Assembling an impressive holiday cheese board is easy as pie and will knock your guests’ socks off. Easy entertaining? Sorted!
Cheese. Glorious, wonderful, fantastic cheese. I love a good cheese platter and the holidays simply don’t feel like the holidays unless I work in at least one good and proper cheese board. What I love so much about a cheese board is that it is completely adaptable to different seasons and occasions. For my festive cheese boards, I always like to include something really Christmassy and this year I decided to add a few mince pies. I didn’t make them myself, but I do think they bring an appropriate amount of cheer to our cheese party.
The secret to a really good cheese board is variety. You want to give your guests loads of choices and so I always recommend at adding four or five different cheeses. Add pickles, preserves, crackers and breads of your choice and add a few slices of good charcuterie or a pot of Pâté for the meat lovers.
To make things super easy for you, I’ve included a list of all the goodies I love to include on my cheese boards. Mix and match as you please but I would definitely do at least one (more of the cheese, obvs) in each category.
What to put on a cheese board
- Cheese: Parmesan, Pecorino, Cheddar, Asiago, Gruyere, Comte, Camembert, Brie, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Roquefort, Danish blue, Chevin (soft goat’s cheese), Mozzarella, Manchego, Boursin, Havarti, Raclette, Fontal. There are so many cheeses and it’s a good idea to go to the cheese counter and ask for guidance if you aren’t sure what to choose. A good idea is to include at least one hard (or semi-hard cheese), one blue cheese and one soft cheese. I also always like to add something unusual and a cheese mad with goat’s or sheep’s milk. Remember to take your cheese out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Crackers/Bread: Anything goes here but I usually like to do a few crostini, breadsticks, crackers and sliced fresh baguette.
- Jams/Preserves/Pickles: Cheese is good friends with anything preserved/pickled. I always include some onion marmalade because I think it works with most types of cheese. Cornichons, pickled onions, pickled radishes, capers and olives are all perfect additions.
- Fruit/Nuts: Fresh fruit is a must on a cheese board in my opinion. Allow the season you are in to dictate what you use. Fresh berries and grapes are great in Summer while figs, sliced apples, pears, plums, clementines and pomegranate will be perfect in Winter. Nuts add great texture and more variety and dried fruit is also a good idea.
- Extras: I love adding something a little whimsical and fun to my cheeseboard. Here I’ve added mince pies to add Christmas cheer but you could add chocolate Easter eggs for an Easter cheeseboard or Halloween candy for a Halloween board. I would add charcuterie to this category as I don’t always think it’s necessary. Prosciutto, Parma ham and salami are all good options.
The board can be assembled up to four hours ahead. Keep loosely covered in the fridge and remove from the fridge 30-60 minutes before serving.
Platter and boards for easy entertaining
The ultimate cheese board
- 4-5 Cheese varieties of your choice (at least one hard, one soft, one blue and one interesting cheese)
- crackers/bread (fresh sliced baguette, crackers, bread sticks, seed crackers)
- Pickles (Olives, cornichons, pickled onions or pickled peppers.)
- Preserves (Jams, jellies and fruit preserves like figs and melon are delicious and go well with a variety of cheeses.)
- Fresh fruit / nuts (Berries, apples, pears, clementines, pomegranate. Pecans, hazelnuts and almonds.)
- Something interesting or quirky (Mince pies for Christmas, Halloween candy, chocolate Easter eggs. Something to tie in the season you are in.)
- Charcuterie (optional but delicious. Salami, Prosciutto, Parma ham or Coppa. A pot of Pâté is also a good idea.)
- Using your largest board or platter, start by adding the cheese first.
- Some can be kept whole and others can be cubed or sliced, ready to serve.
- Add bowls of pickles and preserves. Then fresh fruit, crackers and meat if using.