The charcuterie board is a popular spread as it provides a variety of flavors and appeases the appetite. Keep in mind a few of these charcuterie board tips when making your next board!
The Cheese Course
Choose several cheeses and pair them with simple, specially chosen accompaniments to create a “composed cheese course.” Composed cheese courses delight the eye and showcase the unique flavor and texture of each selected cheese.
The composed cheese course can make an appearance as an appetizer, after an entrée or as a dessert. Served early in the meal, a beautifully composed cheese course gives your friends a glimpse into the delights that will follow from the kitchen. When served after the main entrée, it offers a chance to linger, to slow down and extend the pleasure of a meal. It is no wonder we are seeing this trend as a welcome addition to today’s dining experience.
As with most things, it is best to start simply. Begin by offering several cheeses with varying textures, colors, and flavors, cut into interesting shapes. Offer a range of flavors and textures from soft and mild cheese to hard and very sharp or pungent. Even serving one cheese at its peak of flavor, paired with a beautifully prepared savory or sweet accompaniment can be a highly satisfying experience.
Service and Presentation
Remember to allow aged cheese to sit for about an hour at room temperature before serving, but fresh cheeses should be treated like milk and kept cold until serving. Have a selection of interesting plates, wooden or marble platters, straw mats or wicker trays. Use seasonally available fresh herbs and greens. Presentation ideas are endless, inspired by your individual style, the season and the occasion.
Be sure to slice cheese with the proper tool. Any sharp utility knife will work to cut and serve a semi-soft or hard cheese. Cheese serving knife sets (including wide-bladed knife, cheese fork, spreader, thin-bladed and heart-shaped blade knives) are available at most kitchen specialty stores.
In our example video, we used five cheeses which included a brie, aged cheddar, blue cheese, goat gouda and chèvre. Charcuterie meats (in this case, salamis) and other accompaniments can pair well with different cheeses on the board. For example, the blue cheese would pair well with the honey or walnuts. Aged cheddar would pair well with dried apricots or dried cranberries, grapes, and so on. Keep in mind the variety of what is included on your board, and don’t be afraid to try different tastes that may juxtapose each other. For instance, red pepper jam with aged cheddar. The sweetness of the jam and the sharpness of the cheddar make for a fantastic, tasty combination.
Take all of these ingredients as inspiration for your next cheese course, whether it be for a special dinner party, or simply as an appetizer at home.
Brie (La Bonne Vie)
Aged cheddar (Kerry Gold)
Blue cheese (Point Reyes)
Goat gouda (Beemster)
Plain goat cheese (Montchèvre)
Uncured genoa, pepper and herbed salami
Red pepper jam (Jammy Yummy)
Focaccia bread slices / Baguette slices
Thyme (for honey)
All of the ingredients listed are an example of what can be used on your board that pair nicely. Feel free to let these items inspire you to come up with your own charcuterie board ingredients that fit your very own taste or serving theme!