Cheeses: I aim for 3-4 types, with a mix of hard, semi-firm, soft, and blue-veined.
Crackers: Choose a few kinds of sturdy, quality crackers, wheat, rice, and flavored varieties.
Bread: Along with crackers, slices of mini baguettes or cocktail bread are also fun.
Meats: They go great with cheese. Try prosciutto, capicola, salami, chorizo, and summer sausage.
Fruits: These can be fresh, dried, or both. I like to include berries, currants, dates, and figs.
Salty stuff: Balance sweet fruits with salty olives, gherkins, cornichons, or giardiniera. Salted and smoked nuts are also a nice addition.
Jams and honey: They're gorgeous on the board and add interesting flavors. Spicy chutneys, chunky jams, floral or hot honey, and relishes are good on cheese boards.
Fresh herbs: Sprigs of thyme, mint, rosemary, and dill—fresh herbs add beauty and wonderful aroma to your cheese board.
Choose a board:
Select a board to fit the size of your party, and the amount of food needed to feed them. This is your canvas! I love to use a dark slate board because it makes the foods pop. Wood or marble cutting boards are also great choices, especially those with unique grains or patterns.
Add the cheeses:
Put cheese on the board with space between different types. Hard cheeses can be sliced, then fanned or stacked on the board.
Add crackers and/or bread:
Like the cheese, crackers and sliced bread take a lot of room, so I add them next. Add little piles, stacks, and fans of crackers and bread slices around the board.
Put meats (if using) on the board:
Slice your cured and smoked meats into bite-sized portions that are easy to select and nibble. Intersperse them among the other ingredients.
Add dried and fresh fruit them to the board in small piles or trails, and let them overlap the other food in some places.
Add salty foods:
Place these across the cheese board: pickles, olives, salty nuts, cornichons, and pickled veggies.
Drizzle jams and sauces:
Spoon fruity jams, spicy chutneys, chili sauce, or floral honey on the board and over cheeses. If you make your own jams or relishes, this is the perfect opportunity to show them off.
Add fresh herbs:
Tuck sprigs of herbs like dill, rosemary, mint, and thyme around the board. Take this opportunity to fill in any gaps with additional fruits, a scattering of nuts, salty stuff, and sauces.
Slice and serve:
Present the board with a slice cut out of the cheeses, along with a few small knives or cheese cutters. Sink a knife right into softer cheeses. You can also add little cheese markers to show folks the varieties on the board.
Note: the nutrition info will vary depending on the ingredients and amounts used on your cheese board.
How do you make a cheese board look good?Check that the board and utensils are spotlessly clean. Look over your fresh ingredients and remove anything that's shriveled or brown. Remove wraps and packaging, and skip over any broken crackers. Begin with the largest ingredients and then fill in with smaller ones. As you build your board, don't worry about placing things symmetrically: it will be more eye-catching with an asymmetrical arrangement, and with ingredients in multiple spots.Can I put cream cheese on the cheese board?Absolutely! Some tasty ideas for cream cheese are to blend diced herbs or spices into the cheese, or, pour chili sauce or pepper jelly over plain cream cheese. Try my recipe for Pesto & Bacon Cheese Spread.