The festive season is upon us, and with it, the slew of cocktail parties, dinners and home entertaining. Where you’ll find us: hovering over the cheese board.
They are impressive, a cinch to assemble and offer a little something for everyone. Here are some goof-proof tips for putting together your own.
Set the Stage
In this Instagram age, presentation is key, but don’t forgo functionality when selecting a serving platter. Look for cold materials such as marble, stone or slate to keep your arrangement fresh.
Choose Your Cheese
The mark of a great cheese board is variation with texture, milks, origins and strengths.
Chat up your cheesemonger to choose four or five options. More could overwhelm the palate. And besides, why not keep it simple?
Some suggestions, you ask? Perhaps a pungent, aged goat’s gouda with a springy texture beside a crumbling stinky Stilton and a more mild cow’s milk fontina. Pecorino Sardo, a hard sheep’s cheese, works well with a creamy French brie and a gooey gorgonzola.
Plan for around 100 grams per person to start, but we’re sure any extra won’t go to waste.
Remove your cheese from the fridge about an hour before serving to bring out its texture and flavours.
Cut your cheese into two bite pieces before arranging on your tray to keep things tidy and convenient for your guests. DIY cutting can cause cheeseboard carnage. Not attractive.
Soft or crumbly: use a wire or unflavoured dental floss for a clean cut.
Firm: use a knife to maintain the shape of the original piece.
Arrange the pieces from mild to strong to progress through the intensity spectrum.
Well-chosen accompaniments can elevate your already stellar cheese by contrasting saltiness with some sugar, highlighting unexpected notes and adding textural complexity.
Aim for a cracker or bread, a ripe fruit, jam or compote and two savoury options such as cured meats, nuts or pickles.
Some of our favorite matches:
- Mild bloomy rind cheese such as brie or camembert with crisp, juicy fruit
- Sharp cheddar with spicy grainy mustard
- Salty Manchego with dates