These are my tried and true tips for pulling together an impressive cheese board in no time at all.
If you’ve read my post on how to stock a cheese drawer, you would know that I take my cheese/appetizer stash pretty seriously. I absolutely love pulling together cheese board, but I really don’t like to spend a lot of time on it. Here are my six go-to tips for a crowd-pleasing spread. All of these ingredients are from Trader Joe’s so you can one-stop-shop.
- Anchor the board around 2-3 cheeses For this board, I went with a goat cheese, aged Gouda and a mild blue cheese. My absolute favorite is the 1,000 Day Aged Gouda from Trader Joe’s, so more likely than not the hard cheese on my board will be just that. I would recommend a hard, a semi-soft and a soft cheese to give you and/or your guests variety. The Gouda is great on its own, and I will usually pick a brie or a goat cheese that can be layered with other items on the board, such as a spiced pecan and prosciutto.
- Add Height Variation in height will make your board more visually appealing. I had a lot of surface to work with on this marble lazy susan (you can find it here!) so I added a couple of little bowls and a glass stuffed with Parmesan sticks to add some height variety.
- Think about color Chances are if you are just setting out cheese and crackers, you aren’t going to have much color to your board. I like to add some veggies such as the multi-color cherry tomatoes here, or sprinkle in some herbs such as rosemary to add color and punch up the pretty. I also found dried lemon and orange slices during my last Trader Joe’s visit which I LOVE. You could easily make good use out of the herbs and dried citrus by using the rest for a fun cocktail.
- Choose variety for your crackers I think it’s important to have a flavorful cracker, e.g. the Fig & Olive crackers as well as something muted, in this case the baguette that won’t conflict with the cheese. TJ’s multi-grain crackers aren’t pictured, but they are my absolute favorite neutral cracker choice.Trader Joe’s Fig & Olive crackers add awesome flavor and go really nicely with a honey goat cheese. They’re also a fraction of the cost of the “raincrisp” crackers from Whole Foods, although I love those as well. The Parmesan crisps are a fun addition, I like wrapping prosciutto around them and enjoying that way.
- Think beyond cheese Sure, cheese is pretty essential when you are building a cheese board. What else would you and your guests enjoying during cocktail/appetizer hour? I’m a sucker for Trader Joe’s sour cream spinach dip, which I simply scooped into a little bowl and placed directly on the board. Jams and jellies or your favorite dip add more variety and fun to enjoy and complement the cheeses nicely.
- Add something fresh In my article about building a cheese drawer, I talk about ingredients that you can keep on-hand for last minute guests or when the mood strikes to build a fun appetizer at home. Jarred artichokes, pickles, dried herbs and jams will do the trick. But if you have time, it’s nice to add a fresh fruit and/or vegetable to your board. Think about what’s in season, it can be anything. My sister likes slicing a pomegranate in half and placing on her board, it takes no time at all and adds gorgeous color. Cherry tomatoes, green beans, grapes and nectarines are some great options. Just stroll through the produce section for some quick inspiration.
What are your go-to cheese board tips? I’d love to hear them, comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime!