Cheese Board 101

Cheese boards have been super trendy since a couple of years. They make perfect grazing boards at a party, and are great conversation starters. People love to gather around the grazing boards and drink some good wine! So I thought that this would be the perfect time of the year to do a blog post on HOW-TO assemble a cheeseboard with some of my favorite items and where I get these items from. I will keep this blog post to the point, so you can get all the pointers required and have a great holiday party!

For the base, I love the wooden turn table that I bought from World Market. It is a 24 inch in diameter turn table, and has enough space to accommodate all the food. I also have a long wooden board, that makes a great cheese board as well. You need the cheese knives to cut through especially the hard cheeses. I got my set from CB2, that has pretty ones and is economical.

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1.Always start assembly of the cheeseboard with different cheeses. The different varieties would include:

Soft: Goat cheese, herbed goat cheese, burrata

Semi Soft: Brie, camembert, mozzarella, Feta

Semi Hard: Havarti

Blue : Stinton, Gorgonzola

Hard : Cheddar(mild, medum or sharp – depending upon your audience), Asiago, Manchego

Spicy : Pepper Jack

I buy most of my cheese from Trader Joe’s. They have the best price point, where it is economical with all the other items you are putting on a cheese board. They carry a fantastic variety of cheese, and you really do not need to go anywhere else. I love their Apricot Stinton which is wonderful.  Whole Foods although they do carry cheese from some of the best cheese vendors, it can tack on a high bill. Although WholeFoods,  in the month of December do half price for one kind of cheese everyday till the middle of the month which works out great.

Once you have the cheese on the board placed, you can start placing the other items.

2.Olives and Peppers are a must on the board. I get the olives and small peppers from Whole Foods, from the Olive Bar Section which is wonderful.

3. Crackers: I love flavored crackers. Trader Joe’s has some great options like their Scalloped Crackers, or Fig and Rosemary Crackers, or Olive oil bread sticks! I love the flat bread crackers as well. Zoe from @zoebakes has a wonderful cracker recipe in her cookbook, that I want to try!

4. Mixed and Lightly Salted Nuts are fantastic: Costco has a great box of mixed nuts, that has Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts etc. OR you can keep individual kind of nuts separately. TJs has truffle rosemary almonds which are wonderful! They have spiced pecans too which I love.

5. Dried Fruits are a must! You can add dried fruits like apricots, mango, that bring out color to the board. Trader Joe’s again has a great selection for a decent price. I love adding dates/prunes as they go really well with walnuts.

6. Fresh seasonal fruit is great. I usually put whatever is in season for eg. Currently I am putting mandarin slices, persimmon slices,apple slices, grapes and pomegranate(for display and color).

7. I love adding honey and jam to boards as well. I make a homemade Apricot and Rosemary jam which gives a fantastic pop of color, and works with savory foods such as cheese and crackers. Honey works really well with crackers and cheese too, and I love getting local floral honey from the grocery store.

8. Dips/Spreads : An olive tapenade, or a pesto of some sort is great on the board, and serve fantastic to dip your crackers in!

9. Baguette slices work great if you have a spread.

Finally you can decorate the boards with some rosemary sprigs, or beautifully shaped leaves from your garden, but it is not necessary as you already have a lot going on.

Dessert boards are fun to make as well. Include petite pastries from grocery stores or your local bake shop, cookies of different kinds, confections like marshmallows, chocolate pretzels, candy, nougat etc. Macarons look really cute on dessert boards. Mini is the key, and anything mini would go great on a dessert board. You can include mini tarts, mini hand pies,truffles as some of the items. People love a good variety and when a dessert board looks as attractive, you know it will be a winner at your party! Embellish the dessert board with mini ornaments, mini pinecones, ribbons swirling through the dessert board, mini snowflakes – and you can get all these cute fixings at Michaels or Target. These can be re-used the following year sot hey are good investments! You could also add a string of mini lights going through the dessert making it super festive!

To add a more interactive board, you can have a smore kit on your board – such as marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, and have a mini stove to char the mellow!

I have provided a plethora of information here, and I hope you find it useful! I would love to see your grazing boards, so please tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or feel free to leave a comment here below on this blog post!

I cannot believe how quickly in hindsight, this year has gone by. I have a lot to be thankful for. I will have one more blog post before the end of the year. Until then.



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