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How to Assemble the Ultimate Cheese Board

22 May 2019
How to Assemble the Ultimate Cheese Board -  cheese board

There are several things every good entertainer should know how to do, and assembling a great cheese board is one of them. Cheese boards are the secret weapon of entertaining – simple yet sophisticated, incredibly versatile yet universally loved, quickly done yet timelessly appealing! Learn how to assemble the ultimate cheese board by following our list of tips and tricks below.

1. The Cheese

  • Because every board should be built on a solid foundation of delicious cheese, be sure to include a variety of excellent quality cheeses. Most cheese belongs to two basic categories: soft/semi-soft and firm/semi-firm. For a good mix, aim to include at least one of each.
  • Examples of firm and semi-firm cheese include Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere, Edam and Parmesan.
  • Examples of soft and semi-soft cheese include Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert, Feta, Cottage and Cream Cheese.
  • In terms of portion sizes, plan on serving 85g of cheese per person if your cheese board is meant as an aperitif or light snack, and 140g if meant as a stand-alone meal.
  • Cheese is more flavourful at room temperature so let it sit for about an hour before serving.
  • Arrange the cheese clockwise from mild to strong.

2. The Sides

Once the cheese is arranged, it’s time to add the all-important sides! Every cheese board should include a combination of sweet and salty sides as well as a variety of textures. Add them in the following order.

  • Cured Meats

These are a must, especially Italian-style cured meats such as Prosciutto or Salami. Even plain old sliced ham has its place. And of course, no board would be complete without at least one familiar local favourite: biltong or droëwors.

  • Bread & Crackers

It’s always a good idea to include some thinly sliced crackers and fresh bread. Be sure to choose neutral breads (such as sourdough or French baguette) and crackers (such as multigrain or wheat crackers) that won’t detract from the flavours of the cheese.

  • Honey, Mustard, Jam & Chutney

Jars of honey and homemade chutney add the perfect sweetness to a cheese board, balancing out the saltiness of the cheese. Small bowls of mustard or spicy jam also pair wonderfully with the bread, cured meat and cheese.

  • Fruit, Nuts, Pickles & Olives

These are all fantastic ways to fill in the gaps. Some of our favourites include apples, berries, grapes, pears and figs as well as dried apricates and dates. Add some saltiness with pickles, olives, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds or pecans.

While there are a variety of great options, be mindful to not have too many sides. The cheese should ultimately take pride of place on your board, accompanied by bread and crackers as well as 1-3 fruits, 1-3 salt or savoury snacks and 1-2 condiments.

3. The Board & Utensils

The best board for the job will largely depend on the number of guests you are catering for as well as the cheeses and accompaniments you have planned. A large platter, serving tray, marble slab or wooden board work well for larger crowds while our cutting boards (which double up as cheese boards) are fantastic for smaller gatherings.

Keep in mind that not everything needs to be loaded onto the board – some accompaniments can be placed alongside the board itself. Bread and crackers, especially, can be served in a separate basket or bowl.

In terms of utensils, each cheese should have its own small cheese knife, barring those which are chopped into squares and skewered with our bamboo toothpicks. Also provide enough spoons so guests can access condiments and spread soft cheeses with ease.

With all this taken into account, all that’s left to do is enjoy your beautiful cheese board!

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