How to Assemble the Perfect Cheese Board

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013

Cheese is a wonderful appetizer and pairs so well with fruit, nuts, olives, jams, salami, bread and of course, wine! We’ve put together some ideas to inspire you to create a beautiful and delicious cheese tray to serve at your next gathering or to enjoy while sharing a glass of wine with your hubby!

 

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The signature “grazing” board served locally at The Pantry.

When assembling a cheese board, think about size, texture and taste, as you want the presentation to look appealing and the tastes to complement one another. The general rule of thumb is about 4 ounces per person. I like to choose several from the aged category like an aged Cheddar along with something soft, like a round of Brie. A log of goat cheese is an absolute must for me, as I adore a good goat cheese! To round things out, I try to be adventurous and try something new, usually with the guidance of my cheesemonger friends at Whole Foods, who are always spot on with their recommendations.

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Shapes, textures and taste all play a role in the perfect pairings. Typically, the cheeses are arranged in strength from mildest to strongest in a clockwise fashion. Photo credit: www.designmom.com

It’s also sometimes fun to just focus on one type of cheese and serve different varieties of it or to pick a region to highlight or showcase some local artisan cheeses. Make it your own.

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Choosing a variety of textures makes sampling a delight! Photo credit: www.ohsolovelyvintage.blogspot

 

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Different shapes add visual interest. Photo credit: www.designmom.com

Once you’ve decided on your cheeses, it’s time to pick your accompaniments. I like a mix of sweet and salty. If you’re at Whole Foods, then stop at the antipasto bar where you can grab some olives, peppadews, marinated artichoke hearts or roasted peppers. Nuts, jams, dried and fresh seasonal fruit can also be included, as well as crackers or fresh baked bread. 

Now for the arranging. Take a look at these inspiring cheese boards to get some ideas as to how you’d best like to showcase your edible masterpiece. Think about using something non-traditional or a food-safe serving piece that might not be the obvious choice.

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A round wooden tray makes for a nice cheese board. Photo credit: Pinterest.com

 

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This tray seems to play on various round shapes. Photo credit: www.marthastewart.com

 

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Color, texture and taste – this board has it all. Photo credit: www.peachesandcake.com

 

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A simple cutting board can make for the perfect back drop. Photo credit: Pinterest.com

 

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Slicing can add visual interest and make it easier for guests to serve themselves. Photo credit: Pinterest.com

And remember, it’s not just about what you put on the tray. The serving piece is just as important to the overall presentation. Traditionally, we see wooden boards being used which are great, but marble and slate slabs, ceramic plates, glass platters and just about anything else that is food safe will do.

For ideas, here are a couple fabulous options we found available locally:

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19th Century Europeean Timber Appetizer Board with Handles $150.00
Ben and Lael Handcrafted Solid Copper Soft Cheese or Butter Knife $110.00
Ben and Lael Handcrafted Solid Copper Brie Server $110.00. Available at Chickadee

 

 

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Love the veins in this Marble Cheese Plate $90 at Lamb’s Ear.

 

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The wavy pattern of this plate adds to the overall presentation. Available at Table Matters for $60. Knife available for $14.

It really is a very simple, yet elegant way to serve an impressive appetizer. And don’t forget the wine, beer or fruit juice–these help cut the cheese (the richness, that is) and clear the palate. Bon appétit!

 

 

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