These 5 Tips for a Great Fruit and Cheese Board will have you entertaining with flavor and style!
How many of you entertain during the holiday season? How many of you attend gatherings put on by others? More than likely you do at least one of those things and whether you’re looking for a way to add a little sophistication to your own party or contribute to another, a fruit and cheese board is a fantastic way to go.
Fruit and cheese boards are fun and flavorful, they’re a great conversation starter (hello weird cheese from half way across the world) and they kind of glamorous, don’t you think?
The other thing I really love about cheese boards is that you can go over the top or fit them into a budget, the possibilities and pairings are endless! The nice thing about most cheeses is that they have a nice long shelf life, which means you can stock up when they on sale even if your party isn’t for another month or so! Plus, being able to space the purchasing party food out over time is easier on the wallet too!
I think some people are slightly scared of cheese boards because of their sophisticated nature, but they’re really quite simple to put together when you follow some basic tips. Tips that I want to share with you today so you feel ready and excited to take on the specialty cheese aisle with confidence and create a board all your own!
1. Variety – Just because you’re a blue cheese fan doesn’t mean everyone is, so don’t load the board up with 5 different variations of it. Aim for variety on your board, I always try to do at least one mild, one sharp, one hard, and one soft cheese and ALWAYS include at least one cheese everyone knows like fontina, cheddar, or brie. Once you have those covered feel free to get a little crazy and throw something new and excited into the mix. My wild a crazy pick this year was Espresso BellaVitano, it’s a sweet and creamy hard cheese that’s been rubbed and aged in espresso. It pairs wonderfully with coffee, fruit, chocolate, red wine, fruit beer and stouts.
2. Servings – The rule of thumb when it comes to cheese boards is to have at least 2 oz. per guest if other food is being served and 4 oz. if the cheese board is the only thing being served. This is altogether, not for each individual cheese (most of us aren’t made of that kind of money). Since there’s always those few people who show up even though they didn’t RSVP, I always add in an extra 4 oz. just to be safe.
3. Pairings – The options are pretty limitless when it comes to pairings, you could do fruits, nuts, meats, drinks, jams, and so on, it just all depends on what you’re going for. Personally I prefer a fruit and cheese board because it’s simple and easy and a little more cost effective than the others. Grapes are kind of a cheese board staple and since the green were on sale, that’s what I got ($1.99/lb. – Yes, please!). I also love blackberries because that add a nice profile of bitter and tart to the mix and pairs well with those sharp cheeses. Figs have this amazing flavor, though a bit acquired, that blends beautifully with softer cheeses like brie and fontina. I also like to add in a couple jams for those who prefer a spreadable pairing to fresh fruit. I also include crackers every time and usually choose a plain one and a flavored one like Carr’s Rosemary. Don’t forget to see what you might already have in your cupboards that might work as well!
4. Accessories – I think it goes without saying that a cheese board needs a board. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it can me a large cutting board you already own or you can purchase one of those nice slate ones, it’s entirely up to you! If you’re on a budget and only have a few smaller cutting boards, that’s totally fine, just do mini cheeseboard stations around the party! You also wanted to have a cheese knife for each cheese and a spoon for each jam. Oh, and labels for the cheese, those are important too!
5. Rest – I know what you’re thinking… “You’re right, I do deserve a nice glass of wine after setting this whole thing up.” It’s true, you do, but make sure to set it up first because that cheese needs to rest out of the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Allowing the cheese to warm up will release all the flavor the cold locks in. So once your cheese is resting, you can too. Now just wait for the party to begin and enjoy!
When you’re in the specialty cheese aisle and you’re looking for inspiration, here are the cheeses I chose for my board.
- Espresso BellaVitano
- Kerrygold Dubliner
- Joan of Arc Triple Cream Brie
- Stella Fontina
- Clawson Blue Shropshire
- Corazon De Ronda Manchego
So are you ready to get a little creative and put together your own fruit and cheese board now? This is the perfect opportunity for those of you who don’t cook to really make something delicious and impressive this holiday season! I hope this has been inspiring and did I mention that this whole board was put together for less than $50 and that it will serve 15 people, not too shabby! If you’re looking for another way to use specialty cheeses this holiday season, check out my 15-minute Blue Cheese Garlic Bread and my Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip!