How to Prepare a Fabulous Cheese Board
Impress your guests with a perfectly-planned cheese board.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to preparing a fabulous cheese board, simply suggestions. And the best suggestion for this entertaining staple? Make your cheese board about what you like. These five steps will help you plan and prepare a cheese board that will surely impress!
Choose one cheese from each of the four basic cheese categories. Aged: Such as cheddar, gruyere, and gouda. Soft: Like brie or camembert. Firm: Such as manchego or Parmesan. 4: Blue, such as Maytag or stilton.
Select 4 or 5 different cheeses, allowing approximately 4 to 6 ounces per person. Selecting more than 5 becomes overwhelming for the pallet, and the board. Include a variety of cheese textures and flavors to make the selection interesting and appealing to a variety of personal tastes.
Offer a variety of breads and crackers alongside your cheese board, varying the shapes, sizes, textures, and tastes. Choose plain, neutral-flavored breads and crackers that won't overwhelm the flavors of the cheeses.
Pair your cheese selections with a variety of nuts, fresh fruits, dried fruits, savories, and condiments that complement, not compete with, the cheese. Be mindful to not go overboard with accompaniments. Sticking to 1 or 2 in-season or dried fruits, 1 or 2 savory or salty accompaniments such as nuts or olives, and 1 condiment such as preserves, honey, chutney, spicy mustard, or olive tapenade.
Serve accompaniments alongside, not on top of, the cheese. Resist the temptation to dump, pour, or drizzle condiments on top of the cheeses. This allows the cheese to be the star of your board, and allows guests to choose how they enjoy each cheese.
Prepare Cheese Board Items
Cheese is more flavorful at room temperature rather than cold. Remove cheeses from the refrigerator about one hour before serving. Slice at least some of each cheese to make it easier for your guests to enjoy. Wash and dry fruits, slice breads, and place condiments and some accompaniments in small serving dishes.
Arrange Cheese Board
Choose a large platter, marble slab, cake platter, or wooden board on which to arrange your cheeses. Place them in a clockwise manner, going from mild to strong, and allowing ample space between each cheese for easy slicing. Arrange some accompaniments on the cheese board itself, placing others in small dishes alongside the board. So as not to crowd the board, consider serving bread and crackers in a separate basket or bowl instead. Place the cheese board in a location easily accessible for guests and watch your impressively well-planned choices disappear.
Want more? Watch this video for more cheese platter tips and tricks.
Include a separate knife for each cheese to prevent the flavors from mixing. Use a specialized cheese knife if you have them. In the absence of specialized knives, butter knives, spreaders, and paring knives certainly serve the purpose.