How To Make The Perfect Cheese Board – Perfect for parties, the holidays, and family gatherings. Making a cheese board is an entertaining essential! See my tips below for selecting the best cheeses, fruits and veggies, crackers, and other staples of any centerpiece-worthy Cheese Board!
Why Make A Cheese Board For Parties?
If you know me, you know I like a good cheese and charcuterie board. I think my fondness for all things cheese and charcuterie developed after moving to Wisconsin. . home of some of the best cheese I have ever tasted! After that first perfect bite of blue cheese with some prosciutto on a cracker, I was hooked.
There is something so terrifically simple yet elegant about offering varieties cheese with delectable little accompaniments! An impressive cheese board sets the inviting tone for any gathering, welcoming your guests to gather and enjoy. And as a bonus, it is incredibly easy for you to put together well in advance of the festivities!
What You Will Need To Make The Perfect Cheese Board
- Find the perfect board or platter: Use a wood board, cutting board or even a large platter. I love using large wood boards, or trays. I am a huge fan of Rescued Woodworks, a local company in Madison, Wisconsin, that uses rescued urban wood.
- Visualize how you are going to lay everything down first. I like to start with the cheeses and then lay everything on the board around the cheese.
- Think of different textures, shapes and colors as you are assembling and lay or fold the charcuterie in different ways. For example: fold the salami, roll, twist or simply lay down and let the prosciutto falls as it desires. Have fun with it!
- Make it seasonal! Use seasonal fruit and add festive elements like fresh rosemary, or other fresh herbs!
- Want to add something sweet? Add chocolate covered nuts or cookies. Down below I added some stroopwafels for fun!
Basic Cheese Board Guidelines and Tips
I’ve learned over the years what, in my mind, makes the perfect board or platter:
- Cheese: all types (hard, soft, crumbly) and cut into different shapes. Some wedges I leave as is, some I cut into cubes and some I cut into triangle pieces.
- Charcuterie: again, all types, different shapes and textures and flavors: Salami, Proscuitto, Soppressata, Capocollo, Mortadella, Chorizo and more!
- Fruit: dried and fresh, use what’s in season.
- Crackers or bread or both: get an assortment. Again, different shapes, colors and textures. A sliced baguette can do the trick too if you don’t have time to pick up crackers.
- Nuts: almonds, candied walnuts, marcona almonds. Get a mix of your favorites. I like to add some that have a little heat too.
- Pickled things: cornichons (pickled French gherkins), pickled beets, pickled asparagus, basically anything that will give you that great sweet and sour note to help balance the saltiness and creaminess from the cheese and charcuterie.
- Jams or preserves for something sweet. You can either spread some directly on the board itself or just some preserves in a little dish.
- Olives: get an assortment of green and black; I like to place olives into a little dish on the cheese board
- Add little cheese knives, forks or tongs to help your friends and guests pick up everything.
Best Cheeses For A Cheese Board
There are so many terrific types of different cheeses! Select a range of textures and flavors to give your guests fun options.
Some of my favorites include:
- Aged cheddar and colby jack cheese
- Havarti and Gouda (different types)
- Soft and creamy: Brie, Camembert, Burrata, Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and Goat cheese or chèvre (spreadable)
- Firm: Parmigiano Reggiano, Manchego, Gruyère, any Sartori BellaVitano is a must
- Smoked: Smoked Gouda, Provolone, and Cheddar
- Spicy: I love a cheese with a little heat. So, if you are feeling adventurous, pick up a Sriracha Gouda or Chipotle cheddar and enjoy!
- Crumbly cheese: Blue cheese. You love it or hate it. Some people don’t like mixing blue cheese on the same board with other cheeses. I love it and will place it on my board next to crackers and prosciutto for example. Don’t place it on your board next to another cheese!
Have Fun With It!
Next, you just have to visualize everything and have some fun. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Sometimes, I will even sketch something on paper first so I don’t forget anything.
Sometimes I like to add a smaller board on top of my tray (or round board) to add height and interest. It elevates one part of your board and makes it more appealing and appetizing. Just arrange everything on there, make sure you have plates, knifes and napkins and your guests will be good to go!
Over the years, I’ve made probably over 50+ cheese and charcuterie boards. . sometimes I have some fun and add completely unexpected things like baked popcorn tofu and pan fried tortellini just for kicks! Just have some fun and make it delicious!
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How To Make The Perfect Cheese Board
- Cheeses You'll want an assortment of at least 3 different cheeses of various textures and flavors.
- Charcuterie Select several dried meats that compliment your cheese flavors, such as Salami, Proscuitto, Soppressata, Capocollo, Mortadella, Chorizo.
- Fruit Dried and/or fresh, use whatever's in season!
- Crackers and/or Bread Include a variety of crackers with different textures that compliment your cheese and charcuterie flavor profiles; and/or sliced baguette or other crusty bread.
- Nuts Choose a few types of nuts that offer both complimenting and contrasting flavors, like candied walnuts and spicy almonds.
- Pickled Things Veggies that are pickled - like beets, asparagus, and cornichons - add great sour notes for balancing the sweetness and saltiness of your other cheese board items.
- Jams and/or Preserves Offer your guests something seasonal and sweet to enjoy with their salt and savory snacks!
- Olives Include both green and black olives, or whatever variety goes best with your cheese and charcuterie selections.
- Before starting, visualize how you'd like your cheese board to look to get an idea of your layout. I like to even sketch my designs beforehand!
- Paying attention to varying textures and colors, assemble your cheese board with your cheeses, charcuterie, fruit, crackers and/or bread.
- Because they are juicy, I recommend including your pickled items and olives in separate dishes on your cheese board.
- Likewise, for keeping organized, feature your nuts selection in little dishes.
- Include jams and/or preserves in little dishes on your cheese board.
- I recommend using a lovely board or platter made of wood or slate, or other eye-catching and food-safe material, for presenting your perfect cheese board to your guests.
- Be sure to read serving suggestions on nutrition labels of your ingredients to determine serving amounts. You want to be sure there's plenty to go around!
- See my post for tips on choosing the right cheeses for your cheese board: you can't go wrong with a fun selection of different textures and flavors. Try including one firm cheese, a soft and creamy option, something smoky or spicy, and a cheese that's strong like blue cheese - just be sure to keep this one far from the other cheeses!
- Serve your cheese board with several small knives and utensils so that everyone can dig in together.
- You can assemble your cheese board a few hours before your party by leaving off the crackers and/or bread and covering your cheese board with cling wrap.
Give this recipe a try, and leave a comment to let me know what you think!