Our entertaining mantra? Most parties are made better with the addition of a cheeseboard. A gorgeous cheeseboard isn't just about winning at Instagram though — it will make a statement that says, "I'm an entertaining boss!"
Here are our 8 tips for building a cheeseboard that's just as gorgeous as it is delicious.
Have A Loose Theme
No, you do not need to go over the top and have your cheeseboard be 1000% Spanish. Well, sure, if that's what you want to do, you could (we'd suggest some Manchego and Mahon cheeses, a few Marcona almonds, some quince paste, and olives), but we find that to be a bit expected.
Instead have a general theme you're going for — be it the type of cheese (say, all goat's milk cheeses), the geographic spot (all California cheeses), or the time of year (summer) — but let it naturally evolve so if you see something that's delicious but doesn't quite fit you can still add it to the cheeseboard.
Choose A Mix Of Cheeses
One old-school cheeseboard tip that we totally stand by? That your cheeseboard should have a mix of cheese types. Sure, we could tell you all the rules out there but that'd be a lot to memorize.
Our advice is to have an odd number of cheeses and to mix in different ages of cheese (an in something fresh like burrata, something semi-aged like brie, and something super aged like Gouda), and, if you like it, blue cheese. we also suggest you go to your local cheese store and ask their advice because they'll know best.
Match The Sips To The Bites
This probably goes without saying but you don't want to put all that effort into a cheeseboard and then serve a drink that a) doesn't pair well or b) is just crappy quality.
If you want an all-around wine that will work, we suggest a great-quality sparkling wine, a French-style Chardonnay, or a bolder rosé. This wine and cheese pairing graphic by the crew over at VinePair is also a great resource!
Add A Mix Of Dried And Fresh Fruit
To us, a cheeseboard isn't really a cheeseboard until some fruit gets involved. When we have time, we go to our local farmers market and by a mix of fresh and dried fruit. If we don't have time, Trader Joe's is our go-to for dried fruit becuase they have a huge variety from the expected (dates, figs, and apricots) to the unexpected (dried orange slices).
Just as critical as fruit are some great nuts, of which, again, Trader Joes has a good assortment. Go with at least three different types including a simple roasted, salted nut, one that's flavored (say rosemary or truffle or chile), and one that's in-shell. We know, that last one is not a need-to-have but there's something about guests having something to do with their food that makes a party even more fun.
Go For A Variety Of Textures
While you're at it, make sure your cheeseboard has a mix of textures. Tbh, this will probably just naturally happen as you buy the elements of the cheeseboard, but, just gut check yourself before you start building the board.
And, let's be real: so long as they're something crunchy, most people are happy!
Add In Something Unexpected
Maybe it's a salsa you found at your local gourmet store, a chocolate bar you brought back from you last trip, or a homemade cracker, but adding something unexpected to the cheeseboard acts as a sort of icebreaker and gets people talking. (Something especially helpful when you're throwing an event where not all the guests have met before.)
Make It Gorgeous (But Still Functional)
As you noticed from our photo, we like arranging the cheeses, placing complementary flavors nearby, and then filling in all the empty space with the fresh fruit and nuts.
You definitely want to put some thought into it (and maybe even take some inspiration from these cheeseboard tips from Saveur), but make sure it's still a cheeseboard that's easy to eat and, most importantly, delicious!
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