Whether you’re having an appetizer party, a wine & cheese party or a full buffet, a cheese board is a must.
Here are our 5 tips to creating a cheese board with the perfect balance:
Think three. Start with 3 cheeses, 3 breads/crackers, and 3 add-ons such as pickles, nuts and fruit. If you are entertaining more than 6 people, you can add another choice from each group for every 3 people.
Mix it up. When selecting cheeses, create a range of flavors and textures from soft to hard and mild to sharp, and even pungent varieties. Consider these examples:
- A bloomy rind cheese such as Brie, Camembert or Formagella
- A soft or washed-rind cheese like Teleme or Crescenza
- A semi-firm cheese such as Gouda, St. George or toma
- A very hard cheese such as dry jack, aged Gouda or aged white cheddar
- A highly flavorful or pungent cheese such as blue or flavored jack
- Flavorful breads thinly sliced or broken into smaller pieces can enhance contrast in both flavor and texture. Try different textures like baguette slices, flatbread triangles, bread sticks, multigrain crackers in different shapes & sizes, gourmet crackers with fruit & nuts, water crackers, crostini or parmesan crisps.
- Add a color contrast with dried or fresh fruit such as apple or pear slices, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, tangerine sections, grapes, apricots or figs.
- Enhance your cheese plates with sweet and savory pairings. Add little bowls of tapenade, honey, chutney, preserves, salsa or mustard. Include savory choices such as olives, artichokes & pickles and sweet choices like candied nuts and dried fruit to make each bite unique.
For example, pears go well with blue cheese, Gouda and toma; olives accompany white cheddar and pepper jack; walnuts fit with Gouda and dry jack; and dried cranberries pair nicely with cheddar, blue cheese and mushroom jack.
Consider time. Aged cheeses should be allowed time to come to room temperature. Larger pieces typically take 1-2 hours for the full flavor to develop. However, fresh cheeses should be treated like milk, so don’t allow them to sit out for more than a short time.
Consider portions. Estimate 1-1 1/2 ounces of each cheese per person. If you plan to serve three or more cheeses, consider decreasing the amount to 1 ounce (or less) of each cheese per person.
California Cheese Board
- 1-2 ounces California Brie cheese per person
- 1-2 ounces California toma cheese per person
- 1-2 ounces California pepper jack cheese per person
- fresh herbs
You may also want to include: almonds, crackers and cherry tomatoes.
Red, White & Blue Cheese Board
- 1-2 ounces California cheddar cheese per person
- 1-2 ounces California blue cheese per person
- 1-2 ounces California mushroom jack cheese per person
- dried cranberries
- fresh apple slices
Source: Real California Milk