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How To Guide…


 
A good cheese board is a conversation piece. Guests love to compare their favorites and share the discovery of sampling new selections. Some hosts are intimidated by the cheese board’s elegant exterior, but you don’t have to be! Just read these step-by-step instructions to see how effortless & rewarding crafting a cheese board can be.
 

Decide How Much Cheese You Need

This depends on what kind of eaters your guests are and when you are serving the cheese board. As an appetizer with a group of heavy eaters, we suggest 3- 4 ounces per person. If your guests are grazers, we recommend going as low as 2 ounces. Serving a cheese board as the centerpiece of a cocktail party or hor’s d’oeuvres styled meal requires more, about 5 – 6 ounces per person.
 
You can easily lower the amount of cheese you serve per person by including filling accompaniments, such as fruit slices, olives, nuts and dense breads. The fun of a cheese board is making unique and delicious pairings. Few people (if any) will be eating cheese without accompaniments.
 

Choose Your Cheeses

Variety is the secret of a good cheese board. You should serve between 3 and 6 cheeses to offer your guests enough options without overwhelming them. Here’s an easy formula to ensure your cheese board has enough variance in flavor & texture:
 
If serving 3 Cheeses – Offer one soft cheese, one hard cheese and one blue cheese.
If serving 4 Cheeses – Offer one aged, one firm, one soft and one blue cheese.
If serving 6 Cheeses – Offer one soft & fresh, one soft & ripe, one blue, one semi-soft, one semi-hard and one hard cheese.
 
Use this chart to easily select cheeses from each variety and complementary accompaniments:

 
Try to offer at least one familiar cheese. It will help open the door for those who are more apprehensive towards less recognizable cheeses. Try triple crème or an aged cheddar.
 

Pick Accompaniments

There are a few staple items that will go well with just about any cheese board. These include walnuts, almonds and pecans. Dried fruits such as cranberries and figs are perfect for the season. Fresh fruits such as green apple slices, pears and grapes go with most cheeses. Cured meats, like prosciutto or salami, also are an essential addition to most cheese boards.
 

Breads

Three bread or cracker varieties are ideal to complement the range of cheese textures on your board. Include classic, neutral breads, such as a French baguette or sourdough loaf (We recommend Caraluzzi’s Parisian Baguette). Add a crustier, denser bread to compliment soft cheeses (Try Michelina’s Baguette or our Rustica Loaf). Lastly add a thin, wafer like cracker. Get adventurous and choose breads baked with walnuts, dried fruit or olives – Such as Chabaso’s Cranberry Pecan Loaf or LaBrea’s Artisan Olive Loaf. Avoid herbed, seeded or garlic breads which will compete with the flavor of your cheeses.
 

Drinks

Port is perfect for a dessert board and Pinot Noir or Prosecco pairs well with most cheeses for any course. When serving bold, earthy or pungent cheeses, a stout beer or rich Merlot will make an exceptional pairing. Soft fresh cheeses can be paired with a mug of green tea as an after or mid-meal refresher.
 

Presentation

There are several ways you can display your cheese. One option is to place all your cheeses on a platter or cutting board, scattering your accompaniments around the cheeses in separate baskets. Be sure the cheeses are spaced far enough apart for them to breathe – and for your guests to cut them easily.
 
You can also place accompaniments with each cheese on separate dishes. Doing so subtly suggests the best pairings for you guests to sample.
 
Place all cheeses out an hour before serving. Cheese should be served at room temperature when the flavors are most recognizable. You will want to arrange your cheeses in a clockwise position, starting with the mildest cheese. The cheeses should be placed in order of intensity, so flavors build as guests sample from the circle.
 
Use a separate knife for each cheese to avoid mixing flavors. Cut round cheeses into wedges, except for brie and other incredibly soft cheeses. It is also a good idea to set out placards for each cheese, so your guests know the exact name of the flavor they fell in love with!