How to Make a Cheese Board to Remember
An inspired cheese board serves as appetizers, lunch, dinner, or dessert depending on the occasion.
Cheese, meat, fruit, nuts, sweet things, and bread or crackers are all you need. Knowing your guests preferences gives you an advantage but it is easy to make a great presentation for total strangers.
Careful selection and variety allow for great cheese boards on any budget.
Things to Consider Before you Shop:
What is the purpose? Are you presenting a focused tasting, appetizers, one part of a big spread, a little something after dinner? This will determine how much of each cheese to plate.
- Focused tasting or the only appetizer: 1oz of each cheese per person
- Part of a larger spread or after dinner: 1oz total cheese per person
Showcase a variety of cheeses! Whether you're serving 3 different cheeses or two dozen, it's a good idea to take advantage of the many textures and flavors available.
- Milk types - cow, sheep, goat, water buffalo
- Textures - soft and gooshy, semi-firm and pliable, firm and crumbly, really hard
- Intensity of flavor - mild and creamy, sweet and fruity, nutty, earthy, funky, stinky, blue
Ae there any restrictions? Can you find out if you'll be accomodating allergies, vegetarians, gluten-free guests? The more you know the better you can prepare.
To Accompany the Selections
For Color: reach for dried fruits like apricots, cranberries and golden raisins. Not only do they add a gorgeous pop of color, they also add a delightful, fruity sweetness which is a perfect foil to the rich, salty and savory notes of the cheese.
For Crunch: look to crackers and nuts. Never underestimate the power of a satisfying crunch in a well-composed cheese plate. Today’s crackers run the gamut from air-thin wafers to extra-sturdy specimens that add a toothsome crunch and contrast to creamy cheeses. Nuts have long been a standout on cheese plates, echoing the nutty nuances in many cheeses.
For Contrast: seek out a special single- varietal honey, spicy jams or exotic chutney. These elements add a note of the unexpected and can transform a wedge from tasty to transcendent. Honey is a particularly good choice when featuring a bold blue cheese as it cuts the intensity and makes it accessible for even the most timid taster.
Serving the Cheese: Traditional cheese plates are often composed of wedges or rounds of various cheeses with a smattering of fruit, nuts and accompaniments on a large platter or cheese board. This works well for guests familiar with cutting and serving their own cheeses. For guests less familiar with cheese platters, give them a head start by cutting a few wedges or triangles of cheese to demonstrate how best to cut and serve. Even better, cut single-serving pieces and provide forks or tongs to remove all serving obstacles.