Preparing for a gathering or event can be overwhelming for even the most experienced party planner. One of the easiest ways to cater to plenty of people is to create a beautiful cheese board. It’s a whole lot easier than it looks, and there is something to appease the palette of each and every guest. They are real crowd-pleasers and can even make a cheap spread look bougie. We’ll be sharing 7 tips for building the beautiful cheese boards I found.
1. Understand the 5 Essential Categories for a Cheese Board
First off, it’s important to note that the term “cheese board” does not really do the platter justice. The term “charcuterie” is much more fitting. A charcuterie platter includes much more than simply cheese and combines flavors and textures that can spark your guests’ palettes and send them on a food journey that they will dream about for the rest of their lives.
Charcuterie boards include a cheese element (obviously), a meat element, crunchy additions, pickled elements, and a sweet or fruity element to top it all off. It’s not 100% necessary to include each flavor, but if you want to make a lasting impression, we would highly recommend each of these elements be included.
2. Decide What You Will Serve It On
Now that you know what elements to add, let’s take a look at what you should serve this delightful food on. What you present your cheese board on is just as important as the flavors because a charcuterie board is all about the look and appeal of the dish. You want this board to be the star of the event and the platter that everyone is talking about.
There are a couple of options when choosing what to serve your spread on. The first option is a straight-up platter; this is a great middle road option because platters come at a range of different prices, and you can choose the shape and material that best suits your event and the style you’d like to exhibit.
A cheaper option for a cheese board on the fly is a simple baking sheet. If you choose to go with a more rustic, authentic look, you may want to design your spread on a cutting board. A cutting board is an excellent option if there are a lot of people attending your event because you can place several chopping boards together to extend your cheese board. If you are feeling bougie, choose a fancy charcuterie board. Just remember, whichever board you choose to display your lovely snacks on, make sure it has a rimmed edge so that your cheeses, meats, and other delectables don’t roll off the sides.
3. Choose Your Cheeses
Now we get to the fun part, deciding what exactly you’d like to place on your charcuterie board. Our best tip when you are choosing your cheeses is to make sure you select a combination of hard, soft, and spreadable cheeses. Here is a list of cheeses that you may like to choose from: Parmigiano, Grana Padano, Pecorino, Cheddar, Gruyere, Emmental, Mimolette, goat’s cheese, Brie, Mozzarella, Gouda, Cream Cheese, Blue Cheese, Tomme, and Havarti.
For some reason, guests avoid completely uncut cheeses, leaving you with leftovers of perfectly amazing cheeses. Always cut up your hard cheeses and begin slicing your softer cheeses. For hard cheeses, we’d recommend slicing some into triangles and stacking them in opposite directions, while dicing works for other hard cheeses.
4. Choose Your Meats
Here’s a pro tip when it comes to deciding which meats you’d like to add to your board: buy a combination pack of meat from your local grocer. On the other hand, if you want to be slightly easier on the wallet, head straight to the deli section and choose your own meats instead of buying prepackaged meats from the shelf.
Here is a list of some meats you could choose from; salami, calabrese, prosciutto, smoked ham, summer sausage, and more. Some people may even like to add chipolatas to their boards.
5. Figure Out Which Accouterments You’d Like to Add
Just as important as the meats and cheeses are your choices of accouterment. This is where you choose which crunchy elements, pickled elements, and sweet or fruity elements you’d like to add.
Olives are a great addition to any cheese board. You can choose to go extra salty or for a more mild taste. You may want to add pickled cucumbers, onions, or jalapenos. Nuts, crackers, baguette toasts smeared with garlic and tomato are also winners. Add grapes (chopped into easy-to-handle clusters), honey, jam, apples, pears, berries, or even dark chocolate for your sweet element. A combination of these elements will have your guests begging for more.
6. How to Arrange Your Items
The number one rule when it comes to arranging a charcuterie board is to place the snacks in odd numbers. So, choose 3, 5, or 7 kinds of cheese and go from there. Do the same with the other elements. Arrange the other offerings around them once you have your cheeses on the board. Try to place items together that pair well with each other (for example, brie, nuts, and honey make a mouthwatering pairing.) Don’t stress too much; most of the items on a cheeseboard pair well in any case.
7. Final Tips for a Flawless, Less Expensive Finish
Cheese boards can range from being very affordable to being overly lavish and bougie. Choose cheeses and meats that suit your budget and dress them up with well-thought-out jams, dips, and toasties.
The final look of the board matters more than anything else. Make sure you have a variety of sizes, shapes, and textures, and your board will be a winner every time.