Building the Perfect Cheese Board.

Okay before we begin… I love to entertain! I haven’t done a lot of entertaining coverage over here but now that I live in a space that can handle more parties (and I can photograph them), is that something you want to see more of? I had friends and family over on Saturday night and got a bunch of questions about the cheeses I chose, so I thought I’d put together a little post about it.

The first tip I have is to know your audience. A few of my good friends hate soft cheeses, whereas my sister and cousin and I are basically soft cheese monsters. Before having friends over, just ask! Some people are really grossed out by the creamier (sometimes stinkier) cheeses, so you want to make sure that you’ve chosen something your friends will love! Below I have listed out my personal favorites. The ideal cheese board should generally have at least three cheeses. Depending on your audience you will want to do a mix of hard and soft cheeses (I typically do two soft cheeses and one harder one… but if I have friends who are less adventurous/pregnant/etc coming over, I will alter that and do more hard cheese.)

My favorite places to buy cheese are Murray’s Cheeses (in Manhattan) and Bedford Cheese Shop (around the corner from me but there’s one in Gramercy too). Whole Foods also has a terrific selection of cheese.

My Favorite Hard Cheeses:

  • Ewephoria (get it at Murray’s!) is a caramel-y goat cheese with notes of butterscotch. It’s nice and crumbly and looks really pretty next to a soft gooey cheese.
  • Brabander is a hard goat cheese from the Netherlands. It has the most delicious caramel flavor.

Crowd Pleasers

  • Aged Cheddar is something that everyone loves. I mean, you can’t go wrong.
  • Brie is probably the most innocent of all the soft cheeses. It’s delicious and super creamy.
  • Saint Andre is one of my favorite cheeses. It’s a triple cream cows milk cheese and suuuuuper buttery.
  • Goat Cheese (with or without herbs) is delicious and also on the healthier side. A lot of people hate goat cheese though (this is personal experience talking) so be sure to ask ahead!

Soft Cheeses

  • Truffle Tremor is my all time favorite cheese. If you love truffles this will change your life. It’s a goat cheese with truflfes in it and it’s just the most amazing.
  • Blue Earth is my best friend’s favorite cheese – it’s a form of brie and ultra buttery.
  • Camembert is a classic soft cheese – good if you want to take your love of Brie or Saint Andre to the next level.
  • Good Thunder is an amazing alternative to Blue Earth (I couldn’t find it at my cheese shop lsat time). It’s a cow cheese from Minnesota. It’s super gooey and absolutely delicious. You can only buy it in a square shaped block (and when you cut into it, it makes a huge mess). The oh so helpful guy at Bedford Cheeses advised me to cut it in half diagonally and serve it that way. It helps. 🙂

My favorite salami right now. Bedford Cheese Shop sells these and I’ve tried ’em all. This one is the best.

What to pair it with!

  • Something sweet! I like to do honey, but you could also do a fig jam or a quince paste. Figs are another good option; and they look pretty sliced in half on the plate.
  • Meats! I will generally get a salami of some sort (this one!) and prosciutto de parma. Cut the salami into thin slices, and roll the prosciutto up into tiny bundles.
  • Almonds or nuts. My personal favorite is truffled marcona almonds (I buy mine at Trader Joe’s) but you could also do classic marcona almonds, cashews, regular old almonds, etc.
  • Mustard (this is optional but a really good spicy mustard is delicious and also adds a nice color to the cheese board.
  • Olives
  • Pickles. I love Rick’s Picks pickles… they take all sorts of delicious vegetables and marinate them.
  • Crackers – This is boring but my favorite crackers (probably because I see crackers and bread more as a vehicle for getting more cheese into my mouth) are Carr’s Water Crackers. They are light and crunchy and let the cheese to shine.
  • A fresh baguette, cut in  thin slices. You want your guests to do as little work as possible!

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of so many of these cheese names. You sure know quite a bit!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Thank you for naming actual cheeses! I’m always overwhelmed and don’t know how to narrow things down. I’ve seen lots of “cheese board” posts on blogs before, but everyone just takes copious pictures of olives and salami. Thank you for real suggestions:).

  3. Brittany says 5.4.17

    Minnesota represent! ha. This looks so good- who hates goat cheese??

    xo, brittany
    florals for mama + babe on my blog today
    http://www.notablob.com

  4. Brianna Rooney says 5.4.17

    Yes – more of this please! I love it! Maybe entertaining in a small outdoor space too?!

  5. Sam says 5.4.17

    LOVE a good cheese plate! One of our friends bought us a cheese board as a housewarming gift, and now he always brings cheese and a baguette when he comes over. It’s perfect! Definitely have to check out your faves! I’m also a fan of smoked gouda, and there’s a garlic and herb cheddar that is amazing…and now I want cheese!

    xx
    Sam

  6. Angela says 5.4.17

    100% yes to more entertaining posts! I’ve never heard of the Ewephoria cheese. Next time I’m in the city I might have to buy some!

    Angela

  7. Devon Hembury says 5.4.17

    YUM! It’s not even lunch time but I’m pretty much drooling. Love all these ideas! Just got a new cheese board and I’m so excited to break it out…might have to this weekend 🙂 xo Devon Seventeen Dresses

  8. diana pearl says 5.4.17

    Love this post! And now I want cheese. HA!

  9. Maggie says 5.4.17

    My cheese plates always have to have a Manchego and Humboldt Fog. Then I cycle in other cheeses based on my audience. If you haven’t had Humboldt Fog you MUST. It’s my absolute favorite!

    • I can’t believe I left Humboldt Fog off! It’s one of my favorites!!!! It’s in my fridge right now, actually. Picked up a nice big block at Whole Foods on Saturday. x

  10. Shannon Cannon says 5.5.17

    You seem like the absolute sweetest hostess, Grace! Love this spread. Definitely team Spanish cheeses (manchego).

    http://shannoninthecity.com

  11. Alison says 5.5.17

    Love a good cheese plate! Have you been to Sahadi’s? It is a total Brooklyn institution, one of my favorite foodie places in all of NYC. It’s this amazing little specialty market that has been on Atlantic Avenue for a hundred years and has a HUGE cheese department with great selections from all over the world…they also have this amazing bulk nuts/dried foods selection, barrels of fresh olives, prepared foods, hummus, all the coffee, and then all kinds oils, spices, cookies, breads, spreads, and other goodies that you never knew you needed. And it smells soooo good in there. I really miss Sahadi’s…

    • I haven’t!!! It sounds like I need to make a trip! Thanks for the suggestion, Alison! xx

  12. Elizabeth says 5.11.17

    Thanks for doings such a comprehensive post on this! I always do a cheese board when I have people visit my place and I’m looking forward to looking for some of the cheeses I haven’t heard of before. Especially excited about the different kinds of brie – I love brie!
    -Elizabeth | confidentlyelegant.com