There is no questioning the popularity of cheese in the United States—the annual per capita consumption of this dairy deliciousness now hovers around 40 pounds. This might explain why a well prepared cheeseboard is often the star of the party (BTW – Be sure to check out this interesting history of the cheeseboard).
The foundation of a cheeseboard is obviously the cheeses. The folks at Virginia-based Turner Foods (the owners of The Virginia Chutney Co. and The Preservation Society) recommend having at least 4 oz. of cheese per person.
There is also a general rule that at least three and no more than five different types of cheeses be featured, The selection of cheeses should also include a variety of textures (e.g. soft, semi-hard, and hard) and ones made from different types of milk (e.g. sheep-, goat-, and cow-milk).
What you add to your cheeseboard beyond the cheeses is a combination of your personal style and taste as well as the size and nature of the party. Legit cheeseboards can range from a simple plate of cheeses and crackers to a bountiful buffet.
Common additions to a cheeseboard include:
- Bread/crackers: sliced baguette, ciabatta, bread sticks, crostini, multigrain crackers, fit and olive crackers, parmesan crisps
- Charcuterie/Meat/seafood: cured meats, candied bacon, sliced ham, pate, peeled shrimp
- Fresh fruits: raspberries, sliced apple, sliced pear, seedless grapes, seedless and/or stuffed olives
- Dried fruits: apricots, figs, mango
- Vegetables: carrot sticks, cucumber slices, snap peas, pickled cauliflower, cornichons
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews (seasoned, smoked, chocolate-covered or candied are all fine)
- Spreads: pepper jelly, fig spread, spicy plum chutney, honey
- Garnishes: greenery, fresh herbs
When it comes to plating your cheeseboard, remember that people eat with their eyes first, so let your creativity shine.
Have your own tips? Feel free to share them in the comment section.