A cheeseboard is an entertainer’s best friend! It’s a cold appetizer you can pre-assemble before guests arrive and then “Set it and Forget it!”. It’s fun and interactive for your guests, as they sample and compare all the different combinations. It also keeps them busy and out-of-the-kitchen, while you get the meal ready! If you would like to create a board for your next party, here’s your game plan!
Here’s my foolproof plan for creating a fantastic cheeseboard.
STEP#1: Set the Stage
Select a large cutting board that will allow you the room to place at least 4-5 different varieties of cheese, fruit and crackers. The ability to place everything on one board is what makes this platter really easy to serve, and it looks pretty too!
I like a large round board for the symmetry it provides, but If you need a few other recommendations you can find some great ones in my Amazon Shop . (this link goes to Amazon where I am an affiliate partner)
STEP #2: Create a Centerpiece
I like to think of my chessboards as little tables and just like a real table you need a center piece! It creates create visual interest and provides an additional flavor for guests to nibble on. I think the easiest, most cost effective option is a trio of grapes. The different colors add interest and sometimes you can purchase them this way too!
STEP #3: Designate the space
Once you have your centerpiece in place, it creates 4 quadrants in which to place the cheese. Be sure the tips of your cheese points out, this makes it easier for guests to serve themselves.
It’s also better if your cheese is at room temperature. This allows the full flavor of the cheese to develop. It’s bests to remove your cheese from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before serving.
I prefer a combination of soft cheese and semi-soft cheese, simply because it’s easier to spread on a cracker.
STEP#4: Add the Crackers
In the negative space that remains, nestle in assorted crackers and breads that pair well with the different types of cheese (see recipe below for my suggested pairings)
STEP#5: Add texture
I think the best cheeseboards have a variety of textures. The cheese is creamy, the crackers are crunchy, and for a bit of chewiness add some dried fruits, my favorites are cranberries, cherries and dried apricots. Then for a little salty counterpoint, add some nuts.
The candied walnuts and pecans at Trader Joe’s are perfect for this! You can also add some chunks of dark chocolate too!
STEP#6: Bring on the spreads!
Cheeseboards can be interactive and there’s nothing that gets guests mingling and interacting than “taste-testing”. If you offer a selection of spreads to try I’ve found it provides an opportunity for guests to react to their own combinations or combinations of others.
You can serve them in small bowls with spoons on a large rectangular platter. My favorite spreads from left to right are, tapenade, honey, pepper jelly and fig jam. Then you have it all covered, sweet, spicy, and salty.
STEP#7: Create some Cobos!
I like to offer a few pre-assembled combinations so guests get the idea of how to mix and match. Below are some of my favorites.
- Rosemary Cracker + Goat Cheese+ Tapenade (Great Mediterranean Flavor)
- Raisin Cracker + Blue Cheese + Honey + Candied Walnut
- Brioche Toast + Brie + Fig Jam + Candied Pecan
For a step-by-step tutorial on How-To Create a Chessboard you can watch my video demo below. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel (it’s free!) and new videos post weekly!
- 1 Runny Cheese: Wedge French Brie
- 1 Salty Cheese: Wedge Blue Cheese
- 1 Neutral Cheese: Log of Goat Cheese
- 1 Sweet Cheese: Wedge of Stilton with Dried Fruit
Chewy + Crunchy, Sweet/Salty
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup dried apricots
- ¼ cup candied pecans
- ¼ cup candied walnuts
- ¼ cup Spanish almonds
- ½ cup olive tapenade (salty)
- ½ cup honey (sweet, sweet)
- ½ cup pepper jelly (spicy)
- ½ cup fig jam (savory sweet)
- Olive Bread (French Brie)
- Rosemary Crackers (Goat Cheese)
- Raisin Crackers (Blue Cheese)
- Brioche Toasts (Stilton)
- Select a large cutting board. I like a round board
- Create a centerpiece in the middle like a trio of different color grapes
- Place 4 varieties of cheese equidistant from each other around the board
- Fill in the negative space with crackers, dried fruits and nuts
- Offer a selection of spreads to go with the platter on the side
- Set it and forget it and let your guests dive in!
Rosemary Cracker + Goat Cheese+ Tapenade (Great Mediterranean Flavor)
Raisin Cracker + Blue Cheese + Honey + Candied Walnut
Brioche Toast + Brie + Fig Jam + Candied Pecan
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 367 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 19mg Sodium: 298mg Carbohydrates: 62g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 47g Protein: 5g