Kitchen & Cooking

Here's how to make the perfect cheese board

Everything you need to assemble a cheese plate that's sure to impress.

The key to a great cheese board is quality cheese. Credit: Reviewed / Madison Trapkin

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Looking for a special way to celebrate Valentine's Day this year? Curious about stepping up your Super Bowl snack game? In the market for a new midday work from home distraction? Make a cheese board!

As the former editor-in-chief of Culture Magazine, a publication dedicated entirely to cheese, I know a thing or two about curds thanks to the many cheesemakers, cheesemongers, dairy farmers, and other talented fromage folks I met during my tenure. Below you'll find tips, tricks, and tools for making the perfect cheese board, plus a step-by-step guide.

What you'll need

You can fill a cheese board with pretty much any combination of cheese, crackers, pickles, jams, and other accompaniments, but here's what I like to use for my perfect board.

arrange
Credit: Reviewed / Madison Trapkin

I like to arrange the packaged cheeses on my board before I get started to create a road map for myself.

Cheeses in a variety of milk types and textures

I like to build my board around at least two cheeses, and will add more depending on board size. Varying milk types and textures of your cheeses will create a dynamic tasting experience, plus it's just more fun that way! The milk type is typically found front and center on the cheese's label, but sometimes you'll have to flip over to the back label to find it.

For my board, I selected:

Accompaniments

Get creative with your accompaniments (cheese and chocolate, anyone?), or stick to basics. Here are a few of my favorite things to pair:

boards
Credit: Reviewed / Madison Trapkin

From wooden cutting board to colored glass plate, there are endless options for the base of your cheese board.

A board

There's really no right or wrong surface for your cheese board as long as it's big enough to suit your needs. When I'm making a personal cheese board (you read that right!), I reach for my small wooden cutting board with a handle. If I'm serving a crowd I use my favorite cutting board, this colorful chopping block by Fredericks and Mae. Glass plates make beautiful bases for your cheese board, but be careful when cutting directly on the glass.

The proper tools

tools
Credit: Reviewed / Madison Trapkin

My favorite cheese tool is the Opinel Folding Pocket Knife (pictured center).

Step-by-step

Step 1. Remove your cheese from the fridge

This might seem like a silly first step, but trust me, it isn't one you'll want to skip. Cheese is best at room temperature (between 67 and 70 degrees) and should be taken out of the fridge at least an hour before serving. When it's too cold, the flavor is muted and the texture is tight. Conversely, serving your cheese too warm could comprimise its texture.

Step 2. Create a guide

Before removing the cheeses from their packaging, arrange them on the board to create a plan for where you'll place them once you're ready to serve. This method helps to minimize handling and also keeps your board clean.

Step 3. Cut the cheese

Remove the packaging and cut each cheese either in its place on your chosen surface or on a secondary cutting board (my personal preference) to keep things as neat as possible. I like to use a chef's knife to cut hard cheeses before transferring the slices to the board.

Step 4. Add your accompaniments

I'm a more is more kind of gal, so I take a maximalist approach. I like to start by arranging any jars I'm using, like honey and jam, because they help build out the bones of your cheese board. Then, I fill in the gaps by placing crackers, nuts, and other accompaniments directly on my board.

Step 5. Eat!

That's it! You just created your very own gorgeous, tasty cheese board!

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