You guys know my love for cheese. Or more accurately, my loooooooove for cheese. Much like my mother, we never have a shortage in our fridge. We have cheese from the grocery store, we have cheese from the fancy cheese counters, we have cheese that has traveled all the way from Wisconsin – AND everything in between. If we hang out in real life, chances are good that we’ve eaten cheese together.
I grew up on cheese and crackers as an evening snack more nights than not. It’s a tradition I’m proud to say that I’ve carried into my own life. And given that my brother was just here visiting and purchased no less than eight kinds of cheese in two days, clearly he has too! My Wisconsin roots are showing, but in such a great way, don’t you think?
So while I’ve always been a cheese and crackers gal, the gorgeous cheeseboards that have become popular recently are my new favorite. They aren’t exactly the kind of cheeseboard snacks I grew up with but they are gorgeous! How can you resist them? A giant board filled with cheeses, cured meats, fruits, nuts, honey comb, and more? Call me obsessed.
However, I don’t necessarily have the budget to be spending $200+ on a cheeseboard (someday?) so my version a little smaller and I think a little more realistic. It may be a little simpler, but I think it’s just as pretty!
How to Make an Easy Cheeseboard Video:
When I create my boards, I find it helpful to break the ingredients down into five main components:
I like to start with three varieties. If you’re feeding a large crowd, bump it up to five. Odd numbers work well for the sheer reason of organizing them on a board. It’s best to go with something soft (like a brie or goat cheese); something aged (1,000 day aged gouda is my absolute favorite), and then something basic like a good cheddar. If you are adding a few more varieties, a strong, stinky cheese (like a blue or camembert) is a good choice, but the general rule is to just have a variety of textures and flavors.
Charcuterie (cured meats):
Aim for at least two varieties. I often use salami and prosciutto because they are my favorites, but other good options are capicola or bresaola.
This is where we add color to our cheeseboard! Fresh and dried fruits (grapes, pears, dried apricots or cherries) and a few fresh vegetables are great additions and help add some different textures and flavors. Also, it’s nice to have a few vegetables (pepper slices, carrots, endive leaves) for munching – said every Nutritionist! 😉
Crackers and crostini:
At least two varieties of crackers and various carb-y snacks are good. Definitely water crackers, because they don’t compete with flavorful cheese. Sliced baguette that’s been toasted is fantastic with soft cheeses and the fruit and nut crackers are another favorite cracker option that pairs well with many varieties of cheese.
The extras are things like olives, dips, and nuts! I always include some sort of olives (be sure to have a spot for pits!) and sometimes a veggie dip like hummus. It really depends on how big my cheeseboard is going to be and how much it’s going to lean into snackboard territory. If it’s a meal or the main food component, I’ll have a lot more vegetables and will definitely include a dip. If it’s really an appetizer, then you may not need as many veggies. The nuts are vital as you’ll see in the video, they fill in each empty spot on the board, which is a big reason these boards look so impressive! Choose two or three nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews) and sprinkle them around liberally. You can also add a garnish to your cheeseboard (fresh whole fruits or fresh herbs), which look stunning, but in the essence of keeping things simple, I usually leave them out.
You can use a large platter, large cutting board, or even a sheet pan – just make sure the surface is suitable for cutting cheese if you’ll be including knives.
What’s your favorite item on a cheeseboard?