Creating a cheese board is an opportunity to explore different tastes and textures that you may not have tried before. Consider the season when combining ingredients – winter calls for something hearty while a summer cheese board can feature fresh fruits and herbs. The great thing about creating a cheese board for your guests is that it’s deceptively easy but makes you look like a kitchen rockstar.
Start with a board, platter, pretty cutting board, or any serving vehicle that you have. Be creative! Using a piece of slate helps keep your items cool while also allowing you to write in chalk on its surface to label your selections.
Gather items of your choice from the following categories. (Some of these may be a bit pricey up front, but certain items will last you through many cheese boards!)
Honey – the honey market has really blossomed lately, with a large variety of interesting blends available at most markets. For your cheese board, try to step up from the “honey bear” form your childhood and look for a type that interests you. Many are made from local wildflowers, some are “raw” versions, and some are fruit based. The options are all yours. An absolute favorite is honeycomb (yes, thats right, the comb itself!) The delicate wax of the comb spreads easily and pairs beautifully with brie.
Fruit – stick with what’s in season. Fresh berries, apple slices, juicy pears, figs, whatever looks good at your market will work. Cut it into manageable pieces so that your guests aren’ left managing a large granny smith. Dried fruits work as well – apricots, dried apples, etc.
Nuts – again, stay with the season. Candied pecans work for fall, while something lighter like marcona almonds work beautifully in the spring/summer. (Reall, all year round!) Trader Joes has some rosemary marcona almonds that are amazing.
Olives – they bring a salty tang to the party. Check out the olive bar at your grocery store or specialty market for interesting marinated or stuffed varieties.
Crackers/Bread – Thin slices of a baguette will work in a pinch, but take a chance on some interesting crackers or breadsticks. This is a chance to add some interesting texture and shape to the look of your cheese board.
An aged cheese like cheddar or gouda will have a strong flavor. As it ages, crystals develop that give it a special crispness and more dry texture.
A blue cheese can be overwhelming, so stick with a mild variety.
A soft cheese like goat cheese is spreadable and can be rolled in herbs, or some varieties are already covered in cranberries, blueberries, etc. Brie is also a delicious choice, easy to find, and adds its signature round look and creamy flavor to your display.
A firm cheese like shaved parmesan adds a nutty flavor and saltiness.
Add a bottle of wine and you have a casual dinner for two, an elegant appetizer, or a party platter that will wow your guests!
All images via Pinterest