Cheese boards are a great idea when you have guests, at any celebration or special occasion; or simply for a quick, tasty and eye-catching snack dinner. But preparing a spectacular cheese board is not simply a matter of combining different types of cheese. We must take into account some other aspects, the accompaniments, the cheeses we choose, the cuts… Therefore, today we are going to see how to prepare a perfect cheese board. In addition to a multitude of ideas to accompany your cheese board.
Once we are clear about the cheeses we want to use and what we are going to accompany them with, in order for our board to be perfect, we have to take into account their temperature, the organization, the cuts and how to combine them. We even have to pay attention to the board where we will serve them. To achieve a perfect cheese board we must not leave anything to improvisation.
How to prepare a perfect cheese board
The first thing we are going to pay attention to is the cheeses. The undisputed protagonists of these elaborations.
Although having some assorted cheeses in the fridge, a simple cheese board can get you out of more than one trouble for a dinner; if we want to organize it well and make it perfect we must take into account the quality of the cheeses. Try to make sure that the cheeses on your cheese board are quality cheeses, with a good flavor that will surprise your guests.
Which cheeses are not to be missed
Regarding the cheeses that we can include in our board, the answer is very simple: as many as we want, depending on our tastes and preferences.
It is said that the ideal is between 5 and 8 types of cheeses, depending on whether we make a smaller or larger board, we can reduce this number or increase it slightly (but remember to leave room for the rest of the ingredients). For the size of the board we will also take into account if the board is a simple snack, if we want to prepare it as a starter or if it is a dessert.
When selecting cheeses we can take into account their characteristics to select different varieties. The typical classification of cheeses is as follows:
- The type of curing, or maturation; we can find soft, semi-cured, cured, old or aged cheeses.
- According to the type of milk: We can choose between cheeses made from cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, buffalo milk or mixed milk.
- According to the texture of the cheese: we can choose between hard, semi-hard, soft, blue, spreadable cheeses…
- Depending on the rind: washed, moldy, pressed, with herbs or spices…
- And depending on the intensity: fresh, sweet, pronounced, strong or very strong.
You can combine cheeses as you like, but the ideal is to choose very different types in order to create contrast, both in flavors, textures, intensity…
By choosing one of each type of cheese, we will obtain a very varied table
For example, you should not miss a soft cheese, such as fresh cheeses or even spreadable, but with a delicate flavor. Some options in this category are Camembert, Mozzarella, Burrata, Brie, Ricotta, goat cheese…
Then we could choose a semi-soft cheese, they are firmer than the previous ones and have a soft but defined flavor. In this category you could choose Edam, Emmental, Provolone, or Gruyere cheese, among others.
Once the soft cheeses are selected, let’s choose a semi-hard cheese. These are firm, compact cheeses, such as Gouda, Fynbo, Pategrás, Edam…
And we finish with a hard cheese, with character, such as Parmesan, Pecorino, Sbriz, Reggianito, Mahon…
Combining a cheese of each of the above types, you will come up with a multitude of ideas for your cheese board.
Deluxe Cheese Board
If we have a choice, we can include a more gourmet cheese; or even make a very exclusive board with more elegant cheeses.
Go to specialized gourmet stores and get a more elegant variety to make a difference.
Themed cheese boards
Another option is to choose typical cheeses from the same country (if you have the opportunity to find them) and create a themed cheese board.
For example, if we want to choose cheeses from our land, some ideas for your themed cheese board would be: Manchego cheese, Majorero, Idiazábal, Grazalema, Torta del Casar, Cabrales, Mahón cheese, San Simón de Costa…
If we opt for a thematic table with the best French cheeses, we can choose from the following: Salers, Reblochon, Rocamadour, Roquefort, Emmental, Morbier, Brocciu, Crottin de Chavignol, Valençay….
From Italy we find Gorgonzola, Pecorino, Parmigiano Reggiano, Taleggio, Mozzarella di Bufala, Basajo blue cheese, Fiore Sardo…
We can also make an international board, choosing a typical cheese from each country.
