Article by: Chef Janet Davis from Full on Flavor
Before saying cheese, ask yourself am I feeling sweet or savory?
There are a few things to consider when putting together a cheese board. Here are some guidelines on achieving an appetizing board whatever your preference.
On taste, first decide between savory and sweet. A savory plate such as an Antipasto will include meats like Salami or Prosciutto. You can enhance the flavor profile further by choosing flavored meat as opposed to regular cuts. Olives, roasted vegetables, oil, crusty bread or sliced baguette may also accompany a savory board. Similarly, adding herbs and spices like pepper flakes, basil or oregano to olive oil will give more to savor.
A sweet board on the other hand, incorporates fruits – both fresh and dried, as well as nuts, jams and, or jellies. Here, crackers, not bread is ideal.
In terms of texture, cheese range from soft to hard. Soft cheeses include Brie, Mascarpone, Cottage and Ricotta. Semisoft include Provolone, Fontina, Mozzarella, Blue and Feta. Cheddar and Gouda constitutes hard cheeses; and Parmesan and Asiago some of the hardest on the block.
When assembling your cheese board, use a variety of textures. For a normal size board or party, three cheeses will do. Use four or even five for larger gatherings.
Nuts & Bolts
Other than cheese, nuts can add an extra bite to a dessert board. Almonds and walnuts offer up a nice crunch and an additional layer of flavor. Complete your board with dried fruits like apricots, cherries, cranberry and raisins to round out a dessert cheese plate.
Fruity & Fresh
While dried fruits have their place on a sweet plate, cheese and fresh fruit alone can be enough. Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and figs can sweeten the deal here. Fruits not only add layers of flavor but a range of vibrant color that stand in contrast to the more subtle hues of cheese. As previously mentioned, fruity spreads like jams, jellies and even honey, makes for a luscious finish.
More than just taste and texture, you can create a themed board with cheeses from a particular region. For example, an Italian inspired board might have Gorgonzola and Mascarpone cheeses, while a French plate might include Brie, Goat, and Camembert. To go all out with your theme, serve wine from each region.
For a really large party, opt for two boards; one savory and one sweet. Your guests will thank you before you can say cheese!
Whether soft, hard, sweet or savory, having it your whey with a cheese board can be a delectable start or sweet end to a party.
What is your go to snack cheese? Whey in here and I’ll respond to your comments.