THE ART OF A CHEESE BOARD (or if I’m feeling fancy, charcuterie board).
Ahhhh one of my favorite past times…eating cheese:) I swear, there is no better crowd pleaser than a big board filled with CHEESE and MEATS. I can admit, sometimes cheese boards can seem outrageously fancy and intimidating. BUT…I have a scientifically proven method to creating the perfect cheese board, and I have simplified it into a few easy steps just for you guys!
So take a seat, get out your notebook, cause class is in session!
Cheese Board 101: Introduction to Charcuterie
- Cheese Selection. Variety variety variety. My recommendation is 3 cheeses minimum; 1. BRIE, 2. a cheddar (flavored or plain), and 3. a spicy variety (like a pepper jack). And if you really want to set the bar high, use cream cheese and top with a jam…think of it as extra credit. You’re going to want to arrange the cheeses on your board first, as these will be the center pieces. Spread them out, so they can shine in their own perspective corners! I like to cut some pieces of each cheese block prior to serving…helps blend the board together.
- Meat Selection. I recommend 2-3 different types of cured meats (meats that are salted, dried, or preserved). You can either get sausage, and cut into thin slices, or get the pre-packaged thinly sliced meat (capocolla, prosciutto, pancetta, etc.). Take your cured meat and scatter them around the cheeses. If its a thin slice of meat, just pinch them in the middle and lay on the board to where it almost makes a tent. Lay a couple of pieces together to form a pile.
- Accessorize. This is where the men get separated from the boys, where the leaders pull away from the pack! This is where you make your cheese board look like something out of a magazine, while everyone else is serving meat and cheese roll ups. The best thing you can do is go to your local grocery store and scour the antipasto bar. Get anything and everything that looks good. My favs are roasted garlic cloves, stuffed olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and marinated mushrooms.
Once you have your antipasto selections, fill in the empty spaces of the board with your items. Don’t be afraid to lay them on some of the meats or other antipasto items if you run out of room. I believe its better to stack, then to leave open space. Once finished, top off with some nuts (walnuts or some Spanish almonds), herb sprigs, and serve with crackers or toasted bread!
And just like that, you have created a beautiful masterpiece that will live on forever (this is a fact because everyone will be taking pictures of it). Mostly what I love about cheese boards is that there is so much going on, and you truly have the freedom to make it your own, both as the creator and consumer. Have fun with this one, and just take it step by step!
The Art of a Cheese Board
- 3-4 blocks variety of cheese (brie, aged cheddar, pepper jack, cream cheese topped with hot pepper jam)
- 2-3 cured meats (prosciutto, pancetta, capocollo)
- 1 cup variety of antipasto (garlic cloves, sun-dried tomatoes, stuffed olives, marinated mushrooms)
- 2 sprigs herbs (thyme and rosemary)
- 1 loaf french baguette
- Grab a large serving platter or wooden board. Place cheeses on board first, and arrange so they are spread out from one another. Cut a couple pieces of each to get it started.
- Arrange meats around cheese blocks. For the thinly sliced meats, pinch them in the middle and lay on the board to where it almost makes a tent.
- Take antipasto items and fill in open spaces of the board. Top off with nuts, sprigs of herbs, and serve with bread and/or crackers.