For as long as I can remember I have had an immense love of cheese. Everyone that knows me, knows that the key to my heart is with cheese. In fact, on numerous birthdays friends and family have surprised me with cakes made entirely out of cheese (no, not a cheesecake but a cake of cheese.) I have made countless cheeseboards over the years to serve at dinner parties and I thought it might be fun to share some tips with you today on how to make the perfect cheeseboard:
First of all, you should chose a variety of different types of cheese. A well-balanced cheeseboard has one of each of the following categories: fresh, soft, semi-soft, hard, and blue. There are many examples of each type of cheese, but here are a few basics to get you started:
Fresh: feta, ricotta, mozzarella, mascarpone
Soft: brie, camembert, capricorn goat
Semi-soft: edam, havarti, taleggio, gouda
Hard: manchego, emmental, grana padano parmesan, aged cheddar
Blue: stilton, roquefort, gorgonzola, cambozola
Once you have decided on the cheeses you would like to serve, your next decision is the accompaniments. Here are a few examples of delicious things you can pair your cheeses with:
Fresh fruits: blackberries, strawberries, grapes, green apples, figs (if they are in season)
Dried fruits and nuts: apricots, cranberries, figs, various mixed nuts
Spreads: chutney, jam, mustard, olive oil & balsamic vinegar
And of course plenty of crackers and crusty french baguette.
(You can also add some cured meats to the plate as well, such as prosciutto and capicollo)
Next, take time to arrange the cheeses in a pleasing way and serve them on your favorite wooden platter or slate board. If you don't have either of those, you could also use a wood or plastic cutting board. Also, don't forget to include a knife or two for guests to help themselves.
*Tip: Take the cheeses out of the refrigerator an hour before you serve them so that they become room temperature. By doing this you are maximizing the flavor potential of the cheeses.*
For my cheeseboard I used: feta (fresh), soeur angele which is a brie made of both cow's and goat's milk (soft), douanier (semi-soft), 4 year aged cheddar (hard), and gorgonzola (blue). For the accompaniments I used fresh figs, dried apricots, green grapes and mixed nuts (and plenty of baguette of course!)
Have fun trying new cheeses and experimenting with different flavor combinations! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! XO, Stef
All information taken from the book World Cheese Book by Juliet Harbutt.