If it is a birthday party, a girls night in, housewarming, date night or a casual Friday night serving a cheese board is always a safe bet. Fancy cheese boards are easy to put together, simple to eat and you can pair them with a number of wine, beer or even cocktails. Almost everybody can find something they like on a cheese board and it is a very easy way to impress.
Let me give you some inspiration on how to take your hosting to the next level without sweating in the kitchen for hours.
Less is More
Be careful not to go crazy with the cheese. For a small board two to three types of cheese is ideal, and up to five types for a big board. If you start offering too many it can get confusing and overwhelming.
Also the happiest cheese is not straight from the fridge, so let the cheese chill a little bit in room temperature before you serve. If you are slicing the cheese wait until you’re about to serve it so it will not dry out.
Try to cover all the texture, a soft cheese (Camembert, Brie, Burrata, Mozzarella), Semi-hard (Port Salut, Swiss, Gouda, Havarti) and hard cheese (Grana Padano, Parmigiano, Pecorino, aged Cheddar). Try different milk bases (cow, goat, sheep) and to include a range of ages
to cover the whole spectrum. There are so many different cheeses out there so go ahead and experiment.
Meat goes extremely well with cheese and again think of texture, thinly sliced prosciutto, a little harder salami or chorizo and maybe a rustic pâté which is easy to spread.
Bread & Crackers
This is essential and try to mix different varieties, everything from Italian ciabatta, crunchy grissini to salty crackers.
I’m sure you know this by now but cheese and sweet things go hand in hand. Here you have a good room to play. You can go for fresh fruit like figs, grapes, melon, berries or tomatoes, and dried fruit like apricots, raisins or prunes. Also in my opinion honey is essential with cheese so please don’t forget the honey, but also chutney and jam are perfect too.
Those extra things
Olives, put them in a little bowl so they won’t effect the rest of the board. Raw Almonds, Raw Cashews, Honey Roasted Cashews, or Pistachios. Fancy mustard, grilled artichokes in oil, semi dried tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, hummus, marinated mushrooms, pesto and roasted pepper bruschetta.
You don’t HAVE to include all of these items. You can take it in any direction you want it and select the things you think fits best, there are no rights or wrongs here.
When assembling the cheese board I find it best to place the cheese first as they are the star of the show. I then place the meats in different areas to contrast the cheese, and lastly use all the other ingredients to fill in the space. Your goal is to make it look abundant and full of all kinds of goodies.