Whether you’re on snack duty for a family games evening or looking to design the perfect date night sharing platter, cheese boards are a fantastic option that allows you to show off your creativity in the kitchen. The hardest part is choosing what to include, but as long as you use the best quality ingredients (and the ultimate cheese board essentials!) you can find, you’ll be on to a winner.
In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know, giving you some amazing cheese board ideas. From the cheese itself to charcuterie, wine to accompaniments, you’ll learn how to build the best cheeseboard in just a few easy steps.
There are so many types of cheese it can be hard to know where to begin. From soft to hard cheese, blue cheese to goat’s, the options are endless. The best cheeseboards will offer various cheeses for guests to choose from, so you may wish to try one of our carefully curated Cheese Boxes as a starting point.
You can’t go wrong with Montgomery’s Farmhouse Cheddar; an award-winning hard cheese made with love in Somerset. But if you’re after something a little different, why not try Shorrock’s Lancashire Bomb? With its striking black wax shell, it will add some beautiful contrast to your cheeseboard, as well as a delicate tang and creamy texture.
Soft cheeses are always popular, and there are many to choose from. Tunworth is a heavenly soft cow’s cheese; rich, sweet and nutty. Try sticking some rosemary and garlic in it and baking for 10 minutes for oozy, gooey deliciousness and a perfect accompaniment to crusty bread. Or you could go for a gorgeous goat’s cheese, such as Ashlynn, which spreads perfectly on crackers.
Blue cheese is a must for serious cheese lovers. Their longer fermentation time creates a fantastically strong flavour, so make sure you have a blue on your board! Cropwell Bishop Stilton is a classic, but if you’re after something a little milder perhaps, try Perl Las. Even those who turn up their nose blue cheese will enjoy its delicate saltiness and creamy texture.
Meat is a fantastic addition to any cheeseboard. Cured charcuterie meats in particular are always a hit, as their salty, smoky flavours complement the cheese incredibly well. We’re lucky to have an abundance of artisan producers here in the UK whose focus is on producing delicious charcuterie from traditional breed livestock. Avoid the cheap imitations, which are full of artificial flavours, colours and even dangerous chemicals, and take pleasure in some of the finest meaty delicacies that this country has to offer.
There are so many options to choose from, we thought we would give you our advice. We’d recommend trying Cobble Lane’s Fennel & Garlic Salami; it’s a firm favourite. Or go for Dorset Capreolus Air Dried Beef, which works particularly well with hard cheese such as Rutland Red. If you still can’t make up your mind, our chefs can prepare a Charcuterie Selection just for you, which includes four different types of meat, fresh figs and parmesan shavings. No need to worry about the presentation; just put it in the centre of your cheeseboard, and you’re good to go!
You’ve sorted out the main event – but what about the extra bits that really bring your cheese board ideas to life? Once you’ve organised your cheese and charcuterie on your board, it’s time to add extra colour and texture with artisan crackers, chutneys and even fruits.
A few different types of cracker will provide some much-needed texture. Whether you go for a water biscuit, a cream cracker, or even an oatcake is up to you! Seeded Crackers are insanely moreish and work well with all types of cheese. Frankly, we could eat a whole box of them on their own!
Chutneys work so well with cheese, and we believe that Green Tomato Chutney belongs on every cheeseboard. If you prefer a sweeter accompaniment, why not try something fruity, like a Spiced Apricot Compote? The delicate spices cut through the richness of even the strongest cheese, and it works particularly well with a good Cheddar or Stilton.
Whilst a cheese course is definitely a savoury affair, adding a little sweetness can go a long way. A little local honey, such as that of the Olympic Park, is a wonderful complement to a sharp cheddar. Try also decorating your board with fruits such as red and green grapes, blueberries or even halved cherry tomatoes sprinkled with a little salt. Not only will these make your cheeseboard more visually appealing, but the contrasting flavours will work so well with your cheese and meat.
The Drink Pairing
Just like salmon and smoke, cheese and wine were made for each other. You could spend years studying which wines go with which cheeses, but we would advise spending more time enjoying any delicious glass with your favourite cheese. However, as a rule, medium-bodied reds are fabulous with a hard cow’s cheese, whilst a lighter fruity red is gorgeous with a soft cheese such as Baron Bigod.
If you’re after a classic flavour combination, do try a creamy blue with a dessert wine. Lyme Bay Mead is top-notch, but you really ought to try the new Late Harvest by Hush Heath. It’s outstanding served chilled, with a long, smooth finish. Cheers!
Et voila! We give you our cheese board ideas! If you follow all of these steps, you’ll be able to build an impressive cheeseboard to impress even your most discerning guests. Start by arranging your cheeses across the board and cutting small slices or chunks off (depending on the type of cheese!). You can then display your charcuterie; folding pieces over each other looks effortlessly elegant. Next, add your chutney and honey, either decanted into small pots or in their jars. And finally, decorate with your chosen crackers and fruits, if using.