Putting together the perfect cheeseboard for a gathering is surprisingly simple, but when you don’t know where to start it can be intimidating. Most people say that you should have certain cheeses represented on a cheeseboard, but we don’t think that there should be any hard rules. We believe in putting together an assortment of delicious cheeses in a variety of flavors and textures. We’ve put together some simple guidelines to help you pull together the perfect cheeseboard for your next get together.
Offer a Variety of Texture and Flavor:
A sampling of 3-4 different cheeses is typically just right for people to nibble on before a dinner. Not everyone enjoys the same type of cheese, so it’s nice to offer a few different textures to make sure everyone can find something they will enjoy:
- Hard (Pecorino Romano or an aged cheddar)
- Semi Hard (Manchego or Gouda)
- Semi-Soft (blue cheese or soft goat cheese)
- Soft (Brie)
It’s also nice to offer a variety of flavors. Some prefer strong and stinky cheese while others prefer something mild. We usually offer two mild cheeses, like Manchego and Brie, and two stronger cheeses, like aged cheddar, Gouda or blue.
Cheeses can also get pricey, but if you know what you are looking for you can find some surprisingly delicious selections at the grocery store. Going to a cheese shop can be a fun way to try new cheeses, but once you know what you like the grocery store can be a far more cost-effective way to go. Cypress Grove has some fantastic cheeses, several of which you can find at your local grocery store at an amazing price. We particularly love their Truffle Tremor, Midnight Moon, Humbolt Fog and Lamb Chopper.
Manchego is a lovely semi-hard cheese with a mellow flavor and aged Gouda or cheddar are great options for a hard cheese with a stronger flavor.
You often see a blue cheese on a cheeseboard, but if you aren’t fond of blues, you can go for a milder option like a creamy goat infused with truffle (Truffle Tremor) or Cambozola (a triple cream blue cheese).
Sides and Crackers:
Once you’ve chosen your cheeses it’s time to have some fun with the sides! A cheeseboard can be such a wonderful experience if you dress it up. We like to add a variety of different accoutrements with our cheeseboard:
- Nuts: candied walnuts or pecans, and Marcona almonds are great options. Trader Joe’s also has delicious candied sesame cashews!
- Fruits: sliced apples, grapes, dried cherries or apricots
- Sweet spreads: honey with the honeycomb or a fig jam
- Variety of olives and pickles
- Crackers and bread: Water crackers and sliced baguette. We also love Raincoast Crisps’ Cranberry and Hazelnut Crackers, they have a slightly sweet flavor and pair nicely with almost any cheese.
Assembling the Board:
A beautifully presented cheeseboard is hard for anyone to resist! We like to make sure our cheeses are spread out and each cheese has its own cheese knife (you wouldn’t want the blue cheese knife cutting through the brie!). Ashley’s cheese board is available in stores at Sur La Table, but this Round Serving Board is similar. A fabulous technique our friend Alexandra uses on her cheeseboards is to slice off a few pieces of cheese before her guests arrive. This makes the presentation more inviting so your guests don’t hesitate to dig in.
The most important thing to remember when creating your cheeseboard is to have fun and try something new! If you have fun with your cheeseboard your guests will too!
Ashley + Hallman