Is it really the Holidays without a cheese board? In addition to a good baked Camembert, I always serve a cheese board for Christmas and New Year’s entertaining. Everyone loves snacking on a cheese board as they mingle. And I have to say, I love creating and savoring it! There is something so inviting about walking into a festive gathering with a cheese board on the table. For me, it is pretty much a must at any gathering not only during the Holidays but all year round.
And the best part? Cheese boards can be thrown together in minutes if you keep a well-stocked pantry. It is a great last-minute appetizer that will impress your guests.
With Christmas and New Year’s Eve just around the corner, I figured it was the perfect time to share with you how I put together my cheese board. My biggest secret? Keep it simple, but make it look impressive.
THE ESSENTIALS TO A GOOD CHEESE BOARD
THE CHEESES: Keep it simple and stick to using only three or four of your favorite cheeses. I know it can be so tempting to go overboard at the cheese counter, but trust me, keep things simple. Pick cheeses that you love, but also that you know will go over well with guests. For a holiday cheese board, I use Brie, mature cheddar, Roquefort, and a block of goat cheese. This combo is usually pretty well-loved by everyone, and each of these are relatively affordable as well.
THE MEATS: Every good board needs some deli meats. My favorites are prosciutto and spicy salami. Again, these are simple but crowd-pleasers. You don’t need to get fancy with the meats. Just use one or two that you really love.
THE FRUITS: For holiday boards, I always include pomegranates, winter citrus, and either apples or pears. Grapes are pretty classic on a cheese board too. Throw on some different fruits and have fun. Some other ideas are dried apricots, cranberries, and figs if you can find them.
THE SPREADS: Fig preserves are always on my board as well as honey. I just don’t make a cheese board without either of these. This season I am also adding some cranberry sauce because it pairs well with cheese and crackers. Delicious.
THE CRACKERS & NUTS: I like to use a good variety of them to keep the board interesting. Not going to lie, I usually buy things that catch my eye like, sea salt pita crisps, fig and olive crackers. Pick whatever crackers you like. For the nuts, again any combo works, but I love almonds, roasted pistachios, and candied walnuts.
EXTRAS: Olives are a must, marinated artichokes are a delicious addition, and pickles are great too.
HOW TO ARRANGE YOUR CHEESE BOARD
I always start with the cheese and place the wedges evenly throughout my board. These are the stars of my board, simply arrange everything else around them. If you plan to cut any of the cheese wedges, do this now while the cheese is still chilled. The cheese will be much easier to cut when cold.
From here I always add the spreads, then meats, arranging them around the cheese. I usually start adding any fruits and veggies that I am using. Again, I arrange them evenly around what is already on the board, making small adjustments as I place each food.
Finally, I like to save the crackers and nuts for last. I use these to fill in all the blank spaces on my board. I love a full cheese board, so these are my fillers that end up perfectly rounding out the board.
MY BEST TIPS
Always serve cheese at room temperature. This makes it great for serving at parties. You can assemble your board before guests arrive. By the time everyone gets to snacking, the cheese should be perfect.
To create a super full looking board with minimal ingredients, just buy multiples of each ingredient and arrange them evenly throughout the board. This creates a full look.
And on that note, use only foods you know you LOVE. Not into olives, skip them. This is your board, so make it with the ingredients you love most.
And that is my simple process. Nothing too fancy, but when it comes to a cheese board it really should be simple. Use your favorite ingredients, always include colorful fruits and many delicious crackers.
You can’t go wrong! Fingers crossed you still have a little wiggle room in your Christmas and New Year’s Eve menu to include a cheese board!
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