There’s nothing better than getting cosy with a glass of wine and a great spread of nibbles.
These days, creating a delectable grazing platter has become somewhat of an art. To help you master it, we’ve gathered all the pro tips you need to make the ultimate cheese board.
STEP 1: Choose your board
The obvious choice to use as your base is a great wooden board, but you can also add drama by going for slate or tiers, a la high tea – and don’t just think rectangular, either. Got a wooden or stone table? Consider assembling your spread directly onto this surface.
STEP 2: Get cheesy
You’ll want a selection of milk bases (cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s) as well as textures and flavour levels: vintage cheddar and gorgonzola are powerful in the mouth, while buffalo mozzarella and brie are creamy and mild. Always make sure your cheeses are at room temperature when you serve them.
Know your cheeses
- Aged: Vintage cheddar, gruyere, gouda.
- Soft: Brie, camembert, goat, mozzarella.
- Firm: Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, edam.
- Blue: Gorgonzola, Roquefort, stilton.
STEP 3: Add other proteins
This might include cured meats (salami, prosciutto, jamon, chorizo) or fish (smoked salmon, pickled herring, white anchovies).
STEP 4: Include savoury
This is where you get to add in a little acid to cut through the richness of the proteins. Think, olives, pickles, artichokes, tapenades, pesto, mustard. Plus some crunch from nuts, like almonds and cashews, and dukkha with olive oil and balsamic on the side.
STEP 5: And sweet
There’s nothing like a good quince paste to complement a rich cheese. Same goes for muscatels and other dried fruits, chutneys and good-quality honey (our favourite is infused with truffles) or honeycomb.
STEP 6: Now for the carbs
You can’t go wrong with freshly baked French baguette cut on a bias (homemade focaccia is also a winner), but also add in crunch with crackers and lavosh in various flavours and sizes.
STEP 7: And finally the garnishes
Thinly-sliced apple and pear, strawberries, figs, bunches of grapes, edible flowers and fresh herbs – this is where you get to have some seasonal fun.
This article on how to make the ultimate cheese board originally appeared in the third issue of Signature@home.