Dione Lucas, the first female graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, noted, “The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living.” Here are a few suggestions for an imaginative cheese board. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to preparing a cheese board, these simple suggestions will help you prepare a spread that is sure to impress your guests.
Choose one cheese from each of the four cheese categories:
Aged—Cheddar, Gruyère, or Gouda
Soft—Brie or Camembert
Hard—manchego or Parmesan
Blue—Maytag or Stilton
Allow 4 to 6 ounces per person. Include a variety of cheese textures and flavors to make the selection interesting and appealing to a variety of tastes.
Accompaniments: Pair your cheese selections with an assortment of fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, and condiments. Select food that will complement the cheese. A few suggestions include olives, olive tapenade, Balsamic vinegar, dried apricots, grapes, fig preserves, quince paste, chutney, Chorizo, prosciutto, water biscuits, a crusty baguette, slices of artisan rye, marcona almonds, and grainy mustard.
Prepare: Cheese is more flavorful at room temperature. Remove the cheeses from the refrigerator one hour before serving. Slice some of each cheese to make it easier for your guests. Place the condiments and accompaniments in small serving dishes.
Arrange: Choose a large platter, marble slab, or wooden board to arrange your cheeses. Place a few of the accompaniments on the cheese board. Serve with bread and crackers in a separate basket or bowl.
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Photo by Matthew Mead