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by Paula Butler

If you’ve found you’re way here, we’re assuming you’re a cheese lover, and if you’re a cheese lover than we’re assuming you would never say no to a good cheese board. Ah – that delicious spread of creamy, tangy, salty melt-in-your-mouth cheese and delightful accompaniments – tangy dried fruits, crispy crackers, candied nuts, dry chorizo. Yes, the cheese board can suit a variety of tastes and flavor preferences, and it’s incredibly easy to create your own artisanal cheese platter that will rival one found in a restaurant by keeping these simple tips in mind.

Start with the cheese

Choose 3 – 5 different cheeses that showcase a variety of milks (cow, goat and sheep), textures (essentially soft, semi soft and hard) and flavors.

For example, you could match a fresh and creamy goat cheese with a soft ripened Camembert, semi-soft havarti and hard aged manchego then round out the flavors with a robust Gorgonzola.

Try placing the cheeses in order from softest to hardest with the stinkiest cheese at the end.

Of course, we personally also go for farm- or home-made cheeses instead of cheese churned out in factories. It’s even possible for you to easily make cheese at home with a cheese making kit. Each of our cheese making kits comes with the ingredients you need (except the milk) to make hundreds of cheeses including a number of simple recipe for cheeses like burrata, chevre and mozzarella that could fill in the fresh and creamy cheese spots on your board.

Add your extras

As with the cheese, it’s important that the little extras you add to the mix also feature a blend of sweet and savory flavors as well as different textures.

There’s no need to go overboard with accompaniments – you still want the cheese to shine! With this in mind, try adding:

  • 1 sweet honey or jam
  • 1 – 2 types of dried or fresh fruits, such as cherries, figs, grapes or apples
  • 1 – 2 types of charcuterie, such as chorizo or prosciutto 

Something zesty, such as spicy mustard, salted nuts or pickled vegetables can also build out the flavor and texture pairings. 

For bread and crackers, keep things simple – again, you want to be able to appreciate the flavor of the cheese. Choose a plain, sturdy cracker that won’t crumble or opt for plain baguette rounds. Flavored, salted or herbed bread and crackers can mess with the flavor of the cheese and potentially clash with your condiments.

Other cheeseboard tips

If your cheeseboard is going to serve as your main food item, plan to purchase (or make with your cheesemaking kit!) 3 – 4 ounces of cheese per person, or about three pounds for eight people.

Take your cheeses out of the refrigerator about one hour before serving so they can warm up slightly and be enjoyed at room temperature.

Leave the rinds on the cheeses and use a separate knife for each cheese so as to not cross contaminate flavors.

When slicing cheese, make slices that naturally follow the cheese’s shape. For example, cut round cheese into thin wedges or triangles, while square or log-shaped cheese should be sliced in strips or rounds. For aged cheddars and bleu cheeses, you can break this rule a bit by “chunking” the cheese, or using the tip of a knife to crumble the cheese apart into small chunks.

Now it’s time to get started on making your own cheeseboard and call some friends over to enjoy!

Paula Butler


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