Anyone who knows me knows that I have an affinity for the fancy. I also LOVE being the hostess. Nothing brings me more joy than creating a perfectly decorated atmosphere + food suited for the occasion. From my summer Olympics party to Friendsgiving to a birthday at a baseball game, I always strive to be the hostess with the mostest + channel my inner Monica Gellar. The older I get, the smaller + more intimate my gatherings seem to get. And while my jello-shots are famed, they aren’t quite the right addition to game night or watching your favorite show with friends. Sure, I could bring my cheese ball – a crowd favorite – but it doesn’t have the same finesse. That’s why I’ve started making a simple cheese board!
While cheese boards may seem complicated + hard to make, they are actually easier than you think. Your small about of effort can make a big impact at your next get together. Depending on the size of your party, you may only need a few items that can be found at your local grocery store.
Cheese boards are sometimes called charcuteries, but charcuteries are primarily meat-based + include other things like cheese. The star of a cheese board is the cheese though meat is a nice + hoped for accompaniment by non-vegetarians + vegans. Contextually the terms are used interchangeably. Whatever you want to call the above dish, here is what you’ll need to make it.
The Stars: When servings a cheese board, you want 2-3 ounces of cheese per person. You’ll also want at least four kinds of cheese. The four main groups to include are soft, semi-soft, semi-hard, and hard. Experts suggest one of these cheeses be aged. My cheese board featured Brie, Gouda, Gruyere, and Aged Cheddar. Cheese options:
- Soft: Brie, Brutta, Goat, Feta, Mozzarella
- Semi-Soft: Gouda, Blue Cheese, Havarti, Munster
- Semi-Hard: Manchega, Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Edam, Provolone, Oka
- Hard: Cheddar, Parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, Monterey Jack, Asiago
Cheese Board Extras
Tools: You’ll want a board or platter to serve as your base. I used a hand-crafted wood cutting board. You’ll need a knife ) or knives) for cutting any items + serving any spreads. You’ll also want small dishes to put in any spreads or loose items if you prefer a cleaner look.
Vehicles: This is the carb-y ness you pair the cheese with. I chose two different types of crackers + went with choices that would work with all the cheeses by choosing non-flavored crackers. I also considered melba toast, pretzels, and bread bites. You could choose different vehicles to match with each cheese if you want to get really fancy. Just keep in mind how much space you have on your cheese board.
Sweet things: Sweet pairs very well with cheese. Many people make their own spreads, but if you’re crunched for time, choose pre-made options likes I did. For my sweet elements, I choose strawberry preserves, cran-raisins, and grapes. Other things to consider are jams, apples, berries, pears, honey, and dried fruit. Pinterest can help you find out which fruits pair well with which cheese.
Hearty things: Unless you eat a meat-free diet, I recommend adding at least one meat to your cheese board. I went with prosciutto because you can never go wrong with it! Other options are salami and sliced deli meats. Most charcuteries also include some kind of nut. Other heart additions are olives, peppers, and pickles.
Now that you have the right elements, arrange them on your platter in a way that makes sense. Try to spread out these cheeses + other elements + voilia! You have created the perfect cheese board + a treat your friends are sure to love.