As a registered dietitian nutritionist and self-proclaimed foodie, I love a good cheese board. Not only are thoughtfully curated cheese boards beautiful to look at, they are loaded with nutrition. When it comes to nutrition, I often am talking about variety and balance – and the cheese board delivers on both! You get a balance of nutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, fat, fiber and other essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as a variety of different types of foods, textures, and colors. Plus, a cheese board is completely customizable – you can build it according to your unique taste and dietary preferences!
In honor of National Cheese Day on June 4th, we’re sharing some tips on how to build the perfect cheese board for your next gathering (or date night!). Cheese boards are the perfect appetizer to set out at a party because there’s a little something for everyone. It also makes for a fun al fresco dinner date night, preferably with a glass of vino or mocktail in hand!
Building a cheese board from scratch might sound intimidating but it’s really easy and fun when you have some guidelines to help you along the way.
Tips for Building a Cheese Board
- Choose a board! Wood or slate cheese boards work well but if you don’t have a designated cheese board at home you can use a cutting board, serving platter, or a baking sheet!
- Select your cheeses. Variety in taste and texture is key when building your board and cheese is no exception! Depending on how many people you’ll be serving, I like to start with at least three cheeses. As a guideline, choose at least one aged cheese (like cheddar), one blue cheese (like gorgonzola) and a soft/creamy cheese (like brie). If you have a number of different cheeses, consider using cheese markers so everyone knows what they’re getting. Also, don’t forget to let your cheeses come to room temperature before serving so they can release their delicious aromas!
- Add some charcuterie. Choose at least three different types of meat (did you know odd numbers are appealing to the eye?!) with varying spice levels. My favorite combination is prosciutto, salami, and sopressata.
- Breads, anyone? Your cheeses need a vehicle for delivery so add a variety of bread products to pair with. Think slices of baguette, crackers, and even breadsticks.
- Bring on the savory! Every board needs some sweet and savory. When it comes to savory pairings, try olives, cornichons, and a variety of nuts! I like adding almonds and walnuts to my boards.
- Now it’s time for sweet! Fresh and dried fruit pairs beautifully with cheese so make fruit a must-have for your board. Think sliced apples, pears, fresh cherries, grapes, or whatever is in-season! Dried fruit like apricots, figs, cherries and cranberries would also work well. And then you can add other fun sweet treats like candied nuts, pieces of chocolate, or a jar of honey!
- Condiments to seal the deal. You know those small jars of jams and chutneys you’ve collected as favors from weddings and showers? Now is the time to put them to use! Add jams, chutneys, spicy mustards, and tapenades. You can place the whole jar on the board or serve them in small bowls.
- Finish off with a garnish! This is totally optional but if you’re a visual person (like me), you’ll love a pop of color and texture throughout your board. Think sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary, edible flowers in the summer, or even a sprinkling of arugula can go a long way.