Mastering the Cheeseboard

Putting together the ultimate cheese board can seem overwhelming: which cheeses, which pairings, which board? There is no perfect formula or perfect pairings, but here are a few things I keep in mind when building my cheese offerings.

Don’t Crowd the Board

People tend to want to really fill up the board with lots of options, but I urge you not to crowd the cheese, please. Try selecting one accompaniment per cheese, and perhaps one condiment that works well with all your cheeses.

Add Diversity in All Ways

When making your selections, pick items that offer variety: in color, shape, texture or all of those. This variety not only makes the board more visually appealing, but it also gives your guests a more fun tasting experience.

Array from Mild to Strong

A good idea when arranging your cheese choices is to put them in order of the most mild to the strongest so that your guests know what to expect.

Pair Your Pair

Once you have your accompaniments picked out, place them near the cheese with which they pair best. This helps to guide your guests through the cheese board.

There Are No Perfect Pairings

Ultimately, there is no perfect pairing, and people always have their own preferences anyway. Still, a few guiding principles are these: Don’t overwhelm a mild cheese with a strong flavor pairing; create an interesting bite by adding something with crunch to a soft-cheese selection; and offer contrasting flavors such as salty and sweet.If you really want to get into building a great cheese board, I recommend my own personal cheese reference: Cheese, Sex, Death: A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed by Erika Kubick. This former cheesemonger and self-professed cheese preacher is devoted to educating cheese lovers everywhere and goes into great detail on all facets of enjoying cheese, from its history to making, tasting and plating it.