• Alissa Love

How To Make a Cheeseboard for Any Occasion

Updated: Feb 12

Cheeseboards are beautiful platters that anyone can make. Most times, it is the centre of the party - guests gather around with wine, chatting over these tiny morsels of decadence and fill up before it's time for dinner.


In all honestly, up until my late 20s, I used to scoff at people like this. The thought of eating tiny morsels of rotten milk was gross! I didn't understand the appeal of cheese - until I had a really good one. I'm now a complete sucker for flavoured cheeses; my favs include chili cheese, soft cheese and of course truffle cheese! These days, my husband and I bring home some type of cheese from almost all of our travels.


Here's how to put together a quick and easy cheeseboard for any party that's easy on the wallet, takes almost no time to make and delivers that wow centrepiece for your guests - I promise you can't mess it up!



1. Start with the board

The start of a beautiful cheeseboard begins with the board. I have a collection for every size - and honestly find inspiration in the look and shape of the board I am about to make. Most chopping blocks work well and even a tray as pictured above. Just remember to always buy full-grain whole wood, never ever wood laminate.. Slate and marble works well too and give off a more luxury-board vibe.


You'll also need small cheese knives for each cheese you have on the board. It can get a little yucky to mix up the flavours. I bought this great Jamie Oliver board that comes with tiny fork identifiers for less that $50. These boards are also a great gift, and our dear friends gifted us this nifty board with hidden knife drawers!



2. Load the cheese first

There's 3 simple principles to follow to fill your board with all sorts of textures - you need a hard cheese, a soft cheese and a wild card. What I mean by wild card is a cheese that's a little out of the ordinary, that may be an acquired taste, that's bold and also interesting!


Below are some of our favourites:


Hard Cheese - Vintage Block Cheddar, Aged Manchego, Comte

Soft Cheese - Brie, Camembert, Mozzarella

Wild Card - Truffle Gouda, Blue Cheese, Apricot Cream Cheese


I'd recommend cutting up the softer cheeses into easy bites, and leaving the whole block of hard cheeses for guests to pick away at. Also evenly space out each cheese on the board so you can build up its surrounding space with salty and sweetness.



3. Let's get salty!

This is where we start getting creative - build on the savoury goodness for the flavour depth. Below are some of my (husband's) must haves. He is a huge cheeseboard fan and its basically the only time he contributes passionately in the kitchen.


In bowls - Stuffed olives, small pickled gherkins, pickled onions

Pile on - Proscuitto Di Parma, pepperoni, turkey ham, cooked and sliced sausages

Scattered everywhere - Nuts of all kinds



4. Have some sweets

Now that we've built up a nice savoury, salty and cheesy board - go ahead and add some sweetness in there. Fresh and dried fruits add a tasty escape in between all that cheese. A friend of ours poured over hot honey on some Brie and it was to die for - so feel free to get creative here!


Fresh - Seedless grapes, strawberries, cherries, rock melon, oranges

Dried - Prunes, raisins, berries

Drips - Hot honey, hot runny jams, hot maple syrup, maple mustard sauce



5. Pile on the crackers

I love a mix of crackers for different tastes and textures in every bite. I stock up on boxes of crackers whenever I have the chance, see below for our affordable go-tos!


Plain - Carr's Original Table Water Biscuits, The Fine Cheese Company Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt Crackers, Falwasser Crispbread Natural

Flavoured - Falwasser Gluten Free Activated Charcoal Crispbread, Huntley & Palmer Flat Bread Minis Olive Crackers, Marks & Spencer Cheese Twists

Breads - Sliced toasted baguette, country loafs



5. Add condiments

Condiments are not compulsory - but if you are like me and have built a sizeable number of cheeseboards over the years - you'd have built a collection of jars of condiment to go with it. So why not add it in for added texture? Condiments can either be sweet or savoury as recommended below:


Sweet - Fruit jams, hot honey, hot runny jams, hot maple syrup, maple mustard sauce

Savoury - Country-style duck pate, Duck Rillettes, Tomato salsa, Green Olive Tapenade, Hummus, Guacamole



USEFUL TIPS


1. How much cheese do you need?

For an appetiser: one standard-size wedge/circle/log (4-6 ounces each) of cheese per three people served. 

For a main: one standard-size wedge/circle/log (4-6 ounces each) of cheese per two people served


2. When should you take your cheese out of the fridge?

1-2 hours before serving to ensure the cheese reaches room temperature, and the optimum flavour.


3. How should you store leftover cheese?

When storing in the fridge, cheese should be kept wrapped in its original paper and stored in a Tupperware box, ideally in the salad drawer. I heard popping a sugar cube into the corner of the box helps to keep the cheese from sweating!


4. Is there an order for eating cheese?

There is ritual in everything so start with the softer cheeses, and work your way to the hard and bolder cheeses. Also eat your savoury or sweets after eating the cheese so you get the taste the full flavour of that cheese. These condiments are meant to be a 'cleanse' in between cheeses.


5. Can I make my cheese board ahead of time?

Sure - just leave out the crackers/breads as it tends to get soggy. Other than that, you can have the entire cheese board assembled up to a day in advance. Just make sure to wrap the whole thing well in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. Having said that - I still recommend making it fresh each time though - it's so simple to make and takes nothing more than 5-10 mins!



©2020 BY ALYCOOKS.