Cheeseboards are my love language. I use them to show my love for my friends and family, for self-care and for my customers to let them know how much I appreciate them. They are serious business in my world, but the reality is they are super fun and easy to put together. I love working with quality local ingredients, but the reality is if you have some cheddar and almonds in your pantry you can still make it work! I’m sharing a few simple tips (and tricks) that I use to give them a little extra pizzazz.
Choose your cheese
Depending on how many people you’re serving you can absolutely just do one cheese that you love. Choose a crowd pleaser and layer up on fun other add-ons to stretch it. If you’ve got a big group, three cheese that are all a bit different is a no brainer. One soft and mild (like a camembert or brie), one a little firmer and funky (like a blue cheese or a funky goat) and one hard cheese (like Manchego or cheddar)
Add Some Color
This is where you can really go nuts and have fun. Add different flavor profiles to compliment your cheeses. I like to pick a color story here and run with it. For an autumnal board I love dried cranberries, pomegranates and figs. For a springier option try pickled or roasted vegetables with lots of herbs for garnish.
Make it pretty
A beautiful wooden cheese board does wonders to elevate even the most minimal of spreads. Layer in small vintage bowls and dishes, Bakelite knives, horn spoons or wooden serving utensils to give it depth and interest. Maintain the same tone throughout to achieve that effortlessly mismatched look. Is it dainty and floral or modern and bold? Choose pieces that are in the same family or color and they will undoubtedly work perfectly!
- Brown parchment paper is your friend – Keep parchment on hand and you’ll be amazed at its uses. Slide it under a soft cheese to ease cleanup or use a piece on a cookie sheet to elevate the look and provide an easy and light way to transport your snacks!
- Upgrade the serve ware – take pickles or olives out of the jar and pour into a weck jar for a homemade look.
- Pile it up – add nuts or fruits directly on the board for a lush overflowing look
- Visit the bulk section. Grab small amounts of tamari pumpkin seeds, sesame sticks, dried apricots, roasted cashews and the like to add variety to your board without overspending on big bagged quantities
- Do a little planning. Grab a note pad and make a list. It’s easy to get to the store and go nuts so develop a plan and stick to it. Give yourself the flexibility to swap out endive for some really beautiful pink radicchio if it happens to speak to you but keep it simple. Avoid buying items simply for garnish or wow factor and stick to things you and your guests will actually want to eat. Load up your basket and then take stock… if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably want to pull one or two things to put back for next time.
- Remember there is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s just cheese! People love cheese! Have fun with it!