Let's be real, a solid cheese boards is the ultimate indulgence and a show of class. While there is no hard evidence to back this up, the next time you mention you’re going to assemble a cheese board for your upcoming book club notice how the immediate response is, “Ooooo a cheese board! How fancy!” When you have your boyfriend’s parents over for the first time you’re not going to serve them a plate of mixed vegetables and some ranch dipping sauce. No, you’re going to break out your wooden board or marble slab and scatter your favorite cured meats and chunks of cheese with nuts and crackers. Why? Because cheese boards will add the perfect amount of elegance, no matter what the occasion is. People love a good cheese board and knowing how to assemble this easy appetizer is a great skill to keep in your back pocket. We’ve made this how-to super simple by breaking down the different components that make up a sweet & salty cheese board.
Sharp, smoked, funky, sweet, soft, hard, fresh, or aged cheese; they all deserve a little space on your board. What you want to keep in mind is a variety of flavors, textures, forms, and colors. Whether you’re picking your favorites or trying something new, you’ll want to calculate about 4oz of cheese per person. To keep things really simple (and within your budget) choose one or two really good cheese and fill the rest of your board with sweet & savory snacks. When in doubt, ask your cheesemonger for a couple recommendations by giving him details like your favorite flavors, budget and occasion for the cheese board.
When assembling your board, give your cheese the respect and admiration it deserves, and arrange your board as if it were an art canvas. Remember to take your cheese out of the fridge and unwrap about an hour before serving, as cheese is best served at room temperature. Each cheese variety should have their own knife and should be spaced out enough so that stinkier cheeses don’t contaminate the mild ones.
Once you’ve assembled your cheeses on the board or plate, you should have lots of space in between to fill with delicious pairings that are designed to compliment each kind of cheese. Go with the basics and a few seasonal additions. A crusty loaf of bread and a couple types of crackers are always a good call. Water crackers are great because they are plain enough to pair with flavorful cheeses.
Charcuterie like prosciutto or jamon Serrano are also a must. Fresh fruit, like ripe pears, apples, grapes, and figs are a sweet compliment to the salty cheese, as well as a variety of dried fruits. We like having a few different crunchy elements on our cheese boards as well, whether it’s nuts, olives, or cornichons.
Finally, add a sweet component like fig jam, honey or soft-baked biscotti to your platter. Our Original flavor soft-baked biscotti was made for a cheese board as it’s the perfect sweet accompaniment to the salty cheese. Serve the biscotti right on the board with your cheese and pairings to satisfy all your sweet & salty cravings.