You didn’t really think I would leave you hanging on a National Holiday, did you? Well if you didn’t know, today is National Cheese Lovers Day!!! Today I am finally sharing my tips and tricks on how to build an epic cheese board. I am also answering your most commonly asked questions!
I’d love to see your creations so don’t forget to tag @rightbackspatula on Instagram!
8 simple steps to building an epic board:
- Step 1: Select a board. Boards come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Wooden, slate, marble, and ceramic platters are all great surfaces to work with
- Step 2: Choose a variety of cheeses. I like to have a variety of both hard and soft cheeses with different milk types so that even people that are dairy free can indulge. I also like to include cheese with different colors or mixed with peppers, fruit, etc. If you’re making a larger board for a party, make it easy on your guests and pre-cut all of your cheeses. This also allows you to use your creativity while arranging.
- Step 3: Add the stationary spreads! If you plan on adding any jars or small ramekins to your board that are meant to stay in place, this is the time to do it so you can build the rest of your board around them. I often use different jams, honey, or olives.
- Step 4: Choose some delicious cured meats to pair with your cheeses. Prosciutto, sopressata, salami, pancetta, capocollo ham, and different sausages, are all great options! If you want to get super fancy, you can fold your meats to make salami rivers or flowers. It’s a trend, google it!
- Step 5: Add crackers! I like to pick a few different types of crackers
- Step 6: Add a mixture of seasonal and dried fruits. This helps bring color to your board, but also means you can claim that you’re eating clean.
- Step 7: Add fillers! Choose some different types of nuts to scatter on the board filling in any gaps. Pistachios, cashews, and Marcona almonds are all great options!
- Step 8: All the finishing touches! I am all about adding fresh herbs as a garnish such as rosemary or mint. Garnishing boards is just like adding a bow to a present. It’s the finishing look that takes your board to the next level!
Charcuterie Board Q&A
I will do my best to answer the most commonly asked questions I get asked while making charcuterie boards. Leave a comment below with any additional questions you would like answered and I will revise this post as I go!
How do you transport your boards?
This is a bit of an art. When transporting boards, I tend to pick boards that have a slight edge helping to keep everything in tact. I lay down multiple sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil and build the board on top of the foil. When I’m done, I fold the edges up and over so nothing falls off the sides. I also have a highlight on my Instagram account that is called “transporting” and shows how this is done. It is a bit wasteful, but it is the best method I have found. Foil shamers, don’t @ me!
What is the best way to decide which cheeses to put on a board while shopping?
There are soooo many different options. I would ask your friends for their favorite types of cheese and go from there! I like to add a combination of “safe” cheeses and flavored cheeses to make people try different kinds. Here are my favorite cheeses to use on boards:
- Unexpected cheddar (on almost every board I make)
- Caramelized onion and cheddar
- Goat cheeses (cranberry rolled, vanilla blueberry, plain)
- Double Gloucester cheddar and chive
- Smoked Gouda
- Pimento cheese spread
- Blue Cheese
How do you budget?
HA this is a good question with a pretty honest answer. If I am hosting and making a board then the answer is simple… I don’t really budget. Keep in mind, I am constantly hosting so 1 box of crackers and 1 block of cheese can spread across multiple boards.
If I am making a board for someone else, the first question I will ask them is how much they want to spend. It all goes back to how many people they are serving.
What is the best cheese for holiday boards?
I like to stick with neutral colored cheese for the holidays and rely on pomegranate arils, frosted cranberries, and rosemary to make the board pop! If you’re trying to please anyone and everyone I’d go for Unexpected cheddar, Smoked Gouda, Merlot, and Double Gloucester cheddar and chive.
Where do you buy your boards, bowls, and dishes?
I buy the majority of my boards from HomeGoods, TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. I find this to be the most affordable place to buy boards. Fortunately and unfortunately those are places where “when you see it, you have to buy it, otherwise it will be gone”… hence my board addiction.
Other great places to buy boards from are:
- World Market
- Crate and Barrel
- Pier 1
- Pottery Barn
How many different cheeses are too many cheeses?
There is no such thing as too much cheese. HA just kidding. There is no right answer, but it all depends on how many people you are serving and how much other food will be available to the guests.
Here are my general guidelines:
- Date Night (serves 2 people): 2 cheeses, 2oz meat
- Small board (serves 5-6 people): 4 cheeses, 4oz meat
- Medium board (serves 8-10 people): 5 cheeses, 10oz of meat
- Large board (serves 12-14 people): 6 cheeses, 12oz of meat
How do you know what jam pairs with what cheese?
- Apple jam is good with cheeses such as English Cheddar and Goat cheeses.
- Blueberry jam is great with Goat, Stilton or Manchego cheeses.
- Cranberry or Strawberry jam is great with Brie and Goat cheeses.
- Fig jam is delicious with Brie, Feta, and White Cheddar cheeses.