Say Cheese! The Perfect DIY Cheese Board.
Have you been to the gourmet cheese section at your local market? You know there is a crazy amount of varieties to choose from and personal preference plays a big part in whether you will like that $12 Gruyere or not.
Putting together the perfect cheese board can be a tricky thing.
Certainly it can be overwhelming. Not only for you, but also your guests. Cheese, much like wine, can make a person feel unknowledgable and unworldly. Well, not Velveeta, but I digress. The goal here is to put together a nice little cheese board that your guests will enjoy and will not leave you with nervous ticks staring blankly at the Roquefort. You may not be familiar or have tried all the cheeses I’ve chosen. Don’t be afraid. I’ve only chosen friendly options that I know you and your guests will love. I purchased all the cheese from Trader Joe’s as their selection of cheeses is pretty amazing with better pricing than your local grocery store.
Always start with cheddar.
Men, woman and children ALL like cheddar. Right off the bat you know that all your guests have at least one cheese they recognize and like. You could get fancy with a white cheddar, but a nice sharp yellow cheddar will add some visual interest to your cheese board. As with the rest of the cheeses I’ll be sharing, the cheddar is pictured above with some of the items that pair really well with it. Think of cheese like an outfit. There is always something to accessorize it with and play up it’s best features.
Goat cheese is often something you find on fancy salads at your local gourmet restaurant.
And it is a perfect addition to your cheese board. My favorite way to serve the goat cheese is crusted with some herbs or spices as it can be a super creamy vehicle for bold flavors. If you really want to impress your lady guests, serve this Rose Petal Pink Peppercorn goat cheese appetizer. Men will eat it too but it’s pink and well, some guys are afraid of pink. Goat cheese is also pretty mild in flavor so for your guests that aren’t interested in something that smells like feet, this would be a great alternative. Special note: Costco has a great price on goat cheese. It comes in a two pack with a fairly long shelf life so you can use one now and save one for later.
Bleu cheese is the most pungent of all the cheeses on this board.
You might also substitute this with a Gorgonzola or Stilton so choose one that you think looks good and fits your budget. I’m certain that you wouldn’t find me shoveling fistfuls of straight bleu cheese in to my mouth at a party. That would just be too much. But I can guarantee you that you will see me eating a a nice portion with a healthy drizzle of honey and a walnut. Perfection.
And you’ve probably been intrigued by Boursin.
Now is the time for you to try Boursin and know what you have been missing. It is an herb flavored soft cheese (in fact, they have a variety of flavors) and spreads easily on crackers. It is creamy, flavorful and a crowd pleaser. Special note, this is about $3 cheaper at Trader Joe’s than your local grocery store for the same exact brand.
I know you have seen this Boursin cheese at the grocery store.
Most people know smoked Gouda in its round red wax coating, of which I am not a fan.
But an aged Gouda (look for a wedge shape) is similar in texture to Parmesan with a creamy and nutty flavor. This is almost as easy eating as a cheddar and one that your guests will no doubt ask about. Cube it, slice it, eat it by the handful. And be sure to save some for the day after your party to make yourself a grilled bacon and Gouda sandwich. Seriously. Do it.
This cheese is made especially for Trader Joe’s and you HAVE to try it.
It is a well know fact that wine and cheese go very well together. But in my opinion wine IN cheese goes even better. The cross between a cheddar and a Parmesan is delicious and finishes with a hint of the syrah that it has been soaked in. My favorite way to eat this is on a pita cracker (also at Trader Joe’s) but there is no wrong way. It is versatile and probably killer in a recipe but I can’t keep it around long enough to try that.
In addition to the accompaniments we showed you with each of the cheeses above, there are a few other ideas you might want to include. Cured meats never disappoint, especially if there are men present. Quince paste or other fruit jellies are the perfect way to bring in a sweet element that marries so nicely with so many of the varieties.
Lastly, think about adding in some chocolates. Goat cheese and chocolate on a baguette with a sprinkle of sea salt wouldn’t suck. I’m just saying.
I’m not suggesting that all your cheese boards should look like this one. This amount of cheese really would feed an army. Choose at least 3 cheeses and vary them in regards to texture and flavor profile. The amount of cheese you put out will be dependent on the intent of the board. If it is just meant to be set out as an appetizer, use only portions of the cheese as you don’t want your guests to fill up before dinner. But if you are having your guests over for a happy hour situation, you can serve a little bit more so your guests can get as full as they want and not end up passed out on your sofa.
Displaying your cheeses can be done in a number of ways. Here we used an acrylic picture frame from Michaels with the backing removed. Placing the cheese on a piece of slate or wooden cutting board are both perfectly acceptable. Consider even using 3 similar platters and placing each cheese, along with what goes well with it, on their own plates. That way your guests will know exactly what goes together without having to ask.
Keep it simple or jazz it up with flowers. There really is no wrong way to put a cheese board together. Go enjoy some cheese with some friends.
All styling by Lauren of A Fabulous Fete
All images by Sharon of Cupcakes and Cutlery