IT'S NOT YOUR MOTHER'S CHEESEBOARD!
Cheeseboards have come back into vogue. Easy to assemble and deliciously chic, they are no longer a block cream cheese slapped with pepper jelly and served on a ritz cracker as in days of old. Oh no, they are filled with mouthwatering cheeses for every palate, juicy fruits and other delicious tasty morsels.
I am a big fan of these new and improved cheeseboards because they take very little preparation and people LOVE them. Make some crusty toasted baguettes and throw in a great glass of wine and your hors d'oeuvers are done!
There are may ingredients and ways to present this delicious savory treat. Cheeseboards run from very modest to extravagant! I tend to keep mine relatively uncomplicated in scope but big on flavor. Especially if it is a prelude to dinner. Here is a recent cheeseboard I made for eight and some helpful hints to building a better cheeseboard.
I like to serve my cheeseboard on one tray or slate. For a bigger crowd I have even used a large wooden cutting board.
Serve several types of cheese. Choose at least three to five types of cheese from different catagories- salty, pungent, hard, soft, mild and what I call classic (one's almost everyone likes).
Here is where a good cheese shop or a great deli with a wide variety of cheeses can be so helpful. Be sure they will let you sample the cheeses. I always ask for their expert advice. I have discovered many of my favorite cheeses by asking the knowledgable people behind the counter!
Today's cheeseboard includes: A good quality bleu, an extra sharp cheddar, a smoked gouda,
A salty and soft port salut and a parmesan artichoke spreadable cheese. Cheeses should come to room temperature before serving.
Cut the hardest of cheese and leave the softer cheeses in pretty chunks. Remember to keep cheese picks and spreaders near so guests can serve themselves.
Count on one and a half to two ounces of each cheese for each guest. This is a good rule of thumb.
Serving a meat is a wonderful addition to any cheeseboard. I am serving a duck pate' with a wine and peppercorn crust. Other good options are thinly sliced and layed proscuitto, sopressata, hard salami or even dried handmade jerky.
Along with the cheese and meat, serving other tastey bites can take your cheeseboard to a gourmet level. Here, a Mediterranean mix of olives is offered as well as Marcona almonds. These are a nice salty break from cheese alone.
Fresh fruit is a welcomed and traditional item on a cheeseboard. I am serving apples. I had them on hand. I like to serve grapes too, because they are so visually pleasing on a platter. Other fruits to serve are berries, and pears. Dried fruit also makes a sweet accompaniment. A combination of fruits would be very delicious.
I perfer to serve crusy bread opposed to crackers. Serving more than one type of bread depends on the number of guest. The larger the gathering, the more variety.
DO NOT add any fat or flavoring to your bread as it may fight the flavor of the cheeses. If you like flavored oils etc, serve it on the side. Other sides could be honey, mustards or herbed butters.
The final component to a fabulous cheeseboard is to pair it with the proper wine or cider.
Serve it with a couple of libation options. This cheeseboard was served with a sparkling prosecco (my FAVORITE!!!!), a buttery chardonney and a dry style shiraz that had been decanted for an hour.
A good non-alcoholic selection would be a sparkling red grape juice, or a sparkling apple cider.
A cheeseboard is a simple, beautiful way to cater to your guests without taking you away to prepare food that is more fussy. It is what you make it- simple or elaborate. Be creative and experiment with different cheeses and other nibble.
Turn up the music, grab a glass of wine and dig in!
I am participating in Foodie Friday at Designs By Gollum. Thanks, Michael Lee- you are a wonderful hostess and the possesser of great style!
I am also participating in Friday Feasts at Trends and Tips. So many great recipes and ideas!