now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, people are spending more time sitting on porches and back patios [or is it just me…?] what better way to spend the evening than sitting outside, drinking a bottle of wine while enjoying a cheese board? there isn’t one, just in case you were trying to figure it out.
my sister, tiffany, taught me that the key to a successful cheese board is to fill that sucker up. fill it with cheeses, and crackers, nuts, dried fruit, olives, spreads, dips, meats…. basically anything that you want to put on it, put on it. the more shapes and sizes to fill the space, the better; which, i understand, sounds a bit daunting. we aren’t all made of money and it can get expensive quickly. my favorite place to get goodies for a cheese board is trader joes. they’re typically pretty cheap and a little bit goes a long way.
i start with a couple kinds of cheese. depending on the size of the board two maybe three kinds but probably just two. i like to buy one softer and one harder kind. here is where i think about the ease of eating it too: will my cracker cut the cheese or do i need a cheese knife to cut it? will it crumble the second i pick it up and make a mess of my shirt and floor?
[and yes, you should actually think about these issues before you go shopping. or at least while you’re standing at the cheese counter.]
next come the crackers. i typically buy three different kinds. one version for my gluten free friends, and two other varieties. here is where you can really throw in a variety of different shapes and sizes.
i will always pick out olives for my board. like i said before, they’re a great filler and who doesn’t like olives? satan, that’s who. BUT, beware because not every olive is made equal. some are packaged in brine (i believe…) while others are packaged in oil. avoid the oil packaging! they have the ability to turn your board into a hot mess in no time. my personal favorite are castelvetrano green olives. don’t forget a cute bowl for your olive pits! i have these and they’re the perfect size! looks like they’re on sale now too!
i’m sure i’ve talked about these before, but if i haven’t, i’m sorry for keeping them from you for so long. trader joe’s has rosemary and truffle coated marcona almonds and they’re amazing! i can literally eat the entire bag in one sitting so i typically only buy them when i’m making a board.
when i’m on the hunt for meat, i keep in mind what meat tends to be a bit greasier than others. super greasy salami doesn’t look that appetizing once it’s been sitting out for half an hour. a trick when arranging your board is to roll some up and cut some in triangles – it’ll fill the random spaces of your board better than it being displayed the same way.
honestly, anyone can make a killer board with just the basics above. but if you’re trying to get a bit fancier with your board, well then, you go girl! opt for some dried fruit or maybe even some chocolate covered almonds.
the fun part is when you start to arrange the board. i like to start with the crackers and “dry ingredients” first as they won’t leave a film on the board if i don’t like how it looks. don’t get discouraged when you’re being a total perfectionist and it doesn’t look “just right” because it certainly will look amazing to other people. AND, don’t forget – people are going to eat it. it’ll only look perfect until the first slice of cheese is devoured. 😀
what do you put on your cheese board?