It really is as easy as 1-2-3 to assemble a beautiful cheese board when you remember a few simple rules.
In just a few short days, billions of people will be ringing in the New Year with parties and celebrations all across the globe. Whether you’re planning a small intimate count-down to 2017 or a large blow-out party, a beautiful cheese board is essential! Follow these few simple rules to assemble a perfectly elegant party tray.
CHOOSE THE CHEESE
Let’s start with the basics. A balanced cheese board requires only three different cheeses. If you’re not familiar with gourmet cheeses, don’t worry! I’ve found that the people at the cheese counter are very helpful—just let them know what you’re planning and they’ll be happy to offer suggestions for what’s popular at the time.
For your cheese board, you’ll need:
- A hard, aged cheese. Try a wedge of asiago, manchego, or one of my new favorites, BellaVitano, which comes infused with Merlot, expresso, or balsamic. Very nice!
- A soft/semi-soft cheese or a creamy cheese spread—perhaps an herb-infused goat cheese, a creamy brie, or even a spreadable Dubliner drizzled with a little honey.
- A blue cheese. Yes, indeed! Don’t be afraid of blue cheese, just request a milder blue. Seriously, it pairs well with the sweets on your board.
DON’T FORGET THE CONDIMENTS
A proper cheese board requires more than just cheese and crackers to compliment and enhance the flavors of the cheese. Again, there are three simple rules to remember.
- Add something salty or briny. A small bowl of nuts (cashews, walnuts, pistachios) or cocoa dusted almonds will add a little crunch. A nice summer sausage, genoa salami, prosciutto, or slices of ham will turn your cheese board into a charcuterie (cured meats). Or, for an Italian flare, add an assortment of olives.
- Add something sweet like honey to balance the cheese. One of my favorite spreads for cheese is fig jam (which pairs especially well with manchego).
- Add fresh grapes, apple or pear slices, or even dried fruit, like figs or apricots.
THE FINAL STEP
Provide an assortment of crackers, thin breadsticks, or a sliced baguette and allow your guests to experiment with layering the cheeses and other goodies.
P.S. A FEW SERVING IDEAS
- Build your cheese board on marble pastry board or a piece of slate for an elegant look.
- Go casual and serve the cheese on a butcher block or cutting board.
- Line a tray with parchment paper and write the cheese names with a marker on the parchment. A piece of butcher paper could work as well.
Happy New Year!