Blogmas Day #18 – The Ultimate Party Cheese Board


Welcome back to Blogmas Day 18! With exactly one week left until Christmas I thought I’d share my absolute favourite party dish; how to put together the ultimate cheese board! This is really fun to create for parties and events because you can be as simple or fancy as you like. Now that I have some cheese board experience under my belt, I’ll be sharing tips on creating the ultimate cheese and antipasti board. 


The Board 


When choosing a cheeseboard, take into account the number of guests you’re having and the amount of food you plan to have. I have a couple of different sized boards in rotation, and use them according to the number of guests I have. Some great places to buy cheese boards are Kmart, Chef’s Hat and Harris Scarfe. 

The next
step (and the most fun) is deciding what items to have on your board. 
I’ll start with the staples, and add to it bit by bit. This is where you can get really creative, and I highly recommend Pinterest for inspiration (check out mine here)! 


So without further ado, let’s get to it! 


The Staples

Cheese. I stick to a minimum of three for a smaller board, and add more for a larger crowd.

One whole wheel of a soft cheese. Everyone loves brie or camembert
and I find this is also the most popular at parties. I normally go for a double
or triple brie for extra creaminess.

One hard cheese, such as a cheddar. A large hunk of cheddar is always
a hit. I like to switch it up and go for something a bit unusual, such as a
smoky cheddar or one with peppercorns, nuts or herbs. 

One blue vein cheese. You either love or hate blue cheese,
but when you pick the right one it’s always a hit. Blue cheese is the one
cheese to splurge on in my opinion! 

Another soft cheese. I also include another soft cheese, in a
smaller size but different to the main soft cheese. For instance, if I make the
main soft cheese a brie, I’ll choose a camembert and vice versa. 

Goats cheese/feta cheese. Some good options are Persian fetta or a goats ash cheese. 

Cold Cuts. It’s totally up to you what cold cuts you serve. I normally pick two of the three below. 

Salami. I like to buy a whole salami and slice it
thinly, or if you’re after a precut version, try a Casalinga
salami. If you’re based in Melbourne, some great delis for salamis are Theo’s Deli
in South Melbourne Market, Second Avenue in Altona or try the delis at The Queen
Victoria Market.

Prosciutto. Like salami, it pays to pick a good quality prosciutto.
I buy around 20 thin slices, usually from a market deli. 

Ham off the Bone. I prefer freshly shaved ham from a butcher or deli and usually buy around $6 worth. 

Antipasti. There are so many options for antipasti such as dips, dolmades, olives, sundried tomatoes etc. I’ll usually include a couple of different options. 

Olives. Some varieties to include are Kalamata olives, green Sicilian olives or black Spanish olives. I normally pick two different types for variety. 

Dips. I normally stick to two or three dips. Hommus,
tzatiki, avocado and basil pesto dips are good choices. The colours of the dips
will add some interest to your board, so I always include brighter options.

Crackers. I usually include a basic water cracker and a fancier flavoured cracker for variety.  

Wafer crackers are the perfect accompanist as they allow the
flavor of the cheese to shine.

Water crackers are great for dips, cheese and to pile salami onto.

The Extras (optional)

Dried Fruit/NutsWalnuts, almonds, dried apricots and dried pineapples are great for filling in gaps on your cheese board and adding texture

Fresh fruit. Strawberries, figs, pear slices, passionfruit and grapes are good choices and pair perfectly with the other items on the board. 

Vegetables. Colourful Dutch carrots pair perfectly with dips or try some crispy celery. 


Assembling the Board

The last
and most fun step is putting your board together. It can seem
overwhelming with all of the items in front of you, but when you break it down
into steps, it really isn’t that bad!

First Step. The staples. 


Start with the cheeses. Place the largest
cheese in the middle of the board, and then surround it with the smaller
cheeses, allowing space in between for the other foods. 
Position the cheeses in
a way that allows easy access for your guests (for example, don’t place the smaller
cheeses at the back of the board as it’ll be too difficult for guests to
reach). 

Next up are the dips. I like to position mine in between the cheeses,
on the outer edges of the board. 

I either include the cold cuts on the board or
on a separate plate (some of my guests don’t eat pork for religious reasons so
I am always conscious to separate it). If I’m including it on the board, I’ll
place the cold cuts by group around the platter (for example, the salami will
be together, the ham together etc. I don’t like to mix all of the cold cuts
together. But that’s a personal choice). 

I place the olives in small bowls
around the platter (one or two small bowls are enough).

Tip: Don’t
worry if you change the placement later on; you can rearrange it any way you
like (I always fiddle with mine until it’s just right!).

Second Step. The extras. 


Scatter the fruit/dried
fruit/nuts randomly around the platter, filling in the gaps. The aim is to make
the platter look full and brimming with deliciousness. This is when it’s a good
idea to take a step back and assess the platter. If you’ve got lots of gaps in
between, you may need to rearrange some of the items. Similarily, if it looks
totally overcrowded and chaotic, try to remove some items. After all, how it
looks is just as important as how it tastes!

Third Step. The crackers. 


Scatter some of the crackers around the
board. I don’t place them all onto the platter as it can make it look messy. Instead, I will put the majority of the crackers into a separate bowl
next to the platter, and will top up throughout the party. For the crackers on
the platter, I try to place them near the cheeses, on the outer edges of the platter
and around the dry fruit. 

Final StepThe finishing touch. 

Lay your cheese knives on the edges of the
platter for easy access. I also like to keep toothpicks and napkins
scattered on the table beside the platter so guests can have everything within
reach.

I hope this
post gave you some ideas on how to build your own cheese platter! If you have
any comments or questions I’d love to hear them! 

xo Roxane.

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