Cheese boards are the easiest thing ever to serve for any type of entertaining. A good cheese course works well before or after any meal, anytime really. While picking out cheeses, pick out three to five cheeses that will go well with each other. What should you choose? Let me help you with that.
Cheese Boards Made Easy
Talk to a knowledgeable cheese purveyor or cheesemonger, at a fine cheese store or counter. They are more than happy to give you some great suggestions and recommend the amount you may need for your cheese course. Here are some questions to ask.
- Which cheeses pair well with each other (based on your personal likes and dislikes)?
- Ask what cheeses will work well with the other foods you’ll be serving.
- How much of each cheese will I need?
It works best if you vary your cheese choices by texture, age, milk type, and manufacturer. For instance, your plate could include a soft cheese, a pungent cheese, a semi-firm aged cheese, and no more the one to two lovely blue cheeses. Any more, and you will overwhelm the other more delicate cheeses on the plate.
Keep your cheese boards simple; remember too much of anything can overwhelm you. Cheese is no exception. I recommend a three-cheese course for a small party of four or less. For larger groups, I usually serve up to six different cheeses, but no more. When determining the amount you may need, I go with around 1 oz. per person.
Building Cheese Boards
Things To Consider:
What else should I serve on cheese boards? Again here are some suggestions. What you choose may be determined by your cheese choices. If you’re unsure, ask your cheesemonger what he/she would recommend.
- A mild crusty bread such as a baguette
- Simple water crackers
- Charcuterie of prosciutto and/or hard salamis
- Seasonal fruits
- Dried fruits
- Various Nuts
- Quince paste
How do I serve the cheese? Keep it simple and don’t over complicate it with fancy expensive serving items.
- Any good wooden cutting board will work very well.
- Provide a knife or each cheese. Any good knife will do. However, there is one exception. When serving soft cheeses, look for a soft cheese knife with holes down the length of the blade. You will only need one.
Things To Know About Selecting Cheeses For Cheese Boards:
(Note: Consider serving at least one familiar cheese.)
- Aged: such as – Aged Cheddar, Comte, Goat, Gouda
- Soft: such as – Camembert, Brie
- Firm: such as – Manchego, Mimolette, Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Blue: such as – Gorgonzola, Stilton
Consider cheeses produced from different types of milk: This ensures a nice range of different flavors on your cheese plate.
Always remove the cheese from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. Cold cheeses will have muted flavors. You won’t want to miss all the flavors the cheese has to offer.
Label each cheese to remember the names in case someone wants to know what you’re serving.
What About The Storing Of Cheese?
The best advice for storing cheese is not store it at all. Purchase the cheese when it is at its peak or near peak ripeness and eat the cheese the day you buy it. I know that may not always be possible. So in the event you must store your cheeses, here is what I would suggest.
- Never to store their cheeses in direct contact with plastic
- Wrap your cheese in waxed paper. If you’re worried your cheese will dry out, then wrap it loosely in plastic wrap or place it in a plastic bag that’s not entirely sealed. This will allow the ammonia and other unpleasant chemicals to escape.
This is just a simple guide I use when I want to build different cheese boards. Cheese boards don’t have to be formal, but they should be fun. There is no set standard when developing good cheese boards. It’s more a reflection of your taste and something that you should enjoy. So set your cheese boards up in a way you would enjoy. Lastly, have fun with it.
Time to eat…