It's All About the Cheese

I'm one of those people who has a difficult time being spontaneous.  I like to plan and organize.  For the evening with our guests, I pepared a cheese platter.  I've served cheese boards before, but didn't put a lot of thought into pairings with other foods.  It wasn't until my husband ordered a cheese board at the Vintage Wine Bar in Philadelphia that I actually considered the presentation and pairing of cheeses with other foods.
Vintage Wine Bar
Once I saw the way the restaurant presented the array of cheeses,  when we returned home I started doing research on pairings and what actually constitutes a "perfect" cheese board.  The opinions are many, varied...and endless.  And I will not rehash it all because there are already numerous blogs out there detailing the "perfect" cheese board.

Fortunately, there are four simple "rules" to remember. 
  1. Vary the cheeses - flavors and textures - strong to mild, soft to hard.  Use no more than 4 varieties.
  2. Let the cheese rest. Take your cheeses out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
  3. Slice the cheeses before placing on the board or platter.  No cubes.
  4. Offer one bread or cracker, one jam or compote, one fruit, and one or two savory items, such as olives and prosciutto.
The layout should be visually pleasing, since you eat with your eyes first.  Don't crowd the cheeses on your board.

Place your cheeses first then add the remaining items accordingly.  Any other items you add should only be for the visual appeal of the board.  I used flowers and a stand to give the board a little height and balance.

For our board, I served 3 cheeses - smoked Gouda, Havarti and brie.  The pairings included grapes, fig spread, honey, olives, prosciutto, nuts and a variety of crackers.  I also served basil pesto.  While it appears that I broke a couple of rules, I look at it as bending them a little. :-)  Just enough to be pleasing to the eye and to the palate!




  1. I love your bread board and what a nice display.

    1. Thank you Shelley. Your comments are much appreciated!

  2. I will give this a try. We love to entertain and I seem to never know what to do with cheese and crackers. Thank you for the idea.

  3. I love the big simple hydrangea blooms, such a clean presentation~

    1. Thank you Jenna! I wanted to put so many more items on that tray, but I was able to restrain myself! :-)


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