How to Make the Perfect Cheeseboard
If a restaurant has a cheeseboard on their menu, I must order it. I'm always interested to see each restaurant's cheese selection and their pairings. I love eating old favorites, like a nice triple-crème, but I enjoy sampling new delicacies too.
I'm always in awe of restaurants who curate the most impeccable cheeseboards. They choose the tastiest accompaniments to perfectly complement the cheeses and arrange everything artistically.
I've been wanting to make a cheeseboard just as Instagram-worthy and delicious as any restaurant, so I gave it a try. Here are my tips:
Find cheeses you love
Don't just pick out cheeses simply because they look pretty or you think they'll impress your guests. Find cheeses you know that you're going to love the taste and texture of. I personally love soft cheeses with a mild taste, so I knew I had to incorporate that into my cheeseboard. I chose a buttery triple crème called St. Nuage made in Burgundy and a fluffy chèvre from Goat Rodeo, which is made in Allison Park, a suburb of Pittsburgh. If your cheesemonger has something local, I always recommend trying it. It might become your new favorite cheese.
You also have to be a bit adventurous, so I decided to do that with Époisses, which is a a savory and gooey cheese, and the Lincet Délice De Bourgogne, which is a pungent and creamy cheese. Both of these luscious cheeses are native to Burgundy. Clearly, I tend to lean towards French cheeses.
It's always a good idea to mix flavors up a bit on your cheeseboard, but if you know a certain flavor of cheese just isn't your thing, then try mixing up the textures instead. A nice hard cheese can really lighten up a cheeseboard and take away from the heaviness of creamy cheeses. Hard cheeses that are buttery and sweet are my favorite.
Match the accompaniments with the flavors of your cheeses
The perfect cheeseboard is a well-balanced cheeseboard. This means that the cheeses and the accompaniments have to complement each other. Some cheeses need something to contrast with their accompaniments, while others call for similar tasting pairings.
I paired the strong Lincet Délice De Bourgogne with a sweet spiced caramel pear jam. When eaten together, the jam helped to reduce the sharpness of the cheese.
I paired the light as air chèvre from Goat Rodeo with a crisp granny smith apple. The two completely different textures contrasted nicely with one another. The granny smith apple also added a nice tartness to the mild chèvre. I loved spreading the cheese on the granny smith and taking a nice crunchy bite. It was heavenly.
The rich St. Nuage needed something with a bit of a nutty flavor, so I paired it with crunchy candied pecans. The sweetness of the pecans worked well with the creaminess of the cheese.
The luscious Époisses called for something equally as fragrant. That's why I decided to pair it with aromatic truffle honey. The pungent nature of the Époisses called for something savory, but I don't like pickled mushrooms or olives, which is what you tend to see at restaurants. That's why I went for the truffle honey which combines both earthy and sweet flavors. The truffle honey perfectly matched the flavor of the cheese.
Pick your bread wisely
Picking a nice mixture of bread is equally as important as picking the cheeses and accompaniments. You can't have baguette alone, as it's too plain by itself, so adding in a nice flavored bread like a sourdough or an herbed focaccia helps to break up the monotony. I opted for a nutty pecan-raisin bread to match the sweetness of some of the accompaniments I chose.
Presentation is everything
Making sure your cheeseboard looks as goods as it tastes is important. You want your guests to be stunned by the precision and beauty of your cheeseboard when they first see it.
Try and find the perfect board for your cheeses. I chose a clean, black slate, so my bright cheeses would stand out against it.
You also don't want to slap the whole piece of cheese onto the board and call it a day. That's just sloppy workmanship. Slicing a nice piece allows the inside of the cheese to be on display on your cheeseboard, enticing your guests to take a bite.
Try displaying your accompaniments in the artsiest way possible; be it fanning the apples or finding an interesting looking spoon on which to display your honey. Also try to keep the accompaniments neat and not have stray marks of honey or jam anywhere on your board. It'll distract from the overall appearance.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy
The best part of making a delectable cheeseboard? Devouring every single bite. Even though you may have slaved over it for an hour, you ultimately made it for everyone to eat and enjoy. So, pour yourself a nice glass of rosé and watch the sunset as you eat your exquisitely made cheeseboard.