How to Prepare a Cheese Board

While there is no rule book on how to put a cheese board together, there are a few guidelines you can follow on how to prepare an interesting and flavorful selection of cheeses for your next course. Utilize this as an elegant appetizer or a cleansing palate in between courses. The choice is yours on how sophisticated you’d like the plate to be.

Selecting Cheeses

Any cheese plate should have diversity in terms of style, selection, appearance and flavor. Some prefer to differentiate cheeses by hardness and texture. For example, offering a blue, a hard cheese and a soft cheese. The hardness or softness is determined by the amount of moisture present. A hard cheese is generally more gritty, sharp and salty like a Pecorino. A semi-hard cheese will be somewhat smooth with small granular texture such as classic cheddar and gouda. A semi-soft cheese is higher in moisture which keeps them soft and pliable such as mozzarella. Finally, a soft cheese is anything spreadable like brie. These cheeses are practically paste and often sold in cups.

Storing Cheese

Limit storing cheese as much as possible. Purchase them at their peak ripeness and eat them the day you buy them. Since most of us don’t have access to cheese caves with optimal conditions, store cheese in a vegetable drawer in a fridge. There is typically more moisture there. Wrap hard and semi-hard cheese in wax paper or plastic wrap. Be careful not to store these for long periods of time as the plastic can lead to spoilage. A semi-soft cheese can be wrapped in butcher or wax paper, leaving the rind open so the cheese can breathe. You may need to store blue cheese or other “smelly” cheese in a separate container as the mold can spread to other cheeses.

Serving the Cheese

Set the cheese out early to allow it to come to room temperature. Harder cheese should be pre-cut beforehand to make it easier to enjoy. Add a few compliments to the plate such as flatbreads, toasts, crackers or rye. You can also add dried and fresh fruits like apricots, plums, pears and dates. Nuts are also popular options for their meaty and woody flavors to contrast the aromas of hard and blue cheeses. There is no standard for how a cheese plate should be developed. Let it reflect your tastes and the event its accompanying.

Source: Simply Recipes

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