How to Make the Ultimate Cheese Board

How to Serve Cheese

Three Parts:

Each region and country has their cheese specialties. Thanks to international trade and cheese counters, many people have access to delicious cheeses from around the world. Whether you serve artisan cheeses for an appetizer, after-dinner course or snack, follow a cheesemonger’s etiquette to get the best flavor from your selection.


Choosing Cheese

  1. Consider a three-cheese platter for your dinner party or cocktail hour.Many experts like the combination of a soft creamy cheese, a blue cheese and a hard cheese. For example, Camembert, Stilton and Manchego.
  2. Buy a nice cheese one at a time.One wheel of aged or traditional cheese is perfect for surprise guests or a snack before going out to dinner.
  3. Decide your drinks before you choose your cheese.Once you know what type of wine, beer or spirits you’ll be serving, go to the local cheese counter and ask for suggested pairings.
  4. Experiment with different accompaniments for cheese.Try to use the cuisine of the country where the cheese is made as a guide. For example, a Spanish cheese might pair well with roasted peppers and a feta might go well with olives.
    • Other common pairings include quince paste, fruit, jam, salt, pickled items and butter or oil.
    • A good pairing will bring out the flavor of the cheese. However, you should taste test to ensure a good match.

Preparing Cheese

  1. Remove portions of a cheese wheel from the fridge approximately 30 minutes before you plan to serve them.They should be served at room temperature.
    • Keep the climate in mind before you serve. If it’s a hot summer day, your cheese may only need 10 or 15 minutes. If your refrigerator is particularly cold, your cheese may take an hour to come to room temperature.
  2. Cut a portion of cheese before serving if you have a whole wheel.Keep the rest of the wheel in a cool room or refrigerator.
  3. Create a clean cut from the wheel by dipping a sharp cook’s knife in hot water.Wipe the knife, then score the cheese rind.
    • Apply pressure to the section of cheese you want to cut off by rocking the knife back and forth.
  4. Consider plating the cheeses separately if you don’t have large platters or plates on which to display them.
  5. Leave the rind on the cheese when you serve it.Good etiquette dictates that guests shouldn’t leave the rind on the board, whether or not they follow that rule. Most rinds are edible.
  6. Label your cheese before you serve it.Unless your crowd recognizes cheese by sight, a small chalkboard, a serving card or a label will help them navigate. You are less likely to have people select a cheese that they won’t like and refuse to eat if you label everything.

Serving Cheese

  1. Serve between 20 and 120 g (0.7 to 4.2oz.) of cheese per person.For a light snack or appetizer, plan for 30 to 60g (one to two oz.). For a party where cheese is the highlight, plan on 100 to 120g (3.5 to 4.2oz.) per person.
    • Multiply the number of people you are hosting by the number of oz. you want to provide and shop accordingly.
  2. Keep the cheeses separated from each other.Cheese platters or trays should be large, so that a person can cut off a piece of cheese without it touching other types of cheese with their hands or utensils.
  3. Cut a few pieces of hard cheese in advance to guide your guests on how large an ideal slice would be.Cut two, lay them perpendicularly to the cheese wedge and lay a sharp knife nearby.
    • Avoid cutting all the cheese into slices or cubes. It will dry out more quickly, especially if it is left out in the open air.
  4. Provide a butter knife or pate knife to cut and serve soft cheeses.Use a different knife for each cheese, so that the flavors don’t get mixed. Use knives with prongs at the end, if possible, so that guests can easily transfer the cheese to their plate.
  5. Serve marinated cheeses with a spoon or a small fork.
  6. Keep crostini, bread slices or crackers in a bowl.Don’t place them around the cheese plate or parts of your platter may get covered by the crackers.

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  • Don’t store different types of cheese together in the same container or plastic bag. They will taint the other cheeses.
  • Avoid serving processed cheeses alongside artisan cheeses. If you plan to serve them both, keep them in a separate area, such as a dedicated apple and cheddar plate.

Things You'll Need

  • Cheese counter/cheesemonger
  • Platter
  • Plates
  • Cheese knife with prongs
  • Jam/quince paste/fruit
  • Olives/peppers
  • Small fork
  • Butter knife
  • Labels
  • Water
  • Chef’s knife

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

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