How to make the perfect cheese board

Perfect for potlucks, entertaining or even as a decadent movie snack, a platter of cheeses is quick to assemble and always well received whether it’s fancy or plain. Here are a few tricks to help shop for and serve your favourite cheeses.

Choose your cheese

Look for:

  • a range of textures
  • three to seven types, depending on the size of your group and your platter
  • at least one firm cheese, one soft or semi-soft, and one sharper cheese

Choose your quantities

When planning a party, estimate about 60 grams of cheese per person, assuming there will be other food available. If the cheese board is the main attraction, increase your quantities—there’s nothing wrong with leftover cheese. Seriously, nothing wrong with some leftover cheese.

Choose your accompaniments

Once your cheeses are on the tray, fill in the gaps. Try:

  • crackers, raisin bread and/or breadsticks, which will provide a variety of shapes and textures
  • dried fruit (think apricots, cherries, dates and figs)
  • small bunches of grapes
  • apple slices
  • nuts
  • olives
  • small ramekins of grainy mustard, preserves or chutney

Serve it up right

Serve cheese at room temperature, not straight from the fridge, for best flavour. Avoid pre-cutting it, which will cause cheeses to dry out faster. Unwrap and set whole pieces/cheeses directly on the board, and set out knives so guests can serve themselves.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, November 2012.

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