I am often reminded how simple, but also how daunting, making your own beautiful board can be. Unsure of the "rules," folks often follow none at all, just tossing a piece of cheese on a plate with some crackers. Don't let the rules befuddle you. YOU CAN DO IT! Answers to these five simple questions are all you need:
- Cheese novices? Opt for more approachable selections. Vegetarians? Skip the charcuterie (or serve it separately). Kids? Keep things mild and colorful.
2) How Much?
- Select 3-5 cheeses for variety without overwhelming your guests.
- For an appetizer or dessert, serve 3-4 total ounces per person.
- For a main course, serve 5-6 ounces per person.
3) Which Ones?
- Offer different looks, tastes, and feels.
- Start with one soft-ripened, one semi-firm, and one hard cheese.
- Throw in one or two with interesting colors and/or flavors.
4) With What?
- Bread & crackers: sliced baguette, raisin nut bread, interesting flatbreads. Tip: serve more than one!
- Savory: Nuts, pickles, olives & mustards add savory tang while creating a beautiful visual element.
- Sweet: Fruit jam, quince paste, or honey. Fresh and dried fruits add additional sweetness, acidity, and color.
- Allow cheeses to sit for an hour so they are their most flavorful.
- Provide a knife for each cheese so cheeses don’t mingle.
- Allow access (remove hard rind, point cheese outward, leave space).
- Provide cheese labels (if you have time).