A well-constructed cheeseboard can become the eye candy of any event. The great thing about them is that they are so easy to put together and there’s something to please everybody’s taste. Here are some tips to turn you into a cheese board master.
The 'cheese' to your boardDifferent shapes, sizes and textures look great and work wonderfully together when put together on a board. The possibilities are endless and somewhat overwhelming when selecting cheese. Here’s an easy guide. Pick something soft such as camembert or brie; something firm such as parmigiano-reggiano or cheddar; a blue cheese or gorgonozola and a crumbly number such as chèvre. (One of my favourites is the Woodside Cheese ‘Goat on a Hot Tin Roof.’ It’s like a crumbly dream!)
The ‘fresh’ to your board:Leading into summer and the Christmas season, it’s all about what’s fresh and vibrant. Choose fruits such as cherries, grapes, berries, figs and pears. You can also add some veggies like cucumber, carrot and celery sticks which are great as dipping tools.
The ‘savoury & salty’ to your board:Olives and pickles are a great way to add some crunch and texture. The same is to be said for nuts like roast almonds, cashews, pistachio and macadamias. Cured meats will provide some salty goodness. Pick a few different proteins that have different levels of saltiness such as capicola (Italian ham), dry- cured chorizo and prosciutto. Breads and crackers are a must to mellow out the strong and rich flavours; they also transport the delicious cheeses to your mouth! The level of breads or crackers you select also really dictates the level of prestige your board has… a weeknight board might have your usual water crackers, but toast that sliced baguette or choose some seedy crackers from the fancy section at the supermarket. Whatever the level, having a selection is key. It’s always fun having something different!
The ‘sweet’ to your board:We’ve looked at fresh fruits, but you can also include some dried or glace´ fruits such as apricots, figs, and vine dried raisins to add a chewy, dry texture. Ever thought of adding a piece of honeycomb? It looks decadent and is a delightful combination with the cheese, fruits and bread. Dark chocolate can also be a great way to sneak in some sweet and bitter flavours.
The ‘spread’ to your board:With so many condiments to choose from where do you start? You can’t go wrong with grainy mustard, chutneys and pâté. Pâté is a great option and pairs perfectly with cheese. Adelaide’s own Harris smoked salmon pâté is to die for. If your board is looking quite savoury, a fig or quince paste also can add a sweet touch.
Putting together your board:Cheese is best served at room temperature so remember to take the cheese out half an hour before serving. Have a cheese knife ready to go for each cheese. Mix it up and be creative, don’t put all the cheese on one side and all the fruit on another. Experiment clustering things around the board to create a beautiful mess!