No summer gathering is complete without a cheeseboard. But considerations like how many kinds of cheese to choose, or if a plate of kabana and tasty cheese counts as a cheeseboard (no is the answer), can be overwhelming.
Not to worry, we’ve broken these cheesy conundrums down into these 3 easy tips to have your cheeseboard looking’ Gouda.
1. Mix it up
When selecting your cheeses, give thought to a variety of milk, textures and flavours, to give your guests a well-rounded cheese experience. In the summer, we’d recommend against selecting pungent washed-rind cheese as their lingering aroma may be too much for some. Instead, mix and match your cheeses using the list below as a guide;
Hard – Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino,
Semi-hard – Gruyere, Comte, Cheddar, Manchego
Soft – Brie, Camembert
Blue – Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort
Fresh – Chevre, ricotta, fromage blanc
By picking 3 to 5 cheeses from this list, you will ensure a good variety without overcrowding the board.
2. Perfect pairings
Although the best way to enjoy cheese is actually on its own, exceptions can be made when it comes to entertaining. Adding some of the following accompaniments can be a great way to add colour and introduce complementary flavours to the cheeseboard.
Nuts and dried fruit – Almonds, walnuts, cranberries, figs and apricots are classic staples on any cheeseboard.
Preserves – Think pickled onions, cornichons, olives, caper berries, with their saltiness and acidity to cut through some of the richer cheeses.
Condiments – Add bursts of flavour with mustards, honey, chutneys and jams.
Crackers and bread – a great way to add texture to a board, carbs such as lavosh, baguette and wafers make great vehicles for cheese.
Charcuterie – Don’t go over the top here, but a few pieces of prosciutto, salami or pate wouldn’t go astray.
3.Dress it up
You eat with your eyes first, so a generous, well presented cheese board will be an invitation for your guests to dig in. Pull the cheeses out of the fridge at least an hour before serving to allow them to reach room temperature and place them on a nice platter or wooden board, making sure that there is plenty of space in between for the accompaniments. Be sure to give each cheese its own knife to avoid any mix-ups. Carefully but liberally fill the gaps on the board with your chosen extras, taking care to place any particular pairings next to each other. Garnish with a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme for that rustic touch.
There you have it, three easy tips to putting together the perfect cheeseboard. The only thing left to do is grab a drink and enjoy.