How to Dominate the Cheese Board
I’ve never been shy about it: I am a cheese lover. I would also like to add that cheese boards aren’t just for skinky-cheese-lovers. Think of it as a magic carpet ride for cheese. Depending on your own taste (or the experience of your party participants) you can ramp up the selections. I am going to present a fairly basic but indulgently-delicious cheese board. All of the ingredients on the cheese board I am presenting here are from Whole Foods, because they are specialty items but accessible from there.
There are so many creamy and (for lack of a better word) basic cheeses that appeal to both the newbie and season cheese-lovers. I’d love to introduce you to a few!
Laura Chenel’s Plain Chevre: This cheese is my go-to for every single cheese board. They are especially tasty with Rain Coat Crisps. You can find double the quantity at Costco for $6 (it comes in a tub)!
La Tur is a solid blend of goat, cow, and sheep cheese. It’s a little more adventurous than Mt. Tam but SO TASTY!!
Mt. Tam: If you are yet to experience Cowgirl Creamery in any of it’s glory… it’s not too late! Mt. Tam is a serious crowd pleaser with a delicious center. In general, the rind is a part of the cheese and I always eat it, but Mt. Tam is an exception and the soft part is better without it (IMO). If you are looking for an introductory soft cheese but don’t want to get a generic brie, this is it. If you are ever in San Francisco they have a shop in the Ferry Building and if you can get to their Raclette on a weekday DO IT!!!
Fromager d’ Affenois is an especially delicious creamy cheese (even easier to spread than your run of the mill brie). It is a true treat when spread over baguette with a touch of honey and a marcona almond (#fancysnacks).
Clarina 3 year gouda: this is a really nice option for your firm cheese. You need at least one. If you have access to a fancy cheese shop: Koko’s Coconut Gouda and Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar are superb selections. You can ask for a manchego or vintage white cheddar if you are at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.
Let’s talk accouterments (is that the right word)? Back up dancers to the cheeses.
Lesley Stowe Raincoat Crisps. These are SO TASTY! My favorites are the green box (rosemary and something else) that you can find from Whole Foods, Safeway, or other grocery stores. This 3-pack is from Costco and only $11 (am I being serious?! YES!!!). Also note the large tub of Laura Chenel for $6 that you will go through much faster than anticipated.
Salami is a great option to add to your cheese board. It is a little salty treat that can also pack some protein so that your guests fill a little full.
La Panzanella Mini Artisan Crackers: These are a great option in addition to or in lieu of baguette. They are very simple and allow the cheese to really speak for itself.
Acme Bread Baguette: Another tasty item from the Ferry building in SF that is available from Whole Foods. If you can’t find a delicious and fresh baguette, then buy the crackers.
Marcona Almonds: These can be a deliciously salty treat on your cheese board. They can be quite pricey (a small tub for $10-$15 at Whole Foods) but Trader Joe’s has a Rosemary version for $5.99 which is a steal!
It’s always a great idea to add fresh fruit (whatever is in season) such as pears, apples, blueberries, raspberries, whatever is good! You can also use dried fruits like dates, dried peaches, figs, etc. You can use satsuma tangerines (like I did in the photo) for some aesthetic pleasure but they can also be an acidic snack (like an angry-sexy-cool backup dancer).
Last but not least, I’d love to introduce you to my favorite brut/champagne that is the perfect pair with a cheeseboard. You can find it for $15-20 at Total Wine and Beverages and More.
Do you have any other go-to’s for your cheese board? Hit me! I’m always expanding my collection of cheese knowledge.