In addition to adding foods that you enjoy, keep in mind the Foundational Five when building this cheeseboard which includes elements of nutrition for balance: protein, non-starchy carbohydrates, starchy carbohydrates, fat, and the Flavor Factor.
Because these boards can be made year-round, try your best to go for seasonable and sustainable options of fruits, veggies, honey, and more food items to celebrate the seasons. When we eat seasonally we have the opportunity to support local farmers, eat more sustainably, add nutrient variety to our diets, and try foods we potentially haven’t had yet.
Let’s start with the first step, choosing your platter and layer everything else!
Start with your favorite wood charcuterie board or platter
Set the stage for your nutritious and delicious balanced cheeseboard using your favorite holiday-inspired platter or a daily staple in the kitchen.
Some ideas for dressing up your platter include using a wood pizza board (as pictured), a large wood cutting board, your favorite ceramic serving plate, or a combination of these mixed and matched.
If you’re entertaining people who have certain dietary restrictions or allergies, it’s a great idea to have multiple separate platters that each contain a certain food group or offerings that they can enjoy safely.
Lastly, use an assortment of small bowls and ramekins to hold the Flavor Factors like sauces, honey, dips, olives, nut butter, or smaller food items.
Choose a variety of cheeses
Depending on your food and dietary preferences, add the cheese you enjoy the most to your cheeseboard.
Keep in mind that certain cheeses may taste better at room temperature than others and also pay attention to food safety in mind with the number of times cheeses are set out on the counter, which is around 4 hours.
An easy way to build your cheeseboard in advance is to have a separate plate or tray dedicated to cheese and/or meats and put those in the fridge for safekeeping, then add them to the cheeseboard upon serving.
Dairy notable mentions: gouda, brie, cheddar, goat cheese, and manchego.
Non-dairy notable mentions: homemade cashew cheese dip, Miyokos organic cashew milk cheese wheels, cream cheese, and/or cheddar spread.
Incorporate crackers, chips, & bread
This stage in the cheeseboard-making process might be the most important as crackers, chips, and bread are the go-to vehicle for adding cheese, sauces, and dips.
Add a variety of flavors, sizes, and textures of crackers, pita, chips, and bread.
For flavored crackers try the Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers in flavors Rosemary & Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper and the Organic Seed Cracker in Everything flavor.
For simple crackers try the Simple Mills Organic Seed Crackers in Original flavor and the Veggie Pita Crackers in Himalayan Salt flavor.
For bread options, try sliced homemade or local sourdough slices.
Add fruits & veggies
It’s time to add fiber to the cheeseboard to keep us fuller longer and add delicious crunchy textures to the food experience.
For fruits, opt for fruits that are naturally packaged as individual bites such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, dried apricots, pitted cherries, and dates.
For veggies, opt for veggies that are great for use with dips on the chessboard, can be used with spreadable cheese, and are easy to eat. Recommendations for these veggies include carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber rounds, red pepper slices, marinated artichoke hearts, radishes, raw green beans, endive leaves, cherry tomatoes, and more!
Build out the healthy fats
Now that you’ve built out the larger food items on the cheeseboard, you can place fats around the cheeseboard such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts, seeds, and olives.
Tips when using olives is to only include pitted olives to make the eating experience more enjoyable and easy cleanup. Some notable mentions for olives include castelvetrano, kalamata, cerignola, picholine, or liguria.
Add in the Flavor Factors
Flavor Factors are food items, herbs, spices, and/or condiments that will add so much flavor to your cheeseboard.
Options to choose from include but aren’t limited to soft roasted garlic, spicy mustard, assorted pickles, chili crisp, honey, balsamic vinegar glaze, hummus, chutney, pesto, and so much more.
Typically these are smaller amounts used, so opt for placing these on the cheeseboard as a filler in between the larger food items or display them in ramekins.
Drizzle on the honey
There’s something balancing in combining a drizzle of honey on top of the cheese with a crunchy cracker, it’s a delicious flavor.
Opt for local honey in your region to support local farmers and bee populations. When displaying the honey, you can pour some into a small ramekin with a honey wand or display the jar on the side.
Don’t forget the sweets
To balance out the savory, add sweets! Sweets can come from the fruits you add to the cheeseboard and also food items like mini-desserts, cookies, or the easy option which is classic chocolate.
Try dark chocolate-covered fruit or nuts, dark chocolate pieces, caramels, or peppermint bark.
Decorate with fresh herbs
The final touch is adding a few sprigs of your favorite fresh herbs that contribute to the beautiful visual interest and also a wonderful aroma.
It’s best to keep the herbs intact on the stem for easy decorating.
Try rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Cheeseboards are a great way to add nutritious and delicious snacking options for a social gathering. Enjoy!