|The Perfect Cheese Board
The classic accoutrement to wine, beer and cocktails, a great cheese board is a discovery of taste and texture.
3-5 wedges artisan cheese
Dried or fresh Fruits
Choose your ingredients carefully and display cheeses, olives, pickled veggies, roasted nuts and fruits on an interesting plate, decorative serving dishes, a cutting board, or ??? Surround with breads and crackers. See notes below.
The Cheese: Start with at least three artisan cheeses of distinctly different styles, tastes and textures. For instance you could serve a soft bloomed rind cheese such as Brie, Camembert, or Brillat Savarin. Next, a firm cheese such as Manchengo, Gruyere Swiss, or English Farmhouse Cheddar. Then finally a soft chevre or even a bleu cheese such as Roquefort, Stilton, or an artisan American Blue. You can take it further with cheeses flavored with wine, spices, herbs or dried fruit. Remember, this is a discovery of taste so avoid the common and select artisan crafted cheeses.
Olives and Pickled Veggies: Adding contrasting flavors and texture, these items accent and highlight your cheeses. Olives are a natural choice - avoid the common canned varieties, instead select artisan olives such as Calamata, Green Sicilian, Niçoise, or Greek Oil-cured and blends - place them in a small bowl (providing an empty bowl for pits). Pickled veggies are another great option that introduce vinegar and crisp, juicy textures. Ideas include Cornichons, pickled peppers, artichoke hearts, Chow Chow or Southern pickled veggies such as okra, garlic, asparagus, or green beans.
Nuts, Fruits & Breads: There are few things as wonderful with cheeses as nuts and fruits! Fruits: apples, pineapple, grapes and berries as well as dried berries, cranberries and cherries. Nuts: Choose high-grade raw or roasted and salted nuts such as pecans, almonds, Spanish Almonds, pine nuts or walnuts. As for breads and crackers, avoid the common and choose special varieties with texture and flavor.