Nothing makes a good party great like an epic cheeseboard, and yes anyone can throw (an amazing) one together! I've been making them since 2015, and let me tell you.. they weren't always so pretty. However, I realized that with a little understanding and research on how to build one, they now are well....you judge. I like to think they look pretty fine. So I'm going to give you a little crash course on how to build a winter cheeseboard (and cheeseboards in general.) I'll try to share all the knowledge I can think of...so that you can be confident and build (dare I say) an epic one too.
The first thing I like to keep in mind is the SEASON. The board should reflect what is available in the supermarket now. That keeps it cost-effective and gives it the right feel for the time of year you are enjoying it in. Since this board is a winter one, I've included foods like pears, roasted chestnuts, and pomegranate.
Here are the components to your board:
- Pick your board. That will help you figure out more or less how many things you will need. In general, they are assembled on a wood surface like a cutting board or a specifically deigned cheeseboard. However, you may use anything with a flat surface that you'd like (think a slate board, a large plate, or your trusty sheet pan. )
- CHEESE! the main part. Try to a select a variety of flavors and textures for a good experience. Remember to cater to your crowd, so if they aren't the adventurous type, maybe skip the stinky cheese! Here are some examples of cheeses in a variety of textures. Most cheeses fall under these 4 categories:
Aged*: Aged cheddar, Gruyere, Gouda
Firm & Semi-firm: Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack.
Soft: Brie, Camembert, and Chevre
*Remember to check if one must wait 6 hours after eating the aged cheese.
3. Add some savory. Think olives, pickles, spicy mustard, roasted nuts, and roasted red peppers.
4. Add sweet like seasonal fresh and dried fruits, honey, chocolate, and preserves.
5. A variety of breads like bread sticks, crackers, crisps , and baguette slices. Try to incorporate different shapes, textures, and flavors.
(optional) 6. Garnish. Bring the board together with some seasonal touches. In the winter/fall you can add things like fresh sprigs or rosemary or thyme and in the summer/spring edible flowers.
How to arrange the board:
Start by placing the cheeses all around the board. They ARE the star of the show after all! Next, arrange the fruits, crackers, and little bowls on the board. Fill in all the little nooks and crannies with the small things like dried fruits and nuts.
Here's what I've included on this board:
Za'atar baked camembert, cheddar cheese, olive muenster cheese, pomegranate, pear, persimmon, roasted chestnuts, dried apricots, kalamata olives, honey, almonds, garlic crackers, and fruit and nut crisps.
Za'atar Baked Camembert
- 1 camembert
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon za'atar
- Preheat oven to 350 F Remove the cheese from the paper wrapper, but keep the wooden box. Place the cheese back in the box and score the top in a cross hatch design. Drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with za'atar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until gorgeous and oozy.
Don't forget to crack open a bottle of wine!
I hope this guide was helpful. Please feel free (as always) to reach out to me with any questions or comments below!
Until next time,