By Peg Todloski, Weaver Street Market Cheese Merchandiser, and Lisa Woodward, Weaver Street Market Demo Coordinator
We believe cheese is the perfect addition to any occasion, be it lunch, dinner, or a holiday gathering. There is nothing better at a party than a beautiful cheese board. But it can be intimidating to build one. So, we’ve assembled a simple guide to help you make a stunning cheese board that will make any gathering shine.
Things to consider
One of the most often asked questions we get is “how much cheese do I need to buy?” That depends: Will the cheese board be the main event, or is it just one of many tasty treats being served? If it’s the main event, plan on four to six ounces of cheese per person. If it’s one of many foods being served, cut that number in half, to two to three ounces of cheese per person.
How many types of cheese should you pick? How to narrow it down, there are so many! If the cheese board is the main food for the gathering, and you have eight or more people, pick four to six types of cheese. If you have a smaller group, pick three or four types of cheeses.
And then, what types of cheese? You can pick cheeses based on a couple of different categories: milk type (cow, goat, sheep, or buffalo) or style (blue, bloomy rind, washed rind, firm, or hard aged). We find it’s best to mix these categories on the same board. For example, serve a bloomy rind goat’s milk cheese, a firm sheep’s milk cheese, a blue cheese (from any milk), and a hard aged cow’s milk cheese.
Finally, no cheese board is complete without accompaniments. We recommend a mix of fruit, such as grapes or apples; olives; preserves; and either nuts or pickled veggies. And don’t forget the bread! We recommend a mix of fresh bread and crackers in varying sizes and shapes.
Cheese Board Tips
Here are some tips for making and serving a cheese board:
- Take out your cheeses 30 to 60 minutes before serving.
- Cut the firm and hard aged cheeses, and leave the bloomy rind and softer cheeses whole. Triangle slices look great on a mixed cheese board.
- Provide separate knives for each cheese.
- Label each cheese, so you’re not answering the same “Is this goat’s milk” type questions all night.
Finally, have fun! Try a themed cheese board: all West Coast cheeses, all European cheeses, or our favorite, all southern cheeses! See one example of a southern cheese board below.
Southern Cheese Board
- Goat Lady Dairy Fig & Honey Chevre (fresh, NC, goat’s milk)
- Chapel Hill Creamery Calvander (aged, NC, cow’s milk)
- Meadow Creek Dairy Grayson (washed rind, VA, cow’s milk
- Twenty Paces Round Bale (semi soft, VA, goat and sheep’s milk)
- Sequatchie Cove Dancing Fern, Reblochon style (soft, TN, cow’s milk)
- Prodigal Farm Saxapahaw Blue (blue, NC, cow’s milk)
Pair with Weaver-made country bread, a choice of crackers, pickled okra, quince and apple mostarda, grapes and/or sliced apples, a variety of olives, and thin-sliced San Giuseppe (NC) salami. And enjoy!