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The Perfect Cheese Board

Perfect-Cheese-Board

Published with permission: So this post doesn’t entirely belong to me. I kinda sorta legally adopted it from the originator, Sharon Garofalow (Cupcakes & Cutlery). I loved this How to Make a Perfect DIY Cheese Plater post so much and it might be my favorite post ever.  Sharon had originally published on my other site and she has graciously allowed me to recycle it and share it with all of you jetsetters! You are so welcome.

Putting together the perfect cheese board can be a tricky thing.

Have you been to the gourmet cheese section at your local market? You know there is a crazy amount of varieties to choose from and personal preference plays a big part in whether you will like that $12 Gruyere or not.

Certainly, it can be overwhelming. Not only for you, but also your guests. Cheese, much like wine, can make a person feel unknowledgable and unworldly. Well, not Velveeta, but I digress. The goal here is to put together a nice little cheese board that your guests will enjoy and will not leave you with nervous ticks staring blankly at the Roquefort. You may not be familiar or have tried all the cheeses I’ve chosen. Don’t be afraid. I’ve only chosen friendly options that I know you and your guests will love. I purchased all the cheese from Trader Joe’s as their selection of cheeses is pretty amazing with better pricing than your local grocery store.

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Always start with cheddar. Men, woman and children ALL like cheddar. Right off the bat you know that all your guests have at least one cheese they recognize and like. You could get fancy with a white cheddar, but a nice sharp yellow cheddar will add some visual interest to your cheese board. As with the rest of the cheeses I’ll be sharing, the cheddar is pictured above with some of the items that pair really well with it. Think of cheese like an outfit. There is always something to accessorize it with and play up it’s best features.

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Goat cheese is often something you find on fancy salads at your local gourmet restaurant. And it is a perfect addition to your cheese board. My favorite way to serve the goat cheese is crusted with some herbs or spices as it can be a super creamy vehicle for bold flavors. If you really want to impress your lady guests, serve this Rose Petal Pink Peppercorn goat cheese appetizer. Men will eat it too but it’s pink and well, some guys are afraid of pink. Goat cheese is also pretty mild in flavor so for your guests that aren’t interested in something that smells like feet, this would be a great alternative. Special note: Costco has a great price on goat cheese. It comes in a two pack with a fairly long shelf life so you can use one now and save one for later.

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Bleu cheese is the most pungent of all the cheeses on this board. You might also substitute this with a Gorgonzola or Stilton so choose one that you think looks good and fits your budget. I’m certain that you wouldn’t find me shoveling fistfuls of straight bleu cheese in to my mouth at a party. That would just be too much. But I can guarantee you that you will see me eating a a nice portion with a healthy drizzle of honey and a walnut. Perfection.

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And you’ve probably been intrigued by Boursin. Now is the time for you to try Boursin and know what you have been missing. It is an herb flavored soft cheese (in fact, they have a variety of flavors) and spreads easily on crackers. It is creamy, flavorful and a crowd pleaser. Special note, this is about $3 cheaper at Trader Joe’s than your local grocery store for the same exact brand.

 

finished-cheese-board-101I know you have seen this Boursin cheese at the grocery store.

Most people know smoked Gouda in its round red wax coating, of which I am not a fan. But an aged Gouda (look for a wedge shape) is similar in texture to Parmesan with a creamy and nutty flavor. This is almost as easy eating as a cheddar and one that your guests will no doubt ask about. Cube it, slice it, eat it by the handful. And be sure to save some for the day after your party to make yourself a grilled bacon and Gouda sandwich. Seriously. Do it.

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This cheese is made especially for Trader Joe’s and you HAVE to try it. It is a well know fact that wine and cheese go very well together. But in my opinion wine IN cheese goes even better. The cross between a cheddar and a Parmesan is delicious and finishes with a hint of the syrah that it has been soaked in. My favorite way to eat this is on a pita cracker (also at Trader Joe’s) but there is no wrong way. It is versatile and probably killer in a recipe but I can’t keep it around long enough to try that.

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Cheese, Glorious, Cheese. In addition to the accompaniments we showed you with each of the cheeses above, there are a few other ideas you might want to include. Cured meats never disappoint, especially if there are men present. Quince paste or other fruit jellies are the perfect way to bring in a sweet element that marries so nicely with so many of the varieties.

Lastly, think about adding in some chocolates. Goat cheese and chocolate on a baguette with a sprinkle of sea salt wouldn’t suck. I’m just saying.

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It’s easy being cheesy. I’m not suggesting that all your cheese boards should look like the one at the top of the page. That amount of cheese really would feed an army. Choose at least 3 cheeses and vary them in regards to texture and flavor profile. The amount of cheese you put out will be dependent on the intent of the board. If it is just meant to be set out as an appetizer, use only portions of the cheese as you don’t want your guests to fill up before dinner. But if you are having your guests over for a happy hour situation, you can serve a little bit more so your guests can get as full as they want and not end up passed out on your sofa.

Kaas : Fromage : Formaggio : Sir : Queso : Peynir Displaying your cheeses can be done in a number of ways. Here we used an acrylic picture frame from Michaels with the backing removed. Placing the cheese on a piece of slate or wooden cutting board are both perfectly acceptable. Consider even using 3 similar platters and placing each cheese, along with what goes well with it, on their own plates. That way your guests will know exactly what goes together without having to ask.

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Keep it simple or jazz it up with flowers. There really is no wrong way to put a cheese board together. Go enjoy some cheese with some friends.

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Are you a fan of stinky cheese?

Hugs & passports,

– Nicole

Photo credits: Sharon  of Cupcakes and Cutlery. Styling by Lauren of A Fabulous Fete.

