Cheese boards - the ultimate appetiser. They only take a few minutes to put together, they taste great and can be a striking feature for your guests to snack on. It’s the smart way to gather a range of delicious foods together all on one board, giving your guests the option to pick and choose their own tasty snack just the way they like it! We like to think of cheese boards as the appetiser you can set and then forget about, whilst your guests help themselves. Simple yet delicious!
Let’s get creative in the kitchen and talk about how to create your own gourmet cheese board to impress your guests.
Firstly, select your favourite cutting board. We love using a round cutting board as it presents beautifully but you can also use a square or rectangular wooden board or you may even opt for a classy black slate instead. Choose your board with consideration to the size – it should be big enough to hold your appetisers but not so large that the board will look half empty. The board will provide an aesthetic backdrop to your tasty creation.
The key to arranging your board well is going to be your use of ingredients to produce a variety of colours, textures and shapes for your guests to feast their eyes on.
Let’s start with the cheeses. It is good to have a selection of cheeses for a variety of pallets. You may want to include 2-4 different cheese such as a soft cheese like brie or camembert, a salty cheese like a blue cheese, a hard cheese like vintage cheddar and a sweet cheese like apricot cream cheese. Cheeses come in different shapes such as wedges, squares, logs, rectangles or wheels – choose a variety of options to add to the visual appeal. Variations with shapes will draw people to the plate.
Choose a centrepiece for your cheeseboard. Humans are wired to eat with their eyes first, so you want to select colourful ingredients to where the eyes can be drawn. Green grapes work really well to draw visual interest and you could also include red and purple grapes or cherries. Freshly sliced figs are a beautiful colour and texture, their unique shape can add interest to the board.
Select your choice of crackers or breads. Neutral thin crackers work well because the ordinary flavour won’t outshine the other tastes on your board and they generally go with all types of cheeses. You could consider adding a variety of other tastes such as olive bread, rosemary crackers, brioche toast or rice crackers for your gluten free guests.
Consider adding something chewy and sweet to your board to balance out the saltiness of the cheese. This could be dried apricots, cranberries or pitted dates.
Add a bit of crunch with pecans, walnuts or your favourite nut variety.
You may like to include a variety of deli meats such as prosciutto, ham or salami.
Finally, select your choice of condiments – olives in a bowl, quince paste, olive tapenade or marmalade.
The board is your own, so you can select as many or as little ingredients as you wish.
When arranging your board, spread out the colours so that it looks like there is a lot of variation on the plate. Be sure to separate your mouldy or smelly cheese from the others so that they don’t cross contaminate the individual flavours of the other, milder cheeses.
Use a different knife for each different item on the plate so that the flavours don’t mix together. You don’t want your camembert to taste like blue cheese!
Cheeses should be served at room temperature to get the maximum flavour and texture, therefore you may need to take them out of the fridge an hour before serving dependent on your climate.
For an extra special touch, you may wish to name your cheeses with an individual sign for each so that your guests can easily distinguish between each type. If you are concerned about the cheese and crackers drying out before the guests arrive, simply cover the board with a damp cloth until you are ready to serve.