Even if your holiday parties are a bit smaller this year, you can still create a delicious charcuterie board to impress your close friends and family—or just to enjoy yourself! Now, you may think building a cheese board is a simple, no-brainer collection of snacks—but think again! A well-rounded cheese board requires you to thoughtfully consider flavor, texture, and balance. Create a better, more sophisticated cheese plate this holiday season with our tips and tricks, plus cheese board ideas from our in-house culinary expert.
Variety is Key
According to our Corporate Director of Culinary Excellence, John Beardsley, It’s important to choose a theme for your cheese board. You can do this by choosing to use several different types of cheese—bleu, soft, semi-soft, hard, et cetera. Or your theme can be by animal type—cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, etc. Or you can use different types of the same cheese, like all-cheddar or all-brie. Whichever theme you choose, be sure to have at least three different varieties for a versatile cheese board.
No Really, Variety is Key
Just like your cheeses, when choosing your breads, crackers and other vehicles of cheese enjoyment, choose a few different options. For breads, choose a nice, crusty loaf to pre-slice into small pieces. With crackers, choose both sturdy crackers that can handle hard cheese, as well seasoned, grainy crackers you can enjoy with soft and semi-soft cheeses like a baked brie or cranberry goat cheese.
A good mix of sweet and savory additions can take your cheese board to the next level, but be thoughtful about your choices. Fruit is a common addition—but you can’t use just any fruit! Apples, cranberries and most dried fruits have the right amount of sweetness, but fruits like strawberries and grapes can overwhelm many cheeses, upsetting the flavor balance. Additionally, nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans add in the right amount of saltiness, and are a great way to cleanse your palate in between cheeses.
Presentation Makes Perfect
When in doubt, make it pretty! Arrange your cheeses near the breads and crackers you recommend they are enjoyed with, and sprinkle the fruits and nuts anywhere a little color or flair is needed. You should also pair each cheese with its own knife and pre-cut your harder cheeses at least ⅓ of the way so you don’t have to struggle with each slice.
Consult Your Local Cheesemonger
If you're intimidated by the idea of building a cheese board yourself, ask your knowledgeable local cheesemonger for help with cheeses, pairings, and more. Be sure to ask for samples of any cheese you’re curious about in the name of research and free food!
Cheese Board Ideas
Need some help getting started? Check out some of our favorite charcuterie board recipes.
Curious how to make a cheese platter that the kids will love too? Create this family-friendly charcuterie board for a crowd-pleasing meal or mid-day snack.
Need an easy appetizer for an intimate holiday gathering? Create a cheese board that’s as beautiful as it is delicious with this simple holiday cheese platter.
Think bacon doesn’t belong on a cheese board? Think again! With rich cheeses, pork rinds, peaches and more, this smokehouse cheese platter is a perfect balance of sweet, smokey and savory.
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