Most days I eat pretty healthfully, and other days I just want to dive into a cheeseboard for dinner with a glass of wine in hand – life is all about balance, right? Everything in moderation! One of my favorite things to serve when entertaining is a cheeseboard with charcuterie, so I was very excited last week in school when we had an entire day dedicated to a cheese tasting and discussion, followed by making mozzarella from scratch. Naturally, part of our discussion was about creating a cheeseboard that has a variety of cheeses, and selecting the right spreads, garnishes, and textures to balance it all out. Today, I’m sharing a few tricks of the trade I’ve learned on my own and through culinary school about assembling the perfect cheeseboard at home. With the Oscars this weekend, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to show off your skills, so make sure you save this post to refer back to while working on your cheeseboard masterpiece! Keep reading to learn about the essential elements of a killer cheeseboard, and how to assemble them at home!
A great rule of thumb is to serve a variety of textures between soft and spreadable, firm, and hard cheeses. Additionally, serving cheeses based on a variety of milks (cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and sheep’s milk) creates an array of flavor profiles. Four kinds of cheese I love to serve on a platter are: the Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam Triple Cream (buttery and slightly funky cow’s milk cheese), manchego (firm sheep’s milk cheese), goat cheese (soft, and of course – from goat’s milk), and aged white cheddar ( hard cow’s milk cheese; has the familiar sharp flavor of cheddar, plus a slightly nutty flavor that’s akin to Parmesan) – but the options are endless! Not feeding a crowd and just want to have a cheeseboard for dinner? No problem – stick to one or two cheeses, and select a few other goodies from the below categories to finish it off.
Having cured meat on the board adds a savory element to the plate, and some saltiness! Plus, that pink color looks gorgeous. You can’t go wrong with thin slices of salami, prosciutto, and/or coppa. I usually buy a pre-sliced package that includes all three of these varieties. You could certainly stick to just one kind of meat, and if you need some help slicing – ask your butcher to thinly slice it for you!
Extra Sweet + Savory Things
Having both sweet and savory elements is a game changer here, and creates endless options for pairing everything together. Adding a fruit preserve or jam and a seasonal fresh fruit works great – a few of my favs: dried apricots or apricot jam, honey, and figs. As for savory and salty items to include (besides the charcuterie): red pepper jelly, olives, and grainy mustards are all delicious. Something crunchy like toasted nuts add extra texture, and topping the goat cheese with some freshly cracked black pepper or some fresh herbs is another delicious addition to your spread.
Crackers + Bread
You’ve gotta have a vehicle to serve up all that deliciousness. Arrange crackers and/or toasted baguette slices on the platter. A few of my favorites are rosemary crackers like these or these, Raincoast crisp crackers or the Trader Joe’s Fig and Olive crisps.
And Now…How to Assemble!
Spread the cheeses out on a platter so there is lots of space between them, and fill the space with your charcuterie, crackers, and whichever tasty additions you choose. Also – remove the cheese and cured meats from the fridge about a half hour before feeding your guests and serve at room temp. Long story short: create a variety of flavors and textures with every element of the cheeseboard, and you can’t go wrong! Make sure to place small knives and spoons around the platter to make serving a breeze.
Did you make this recipe?
I want to see your delicious creation! Leave me a comment below, and share a photo and tag me on Instagram with the hashtag, #whatannieseating !