By Sandi Butler Hughes
Photo Courtesy of Greys Fine Cheeses & Entertaining
How To Create This Masterful Cheeseboard
Gather cheeses, accoutrement, and any garnishes (optional). Vary pairings in texture: juicy, sweet, crunchy, salty, or acidic. Cut cheese to have long, broad pieces, not cubes - have maximum surface area for tasting. Pro tip: Cheese should be eaten at room temp but is easier to cut when it is cold. Slice cheese straight from the fridge, then plate it as it rises to room temp.
Plate each of the cheeses. Find an attractive way to stack each cheese so that a piece can be easily grabbed without disturbing other pieces. The cheeses should be a “step-up” in flavor between the first and third cheeses.
Add three pairings for each of the cheeses, from sweet to salty with different textures. Add some pickles (pickled anything-green beans, Brussels, etc) nearby as well. Having these helps cut the richness of all the cheese, and it pairs with the last cheese as well.
Add some “conversation crackers.” Crackers work great as palate cleansers and give something to snack on between cheeses. This gives a chance to chat in between cheeses and provides more crunchy texture also.
Hit it with a garnish and serve! This is a well-balanced experience that will be an absolute showstopper. Throw in some wine and forget about cooking dinner- this is it!
Montealva, a mild Goat’s milk cheese from Spain
Pairing: lemon-sultana marmalata with caraway and saffron
Ossau-Iraty, sheep’s milk cheese with more flavor (said to be one of the first cheeses ever produced in France)
Pairing: black cherry confit; another option - Amarena or luxardo cherries
Challerhocker cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland (flavor star of the show!)
Pairing: crunchy walnuts and dried figs