When creating and serving cheese boards, nations always tend to serve them differently. For instance, here in America we actually serve cheese boards as a starter whereas in France they serve them right before dessert, and in England, they serve them as the finale (save the best ’til last, right?) The fact is, regardless of when we serve cheese boards, they are a deliciously welcomed indulgence, especially in the finer restaurants and at dinner parties.
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When it comes to cheese boards, it can vary what you put on them, they can be as simple or as extravagant as you please. However, when it comes to preparing and presenting your cheese board, it can be tricky as they tend to be like a work of art. So here is a perfect guide to help you select and display the best cheese board to be enjoyed to the fullest. Crack open a bottle of wine and indulge in your favorite cheese as you plan your next cheese board.
Selecting What Goes On Your Cheese Board
When it comes to preparing your board, it is best to serve around 4-5 cheeses, this will ensure a good selection while not overwhelming your palate at the same time. Visiting a good cheese store (such as Shisler’s Cheese House!) will ensure variety and good quality cheese. A great tip when you are selecting your cheese would be to aim for different tastes, styles, and textures.
A sample of an interesting but relatively simple cheese board would be:
– A soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert
– A blue vein cheese such as Danish Blue Cheese
If you want to go further with your selections, you should add a spreadable cheese such as fresh chevre, or an extra special cheese which is flavored with wine, herbs or spices.
Keep It Themed!
To make your board even more creative, it is great to build around a theme. An idea could be to offer only cheese from different kinds of milk- cow, sheep, or goat’s milk. Another theme could be to offer cheese from a particular country or region a.k.a all American cheeses or Italian cheeses only. Keeping themes will ensure fun and variety. You could even pair the cheese board with a selection of wines from the chosen region as well.
How To Present Your Cheese Board
Now is the important part. You could have the most delicious cheeses possible, but if they are not presented in a way that gets mouths watering, it can be a waste. The best way to begin is by choosing a tray or platter which is large enough to keep cheeses of different shapes and sizes from touching. The type of board can also vary, wood boards are traditional, whereas marble is slightly more elegant and they offer a cool surface and a nicely colored background which will contrast well to make your cheeses pop even more.
Arranging your cheeses is important for making sure they are most accessible to your guests. Put the smaller cheeses in the middle, and then place the soft cheeses around them. The hard cheeses should then be arranged on the outside of the cheese board so that they are easier to cut.
Accompaniments On Your Cheese Board
It is important to garnish your piece of art with natural ingredients. Grapes, apples, parsley, celery, tomatoes and dried berries all are natural and add beautiful colors and flavorings to the board and the perfect contrast and compliments. You might also wish to add olives, onions or lightly roasted nuts in separate dishes. To balance it all out, it is best to add a variety of crackers and bread that aren’t too strong or salty. While you want to keep it simple, that doesn’t mean you cannot treat your guests to something special. Adding slices of tangy sourdough or black pepper biscuits will definitely keep it special.
For beverages, wine, beer, and cocktails are all the popular, classic accompaniments. Put simple, blue cheeses pair well with Sauternes and Port, fresh cheeses pair well with Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc, and aged cheeses with Zinfandel or Burgundy. For more of the extravagant soiree, perhaps offer a different wine for each cheese. Again, tying it back into themes, the best way is to choose a wine from the same region of the cheese.
Tips On Serving
– Serve each cheese with its own knife to avoid mixing flavors.
– Remove wrapping from cheeses, but leave on rinds.
– Serve cheeses at room temperature for optimal flavor. To do this, take cheeses out of the refrigerator up to 2 hours before serving.
After The Dinner Party
With any leftover cheeses, you should discard any leftover soft cheese, but unused hard cheeses can be re-wrapped and replaced in the refrigerator for your next cheese board. If your leftover cheese happens to be too small or too odd in shape for another cheese board, you can simply melt it, shred it or bake it into a delicious cheese recipe.