5 Easy Steps To Create The Cheese Board Of Your Dreams

Cheese boards are all the rage right now. Not only are they pleasing to the eyes, they’re also extremely easy to put together. However, before we get started on what you've probably clicked on this article for (i.e. how to create the perfect cheese board), it's important to discuss what a cheese board is and how it's different from a charcuterie board (yes, contrary to popular belief, they're actually not the same thing). 

Cheese boards and charcuterie boards are largely similar, which is why you'll often find the same items on both of these boards. Meat and cheese pair wonderfully together and they often overlap in both texture and flavour. It’s thus extremely natural for a charcuterie board and cheese board to have similar foods on them. While these two terms are often used quite interchangeably, they're not exactly the same thing. 

What is a cheese board?

A cheese board often contains a selection of different cheeses, as well as foods that pair well with those cheeses. Compared to a charcuterie board, a cheese board typically has sweeter pairings, such as fruits, jams, nuts, honey, etc. Salty and briny food also go very well with cheese, which is why you'll often also see some charcuterie on your cheese board as well, though they're definitely not a compulsory addition.

What is a charcuterie board?

As suggested by its name, a charcuterie board has a selection of meats, as well as foods that pair well with those meats. Charcuterie boards often include things like bread, crackers, vegetables, nuts and fruits. As mentioned above, cheese pairs well with meat, so you could certainly go ahead and add some cheese on your charcuterie board as well. However, since the focus of a charcuterie board is on complementing the meat, it’s important to not overwhelm your board with too much cheese.

Now that you have a clearer understanding on the differences between a cheese and charcuterie board, let's move onto what you've been waiting for  a 5-step guide on how to assemble the perfect cheese board!

5-step guide to assembling the cheese board of your dreams: 

Round circular cheese board with other small bowls placed on the table Rectangular cheese board

What you'll need: 

  1. Start with the board  When assembling a cheese board, you'd usually do so on a slate, wooden tray or a board designed specifically to be used as a cheese board. However, if you don't already own one of these, you don't need to rush out to the shops and purchase one. You could certainly get by with using a plate, cutting board or even a baking sheet. All you really need is a flat surface that will allow you to display everything nicely. 
  2. Pick your cheeses — Cheese boards usually include a wide variety of cheeses, from aged cheeses to soft cheeses to firm cheeses to blue cheeses. 
  3. Optional: Add some charcuterie/cured meat — Not all cheese boards have charcuterie, but they're certainly a good addition to have. Some popular options include prosciutto, salami, sopressata, chorizo, or mortadella.
  4. Add some savory snacks  Think olives, pickles, roasted peppers, artichokes, almonds, cashews, or spicy mustards.
  5. Add some sweets  Think seasonal and dried fruits (e.g. dried figs, apricots), candied nuts, preserves, jams, honey, or even chocolate.
  6. Offer a variety of breads  Common options include sliced baguette, bread sticks, and a variety of crackers in different shapes, sizes, and flavours.
  7. Finish it off with some garnishes  For a finishing touch, you might want to add a couple of edible flowers, fresh herbs, or additional fruits to give your board an elevated look and feel. 

Assembly time:

Step 1: Start with the big items like your cheese and bowls/saucers 

  • Start with the things that take up the most room on a cheese plate, everything else can be tucked into the little bits of space later on

  • You can skip the bowls or saucers if you'd like, but they're great for holding all the dips and smaller items. (Bonus: the height and round shape helps break up the cheese board to make it more fun to look at.)

  • Next, add the cheeses. Ideally, your cheese should be served at room temperature, so you should aim to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Step 2: Add your meats and breads

  • You can add your meats a few different ways  in a simple stack (saves time if you’re in a rush), fanned out in a line or half-circle (works best on large boards since this takes up more space) or by folding larger pieces into fun shapes (takes up less space and adds some visual interest).

  • Next, the bread! You'd want to dedicate as much space as possible to your cheese, so try not to overcrowd the board with too many breads. A handful of crackers and breads on the cheese board will do. The rest can be set aside on a separate bowl for top-ups or for anyone who wants more of them. For your crackers or crostini, fan them out along the edges of the cheese plate to make them easy to grab.

Step 3: Fill in the large gaps with fruits and nuts

  • Now that you've gotten the big pieces out on your cheese plate, it’s time to have some fun and start filling in the gaps!

  • First, grab your fruits and scatter them in a few spots across the board. For a more balanced look, place them on both sides of the platter. Apart from making your cheese board more balanced, it also makes it easy for guests to grab them, regardless of which side of the table they're sitting at.

  • Next, add your nuts! Drop them into the smaller blank spaces on the middle of your board to add some texture and cover any open spots. Don't fill up all of these gaps though. You'd want to leave a few spaces around the edges for olives or any extras that you’re going to be adding to your board!

Step 4: Add your savoury snacks 

  • If you’re planning on adding some savoury snacks like olives to your cheese board, now's the perfect time to add them! You can place them anywhere you’d like, either in the empty gaps on the cheeseboard or in the bowls/saucers that you placed on your cheeseboard earlier in step 1.

  • If you placed some bowls or saucers on your cheese board in step 1, it's time to fill them up! You can add anything you like to these little bowls – olives, nuts, more fruit, jams, preserves, honey, sea salt, hummus, etc. 

Step 5: Tuck your garnishes into the remaining nooks and crannies

  • At this point, your cheese board's 99% done! All that’s left is to fill in the tiny gaps, to make your cheese board look full and more inviting.

  • With cheese boards tending to look rather red, white or brown, it's always nice to mix things up a little and inject more colour onto your board. Green's a colour that goes extremely well with a cheese board, so you could certainly opt to include things like fresh herbs or fresh veggies like arugula, etc.

  • Apart from filling it up any remaining gaps on your cheese board, you could also tuck some of your garnishes around the edges, to better frame your cheese board. 

References: 

  1. https://kitchenseer.com/cheese-board-vs-charcuterie/
  2. https://www.lemontreedwelling.com/how-to-make-the-perfect-cheese-board/
  3. https://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/how-to-make-a-cheese-plate/



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