On occasion, contributors of The JetSet Family receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not hinder the influencer’s point of view. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect the overall experience.

Written by Nicole Standley

Nicole Standley

Nicole Standley curates her favorite trends in luxury travel, fine-dining, style + pop culture for The JetSet Family, CBS Los Angeles, Huffington Post and Hilton Hotels. In 2015, she was named Top Family Travel Blogger by both Trip Advisor + Red Tricycle. Instagram: nicoledstandley

Review overview
31 COMMENTS
  • Amanda Smith September 9, 2013

    thanks so much for these wonderful ideas!A cheese platter would be perfect for the open house I am planning for my past hostesses in a few weeks for my Lilla Rose business.

  • Kita September 9, 2013

    I love cheese and I am now getting to the point where I want to explore different kinds. I bought Gouda (think that’s the name) the other day for the first time and it was so good.

  • Elizabeth September 9, 2013

    Our family loves a good cheese tray. That looks lovely!

  • Jackie September 9, 2013

    This is such an incredible looking cheese board/table! I love it!

  • Jessica September 9, 2013

    Oh my! The washi tape idea is so so lovely! Pinning and doing this for my next party! Cheers!

  • Knoxy September 9, 2013

    I love cheese boards, Cupcakes & Cutlery and you.

  • Sharon Garofalow September 9, 2013

    This post was SO fun to do!! We should collaborate on posts more often. 🙂 Thank you for loving it also and sharing it!

  • Carrie Harris September 9, 2013

    This is such an informative and creative post…the washi tape was brilliant!

  • Carolyn West September 9, 2013

    I am beyond impressed. I have a couple of wine & cheese events coming up so I have bookmarked this post and will definitely be referring back. Perfect!

  • Pamela R September 9, 2013

    a great cheese plate is a great way to make any gathering feel really special–I love all the tips! My favorite is “There really is no wrong way…” =D

  • Missy Homemaker September 9, 2013

    All the food is presented so beautifully. I’d almost hate to eat it.

  • Christie Moeller September 9, 2013

    I am totally drooling! YUM!!!

  • Poppy September 9, 2013

    I love honey on my Bleu cheese or quince paste! I want to have my girlfriend’s over for a cheese party now. (Or I could just show up at your house)

  • cindy September 9, 2013

    OMG i’m so hungry reading this! Love cheese and this looks like such an amazing variety and lots I’ve never tried! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Danielle @ We Have It All September 9, 2013

    Would you believe me if I told you that I hate cheese? Well… unless it’s on pizza or nachos but that doesn’t count. I do love all of this info here and your pictures are beautiful! Makes me want to love cheese!

  • Maribel Reyes September 9, 2013

    Cheese, yum!! I love cheese… The stickier the better! I actually have a carving board for cheese I’ve never used! You have just inspired me to use it very soon! 🙂

  • gigi September 9, 2013

    I love the selection of cheeses at Trader Joe’s. Always fun things to try.

  • Beeb September 9, 2013

    MMM these photos are making me drool! Great article and introduction. I hosted a party last month where I had so many cheeses to pair with the wines I was serving that I ended up with a whole table exclusively for cheese. LOL!

  • Karen September 9, 2013

    Having grown up in a house where cheese was common place, I loved sampling everything from cheddar to stilton to Gouda. Its just a fun way to experiment in little bites

  • Steph Calvert September 10, 2013

    My son was sitting on my lap when I pulled up this post, and he started excitedly calling out everything in the first picture.

    Then he told me, “I’m just so hungry, muhmuh.”

  • Deb September 10, 2013

    That cheese platter in the first image looks so yummy! I love all kinds of cheese and little cut up meats. My mother used to have a cheese and wine party every New Years Eve when I was growing up. Such wonderful memories! Thank you for sharing.

  • Shauna September 10, 2013

    I am a cheese fanatic… sharp cheddar and Gouda have to be my favorites… thank you for this detailed list. I am pinning this for my next dinner party!

  • Reina - Soy Mamá en Casa Blog September 10, 2013

    I’m so hungry, thank you for this delicious idea

  • Ciaran September 12, 2013

    Hello, did someone call my name? Oh wait… Just chiming in to say I love the Mik bus Gouda and the cheddar/gruyere blend at TJ’s too. Both are so fab. They had a spotlight parmesan there last yr that I’ve been wishing would come back. And if you haven’t tried the cheddar with carmelized onions, you must. It’s spready. And you can’t stop eating it. And now you know I know way too much about cheese.

    Seriously, my 13 yr old asked for cheese for her birthday. Runs in the family.

  • LaVonne September 12, 2013

    Cheese and chocolate? You are speaking my language, woman! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this. I went to a baby shower once that had these awesome cheese platters. I was in heaven. The photos here are amazing and I pinned this for later use in my Party Ideas board.

  • Miya Goodrich September 12, 2013

    Oh my goodness…all this cheese talk is making my mouth water. I need a cheese board, STAT! I think a trip to Trader Joe’s is in my immediate future!

  • Cyndee of Rude Mom Blog September 13, 2013

    Oh, I love this article, so many great taste options and cheese is my favorite!

  • Tammy Graham @ LoveMy2Dogs September 13, 2013

    I love cheeses of all kinds and this was some great information! Thanks!

  • Fan R @TeddyOutReady September 13, 2013

    You made all cheese look so pretty and photos are incredible. I love most of all kinds of cheese, and stinky too, think of taste.

  • Jess September 13, 2013

    I never know how to pick out good cheeses – I like almost anything! I love the idea of using chocolate, too.

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