Cheeseboard – The Right Way

Cheeseboard – The Right Way

By Amber Gill

A cheeseboard is a great, minimal, hassle-free way to entertain your guests. I love a good cheeseboard to be full and chock-a-block with goodies whether it’s for a smaller or bigger crowd. Empty, scantily covered boards look a little boring and the cheese just looks lonely…

When choosing your cheese, remember to buy ones that are different from each other in taste, shape, texture and colour. Nothing annoys me more than seeing a Camembert and Brie on one board. Yawn! Without sounding like a cheese snob (but that’s exactly how this will come across as), cubed cheese greatly upsets me. Perhaps it’s easier to pick up and eat but an elegant cheeseboard it doth not make. Unless you’ve got a bunch of 5 year olds coming over, please try to avoid this cheese faux pas.

Types of cheese to choose from are endless but here are some firm favourites of mine and all are relatively easy to find.

  • Creamy (Brie, Camembert)
  • Sharp (Cheddar)
  • Hard (Gruyere)
  • Herby (Boursin)
  • Smoked (all)
  • Fruity (Cranberry, Apricots)
  • Spicy (Wasabi, Pepper)

Now don’t panic! You don’t have to blow the budget by buying them all. Getting even two good blocks of cheese for a smaller crowd can work if you fill up the board with plenty of other nibbles and bites. We’ll get to that later.

Entertaining with cheese 

  • Entertaining 2-5 ppl? Then 2- 3 types of cheese are enough to gobble up.
  • Entertaining 6-12 people? Opt for 3-4 types of cheese
  • Entertaining 15-25 people? Go ahead and splurge, get 5 types of cheese

Now if you have a bigger crowd of over 40 people then I suggest pushing the boat out and buying 7 types of cheese. As far as quantities go, just try to remember the rule of 3-4oz of cheese per person.

Assemble the board 

To assemble your board, first leave your cheese out of the fridge for about 30 mins and then place on your board. Pile on your fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, crackers, bread, jams, honey, olives and the all important celery and grapes- the latter two are to cleanse the palate. Here are some of my personal favourite additions to the cheeseboard:

  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Sliced apples
  • Sliced Pears
  • Sliced Peaches
  • Fresh figs
  • Dried Figs
  • Dried apricots
  • Fresh mint
  • Fresh thyme
  • Nuts: almond pistachio walnut
  • Dark Chocolate: broken into chunks
  • Celery sticks
  • Mini gherkin Pickles
  • Cold cuts
  • Mix of Olives
  • Honey
  • Assorted Fruit jams

Don’t forget that you’ll need an array of crackers, bread and breadsticks. I like to include rice crackers for the gluten free folks too. Go with whatever bread loafs are available, be it baguette, sourdough, country etc.. Have fun placing everything, it doesn’t need to be neat or precise, think of it as your own artsy canvas.

The Board 

As for choosing the right board, I prefer to go with marble, wood or slate or you can even mix and match them too and use all three materials together. Don’t be afraid to shake things up a little. You will also need mini bowls on your board or around it to hold olives,nuts and jams.

Finishing touches to your board include placing cheese knives with each cheese. I recommend investing in a nice set of 4-6 knives. Whatever you do, don’t forget to label each cheese! You can set up the perfect board of cheese but if people don’t know what they’re eating then operation cheeseboard has failed.

Happy Entertaining!

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