite spots. I’m going to show you the ropes for how to make your one-of-a-kind cheese board that will impress and please all of your friends!
The Big Cheese: Make your selection!
Typically, I like to start out with an even amount of hard (or semi-soft) cheeses and soft cheeses. There are SO many options out there, here are some of my favorites!
§ A Spanish Manchego
§ (a sharp) White Cheddar
§ Port Salut
§ Smoked Gouda
§ Goat Cheese (crusted, infused or just plain!)
§ Bleu/ Gorgonzola/ Roquefort
Remember- there are no official “rules” for making a cheese board; experiment with flavors that intrigue you. Learn what works best for you- find your own style. Choosing the cheese selection is just one part of the process- designing a cheeseboard is my favorite part.
It’s All About The Base
It’s time to showcase your creativity. Imagine the surface of your board- is it Slate? A decorative plate? Wood? Stone? Fine China? A family heirloom, perhaps? Whichever you choose, know that this surface acts as a blank canvas for you.
Don’t Forget the Sides
Now- a cheese board doesn’t justhave cheese. It’s all about the details and bursts of flavor to compliment your cheese selection. . I like to add a variation of:
§ Cured meats
§ Nuts *be careful if your guests have allergies
§ Fresh fruit (using a sharp knife for perfectly thin slices)
§ Roasted Red Peppers
§ Seasoned Olive Oil
§ Fig Jam
To Cut or Not to Cut
Depending on your intention, or maybe on your guests- decide whether you want to pre-cut the cheese, & fruit. I always cut thin, precise slices with fruit (apples, pears- but don’t cut too early as these two brown when exposed to air for too long!)
Cutting cheese can also help with portioning- leaving the rest in your fridge so you can replenish as the party continues. Having cut cheese can also help with accessibility and ease for guests- especially if there are a lot of people.
Crackers & Bread
Crackers! There are so many options now. Choose what you like, and don’t forget it’s good to always have a gluten- free choice. I also enjoy breadsticks (my signature is to lay breadsticks on top for a unique look, or position them in a glass to add height). A salty- crunch always compliments a cheese board.
And don’t forget- “Toast to Impress”- Make sure your bread is warm for your guests.
Some of my favorites include:
§ Pita Chips
§ Any Cracker from Lesley Stowe (I like the Raincoast Crisps)
§ Firehook Rosemary (baked) Crackers
§ Alessi Rosemary, Sesame Seed or Plain Bread Sticks
§ Cheddar Cheese Sticks
I love a dash of bright color or a local item to compliment my surroundings or the specific season. Depending where I am I look outside to help with the authenticity.
When I am somewhere warm I pick fresh flowers (be sure there aren’t any insects on them… it happens) to garnish my board. If I’m in the Bahamas I showcase a Banana Leaf. Or when I’m up north I pick a pinecone from outside.
I also love:
§ Edible Flowers
Enjoy The Process
Each time you make a cheese board you will gain more knowledge and feel more confident. You will find what makes your board unique and learn to cater toward your guests. Be proud of yourself, and of this process.
Over the top cheese board