How to organize the table
We have to place the cheeses in a harmonious way, creating a good combination of colors (both cheeses and accompaniments). And placing the cheeses separated from each other, for this we will use the accompaniments, creating differentiated spaces for the cheeses.
It is also necessary to take into account the type of cheese, the ideal is to leave the softest cheeses in the outer zone of the table, leaving the strongest ones in the inner part.
If we choose a cream cheese or spreadable cheese, we can serve it in small glass jars, for the other types it is best to serve them already cut. This will make it much easier for the diners. So let’s see how to cut each type correctly to get a perfect cheese board.
How to cut cheeses
To create a harmonious and pleasing board, we have to place the ingredients so that they combine with each other in a pleasant way. To do this, serving the cheeses cut gives us many possibilities to decorate the board. It will also be much easier and more pleasant to eat.
We also have to take into account how many guests we will be, so that no one is left without tasting any type of cheese.
Each type of cheese has an optimal way to cut it. Generally speaking, cylindrical cheeses, such as Manchego cheese, are cut into wedges. Each wedge is then cut into triangular slices.
- The cylindrical but long cheeses, we will cut them in slices (like the typical goat log); and depending on their consistency, we will make the cuts of greater or lesser thickness.
- White paste cheeses, such as Camembert, we will cut them in triangular portions.While blue cheeses are normally served in cubes.
- Rectangular cheeses can be cut in sticks; and very hard cheeses, such as Parmesan or Grana Padano, can be served in slices. The latter, being so hard, it is easy to break when cutting them. But do not worry, as it is normal to present them in irregular portions due to their consistency. Although you can cut them in a simpler way by heating the knife a little before cutting them. To do this, put the knife under the tap with hot water, dry it very well and cut the cheese.
Optimum cheese temperature
If the cheeses are kept in the refrigerator, they should be allowed to cool before serving the cheese board. If they are too cold they will lose much of their flavor.
To avoid this, simply take them out of the refrigerator a little before serving. It will be enough to take them out about 20 minutes before.
And if there are leftovers, how do we keep them?
We should always wrap the cheeses before storing them in the refrigerator. Ideally, it is best to do it with the wrapping they come with, but if this is not possible, we can do it with a bit of plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Ideas to accompany your cheese board
Once we are clear about the main theme of our board, the cheeses, let’s see all the possible accompaniments that we can include.
Even if we choose the cheeses very well, combine several types, or even choose high quality cheeses, our table will be very bland if we do not include other ingredients that combine well with our cheeses. Let’s see what options we have:
We start with bread
Bread is a must on a cheese board. Besides combining perfectly with our cheeses, it also creates a spectacular contrast with many of them. And of course it is indispensable if we include a spreadable cheese in our cheese board.
We have a thousand options for the bread. We can serve rustic bread, cut in slices so that each diner can serve himself comfortably. You can also put toast, very crunchy, bread rolls of all kinds, breadsticks ….
We can even opt for crackers as bread, which will look great with the cheeses, or pretzels, which we can make ourselves.
Grapes with cheese, they taste like a kiss!
And as our proverb is so wise, we can not miss the fruit. In particular, grapes are great with cheese. Also figs or pears, although we can use any fruit we want.
Another good option is dehydrated fruits, such as blueberries, raisins, dried apricots…
Jams and sauces
The sweetness of the jams goes great with most cheeses. We can also choose the one we like the most, but make a note of the tomato jam.
Nuts and Pickles
They are another good option to accompany our cheese board. For example walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts… And pickles such as olives or gherkins.
Sausages and Cold Cuts
If we still have room, although it is not essential, we can serve some sausages and cold cuts. Any of them will look great, but try to make sure they are of high quality so as not to detract from the table.
Some options are serrano or cooked ham or a good pork loin.
And with this we end our tips to prepare a spectacular cheese board. Surely after seeing so many options, you will get a thousand ideas for your cheese board. Do you dare to prepare one at home? Remember that you can make your cheese board the size you want. We can also make it small for two or three people, and make a very tasty snack dinner. It is not necessary that they have all the accompaniments that we have seen nor that they are excessively large.
If you prefer to make it as a dessert, remember to accompany your cheese board only with fruits and jams. You will get a delicious and very original dessert.
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