How to Put Together the Perfect Cheeseboard
When it comes to hosting and entertaining, few plates are more impressive than the cheeseboard. Displaying a mouth-watering selection of cheeses, meats, fruits, bread and savory accompaniments, you can have a picture-perfect platter ready with minimal prep time. Cheeseboards are a great choice for parties because they don't require any baking or cooking, and guests can easily pick and choose the types of cheeses they'd like to enjoy. They also make for a perfectly light and fresh dinner or appetizer.
Overwhelmed about the idea of creating your first cheeseboard? Don't be - just follow our tips and you'll be wowing guests in no time.
Consider Cheese Types
Of course, a cheeseboard revolves around the cheese. For a crowd-pleasing platter, it's important to include a variety of different types of cheeses to suit a range of tastes. This means including a mix of soft and hard cheeses, in terms of texture, and mild and strong varieties, in terms of taste. Hard, strong cheeses include those that have aged for a long period of time, including Emmental, Cheddar, Gruyere and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Soft, mild cheeses include Brie, Goat Cheese, Mozzarella and Munster. A mix of cheeses on your board will give you the most exciting creation!
Pair with Grains
While cheese on its own is delicious, a cheeseboard includes a selection of grains and other foods that are eaten with it. A variety of crackers pair perfectly with both hard and soft cheeses, while fresh baguettes cut into small pieces is also a great twist, and gives the cheeseboard a European flair.
To create a cheeseboard worthy of being on the cover of a magazine, though, don't skimp on your accompaniments. Great cheeseboards are those that feature a creative selection of sides in a variety of shapes, colors and flavors. Generally, your cheeseboard should include a selection of fruit, thinly sliced deli or aged meats, savory sides like olives or marinated tomatoes, and spreads such as honey, mustards and jams. Prosciutto, salami, cornichons or other small pickles, and nuts are all great additions. Some types of fruit that pair well with cheeses are: apple slices, strawberries, grapes and pears. Dried fruit, such as apricots, cherries and figs, are also great picks.
Here are two easy recipes you can include on your cheeseboard:
Fig and Honey Jam
This delectable jam adds an extra touch of sweetness to your cheese selection - and only uses three ingredients.
- 1 pound figs, stems removed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
Process the figs in the Oster® Total Prep 10-Cup Food Processor until smooth and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and heat until melted, stirring throughout. Add the honey and processed figs and stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens, 20-30, being sure to stir throughout. Remove from pan and let cool before transferring to jar for serving.
Marinated Olives are the perfect addition to a flavorful cheeseboard.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 cup olives (any type, or a mix)
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil, garlic, salt, lemon juice and oregano over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the olives, stirring to coat in the mixture. Transfer olives to small dish and serve.
Selecting a Board
A wooden cutting board is the traditional serving dish for a cheeseboard. However, the beauty of the cheeseboard is that it is infinitely customizable, so you can also experiment with porcelain platters, marble plates and a variety of other dishes.
Let the Cheese Soften
An important tip to keep in mind is to let the cheeses soften at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. This not only makes them easier to slice into, but also affects their flavor profiles.
Arranging the Cheeseboard
Presentation is part of creating a crowd-pleasing cheeseboard, and there are a few considerations to keep in mind. First, arrange the cheeses on the platter so that cheeses on the opposite ends of the flavor spectrum aren't next to each other - for example, don't place an especially strong Camembert next to a mild Mozzarella, since the stronger flavors can transfer.
Second, if serving a large group, arrange a little bit of each item in several places on the cheeseboard. For example, place some of the same meats and cheeses in several spots on the board. This way, if you have a lot of people sitting around the board, they can easily reach whichever foods they'd like.
Third, adding small signs with the names of the different types of cheeses is a great idea for parties, especially if you're using unique or hard-to-come-by varieties.
Finally, adding some fresh herbs throughout the cheeseboard, like thyme or parsley, adds a beautiful, natural touch to the presentation.
Serving the Cheeseboard
To make it as easy as possible for guests to enjoy the cheeseboard, arrange a stack of small plates, forks and napkins nearby. Make sure any small pots of jam or bowls of olives or other items have serving spoons or forks, and place a small knife near each cheese of the board for easy slicing.
Voila - you've created the perfect cheeseboard! Now it's time to sit back, relax and enjoy your creation with your guests.