It may seem simple, but nothing pleases a crowd like a cheese board. With an assortment of cheeses, fruits, meats and spreads it’s easy to impress guests and look like you put in loads of effort (without having to do so). However, making the perfect board does requires a little more than just slapping some cheese on a plate and calling it a day. Here are some easy tips to craft the perfect cheese board.
Variety is the spice of life
You’ll want a wide variety of cheeses to cater to different taste palettes. Give your guests options by incorporating about 3-5 different cheeses of varying firmness, texture and flavour. A soft cheese like brie, a hard cheese like an aged gouda and a crumbly blue cheese make a great trio.
It can’t all be about cheese! You need some extra treats to snack on to provide more depth and flavour. Items like cold meats, crackers, nuts and fruits work wonders in adding both colour and flavour to your board. You want to hit various flavour profiles, so make sure to have something sweet, salty, and crunchy on your board. Red grapes, figs and jam are perfect for some added sweetness, while cured meats give a smoky finish. Add sides of crackers and bread to act as the perfect base for your snacks. Use condiments like mustard, chutneys, honey and pesto as binding agents and to provide some moisture.
Pile it on:
There really is no rhyme or reason when it comes to putting your cheeseboard together, as placement depends on your specific items and the size of your board. In general, it helps to place the cheeses first, spreading them out evenly across the board. Next, pile on your salty snacks and then fill in the gaps with your sweet treats. Use your crackers and breads as a perimeter, and slot in jars of condiments wherever you still have space. Garnish with springs of rosemary or edible flowers.
It’s totally up to you whether you want to pre-slice your cheeses. Slicing them is easier for your guests to dish, but keeping them whole preserves them for longer and looks nicer. If you are keeping them whole, remember to provide individual knives for each cheese.
Joëlle Davidson is Woman and Home’s Editorial Assistant whose two cats are very pleased she is typing from home these days. When Joëlle isn’t typing or reading she can be found enjoying the beauty of Cape Town’s outdoors. Or just the beauty of her favourite wine bar.