How to Build the Perfect Cheese Board

Story by Holly
How to Build the Perfect Cheese Board
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This sponsored post is written by TMP on behalf of Blue Diamond Almonds The opinions and text are all ours. Thank you for supporting the brands we love.

Learning how to build the perfect cheese board can be as easy as it is fun. If you’ve followed us on Instagram for any length of time, then you know that in the last 5 years we’ve mastered the art of preparing a cheese board for a party. (Not that we’re bragging or anything.)

And so it followed, when our friends over at Blue Diamond Almonds released their new assortment of Crafted Gourmet Almonds, it was a no brainer for us to feature them on one of our epic cheese boards. The amazing flavors in their new collection, Rosemary and Sea Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt, Garlic Herb and Olive Oil and Black Truffle are just made for cheese pairings!  

So, here it goes...The Modern Proper’s essentials for How to Build the Perfect Cheese Board, every time.

Perfect for every occasion.

The best part about a cheeseboard is how perfect it is for every occasion. Not that you need any excuses to eat cheese, but here are a few occasions we can see you pulling out your new cheese board skills:

Small picnic gatherings with a few close friends

Large holiday parties

Birthday parties

Book club gatherings

Girls night

Play dates (is it just me or does this sound like a great idea?) 

You see? There isn’t a single place where a humble (or over the top) perfect cheese board isn’t the perfect addition to your get-together. You can keep it simple or try your hand at making it fancy…just follow our simple steps and you are destined to become the talk of the town.

How to Build the Perfect Cheese Board

Where do you begin?

Well, first things first, you are going to need to head to the grocery store. As we all know, not all grocery stores are created equal. For an impressive cheese board selection we recommend heading to a store with a good cheese section, maybe even a cheesemonger if you can find one. 

If you don't already know, a cheesemonger is someone who works behind the cheese counter and can be very, very helpful in helping you find some good cheeses for your occasion. I always learn something new when talking to one of the cheesemongers at my local market. 

Hit up your local chain grocery store.   

I’m here to tell you that even though speaking with someone who knows a bit about cheese can be fun and helpful, it’s not necessary. We’ll teach you a few tricks here that will have you in and out of any regular grocery store in a jiffy with great cheese selections that will pair well on your next perfect cheese board. 

Should my cheeseboard be Fancy or Simple?

How about both? For our cheese boards, we like to stick to 3-5 cheeses, a few meats, something briny (think pickles and olives), crackers (and maybe some baguette), some dried or fresh fruit, and nuts, of course. After that, if your board has any room left, we like to add a few spreads or honey. Many of these things you might use for a simple cheese plate you are likely to already have on hand. 

Simple:

Buy some cheese and meat. Pair it with crackers, bread, nuts and some mustard, jam or honey. Finally, add a fruit that you already have on hand.

Fancy: 

Include all the basics, plus take the time to pick out a few special additions. We like to buy honeycomb and olives when making our boards a little bit more upscale.

Whether you’re going Simple or Fancy, we recommend always keeping some Blue Diamond Crafted Gourmet Almonds on hand, because they are great for both.

Cheese (the good stuff)

For the cheese, you are going to want to pick a few varieties for your board. I suggest 3-5 cheeses for a large board made for a party. Be sure to get cheeses in a variety of textures and colors (soft, creamy, hard, etc.) and made from different milks (goat, sheep, or cow). 

Here are a few of our favorites:

Soft: brie, camembert, goat cheese. (Anything you can spread works great for this category) 

Semi-soft: fontina, a nice blue cheese, muenster or gouda

Semi-firm: Manchego (my favorite), Gruyère or Comté 

Firm: An aged cheddar or white cheddar is delicious, even a good parm, or perhaps a drunken goat cheese

Crackers and Breads, oh my! 

In the words of Oprah, “I LOVE BREAD.” And so, naturally, I seem to always have a good baguette lying around. I usually purchase them for dinner and there are often little bits of leftovers. If I’m making the effort to put a cheese board together, you know that crusty bread is going to make an appearance. I slice it up and serve it side by side with whatever crackers I have on hand. Generally, I assemble a board with a buttery cracker, a very thin mild cracker, and a seedy, grainy cracker. 

Meat:

For the meat portion of the cheese board, go with  2-3 varieties (you don’t want to compete with the cheese). Typically, I’ll start with salami (either sliced thin from the deli, or more thickly from a log), then I’ll add prosciutto or pancetta. 

Pro Tip: At the deli counter always ask for a specific number of slices vs ordering by the pound, that way you know you’re getting enough. 

Dried or Fresh Fruits 

If you have some seasonal or dried fruits lying around, I highly recommend you add them to the mix. They are a sweet and acidic way to brighten up the cheese board and offer a great balance to the rich and creamy stars of the show.

Pickles and Olives 

IMHO no cheese board is complete without a briny treat! My favorites are picked veggies, olives or cute little pickles! If you are going ultra fancy, you can pick up some large, beautiful capers like these. (link)  

How to Build the Perfect Cheese Board

Nuts

Nuts are a great way to incorporate a little crunch and a whole lot of flavor to your cheese board. We reach for Blue Diamond Almonds, every time! Their crafted gourmet Crafted Gourmet Almonds are roasted and seasoned with their skins removed for a smooth texture and unique taste for every occasion. There are four fun flavors to choose from like Rosemary and Sea Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt, Garlic, Herb and Olive Oil and Black Truffle. 

Spreads

Here is where I like to get creative, because you never know what the next winning combo is going to be! Typically honey, mustard and some sort of fruit preserves make an appearance. Whatever you do, except in the case of honey, never pour a jelly or chutney all over your cheese. Let your guests decide how they want to pair their spreads with their cheeses. (This also makes saving any leftovers that much easier.) 

Presentation

Now to put your Perfect Cheese Board all together! Pick out a board- This could be a cutting board (never plastic though, please!), a cheese platter, or even a few plates that you put next to each other on the table. Don’t be tied down to having everything on one surface. 

When it comes to styling your cheese board (yes, this is a thing- trust is!) check out our Instagram feed for inspiration. It’s our favorite way to make you drool! 

What about Cheese knives? 

If you don't have special knives for your cheese board, it’s ok to just cut thin pieces of cheese ahead of time, so your guests can just grab and go and then of course leave a butter knife around for the soft cheeses. 

Is it okay to Serve Room Temp Cheese?

Yes! In fact, your cheese will have a lot more flavor if you set it out for 30 minutes before serving it to your guests. 

How to Build the Perfect Cheese Board

For even more cheese board styling ideas check out these posts:

Presidential Cheese Board

Continental Breakfast at Home

How to Throw a Kentucky Derby Party

If you feel inspired and decide to make a cheese board, we want to see it! Be sure to tag @themodernproper or use #themodernproper. We love seeing what beautiful creations our readers come up with!