How to Make the Perfect Cheeseboard
What is a Cheese Board?
A cheese board is not just a piece of wood laden with cheeses. It's a curated selection of cheeses paired with complementary foods, offering a balanced flavor experience. Every cheeseboard tells a story, reflecting personal tastes, the season, or even a specific theme. To get a deeper understanding of curated selections and pairing, read Audra's Cheese & Cheers for Your Holiday Table, where she dives into the art of pairings.
Cheeseboards, grazing boards, and charcuterie boards may sound similar, but they have distinct differences. Cheeseboard are composed predominantly of, you guessed it, cheeses — with accompaniments like preserves, meats, and crackers.
Charcuterie boards are centered on cured meats paired with crackers, cheeses, and other pairings. An excellent choice for vegetarians!
Grazing boards combine cheese boards and charcuterie boards- with meats, cheeses, preserves, fresh fruit, and more.
For this post, we’ll be focusing on cheese boards and the basic steps to make a cheese board. Check out our other posts for more information on charcuterie and grazing boards, among many other fun topics!
What Ingredients Do You Need in Your Cheese Board?
Creating a stellar cheese board requires a meticulous selection of ingredients. Really, the pairings you use are where you can have fun and be creative! Generally, we recommend adding most of the following if you want a comprehensive grazing board :
- Cheeses: Generally, one cheese for a 2 person board will suffice, and 2-3 for a larger board. Think about contrasting flavors and textures here- a creamy, rich triple-creme brie, perhaps alongside a crumbly, nutty aged cheddar.
- Preserves: Here at Girl Meets Dirt, we are partial to preserves paired with cheese! It’s kind of what we’re all about. Whether it’s apricot jam with goat cheese or plum jam with brie, you really can’t go wrong.
- Fresh Produce: We love adding a fresh element to our cheese boards! Fresh herbs are always a great bet- we love rosemary or even edible flowers placed alongside the crackers and cheese! But fresh fruit, or even vegetables if done well, can be a lovely pairing with the richness of a cheese board. Try pairing your preserves with your fruit- ie, pear preserves next to fresh pear slices.
- Nuts: Excellent for texture. We’re partial to cashews and Marcona almonds- they just feel special.
- Crackers & Bread: Mix plain and flavored crackers- these are some of our favorites. We also love sliced or torn baguette, especially warm, on a cheese board.
- Extras: Consider olives, pickles, or a hint of honey.
How to Prepare or Plate a Cheese Board
Your cheese board's presentation is just as essential as the ingredients you pick.
Start with the Cheese: Set them apart. After all, they are the main attraction. Usually, with a harder to medium cheese, we just slice or break some of the cheese apart with a little cheese knife and then stick the knife in the cheese block for people to cut pieces off themselves. With a softer cheese, either place a large lump on the cheese board and smear it down (for a cheese like a chevre).
Place your preserves: Usually we just set out a whole jar! Place it centrally. Stick a little jam spoon in there for people to get it easily.
Add Fruits and Nuts: Place out your fruits and nuts in small piles surrounding the cheeses. Ensure every cheese has its complementary partner.
Fill in the Gaps: Include the crackers, bread, and extras.
Final Touch: Drizzle honey on brie or perhaps add fresh herbs. For inspiration, Audra’s Cheese & Cheers For Your Holiday Table offers a tantalizing use of sweet and savory.
What Drinks to Pair with a Cheese Board (Wines, Cocktails, Mocktails, and More)
The right accompaniments can amplify your cheeseboard experience.
- Wines: Soft, mild cheeses go well with dry, light wines, while more robust, aged cheeses tend to prefer more full-bodied wines (check out our line of pet-nats!).
- Shrubs and Bitters: For those leaning towards cocktails, our Rhubarb Shrub G & T or Shrub Hot Toddy can refresh your palate between cheeses.
To conclude, crafting the perfect cheese board is an art. It's not just about the cheeses but the symphony of flavors and textures you incorporate. Try new combinations, read about classic cheese pairings, and more until you are whipping up cheese boards like it’s nothing! Embark on this culinary journey, relishing every bite.