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Part TRAVEL JOURNAL and part LIFESTYLE BLOG, this site captures DESIGN, CULTURE, CUISINE and STYLE as seen through the eyes of ALI SWISHER.

How to Create an Epic Cheese Board

How to Create an Epic Cheese Board

Welcome to Cheeseboards: A Love Story.

All jokes aside, I am pretty much obsessed with creating these edible masterpieces. I love them because they are a feast for the eyes (and your friends) and take 10 mins or less to make. This is my go-to appetizer as a hostess or guest.

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When creating a cheeseboard my M.O. is to start with the larger items (grape clusters, cheese blocks) followed by charcuterie, fruit and crackers and finally the nuts, herbs and olives. It’s a bit of a creative process so trust yourself to go with the flow and make changes as needed. If you think about it, it’s just a bunch of snacks layered onto a dish (with a touch of symmetry).

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I’d suggest selecting one or two options from each of the four cheese categories (hard, soft, aged and blue) which will add texture and variety to your board and satisfy varying palates. You can make your cheese selection more interesting by adding condiments and seasonings, such as drizzling brie with honey or sprinkling fresh herbs on your goat cheese.

A few pro tips:

  • Make it ahead of time. I love showing up at dinner parties with a pre-assembled cheese board (knives included). It saves time and ensures you’ll stay out of the host’s way since they’re most likely busy cooking in the kitchen.

  • Keep it seasonal. In the winter months I usually add a pomegranate and satsuma oranges (with the leaves on, of course) as a decorative element. During summer, I like adding figs or strawberries with floral elements.

  • Get creative with “the board”. I’ve repurposed everything from cake trays to slabs of marble to create a cheese board.

  • Add something sweet. my go-to is dark chocolate broken up into pieces with a pinch of sea salt.

My go-to shopping list:

  • Hard or Aged Cheese: 6 month or 1 year aged Manchego, Comte, Goat Gouda

  • Soft Cheese: Humboldt Fog, Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam or Redhawk, Brie

  • Blue Cheese: Stilton (delicious with pear or drizzled with honey)

  • Charcuterie: prosciutto, salami, jamón serrano

  • Marcona almonds (so good sprinkled with truffle salt) and cashews

  • Grapes - variety of red and green

  • Olives, I usually get 2 different kinds for variety

  • Honey - raw honeycomb or in a small mason jar with a honey stick

  • Fig Jam (great with manchego)

  • Herbs: rosemary or thyme

  • Dried fruit

  • Seasonal ingredients: pomegranate and satsuma or blood oranges in the winter. Strawberries, fig and berries in the summer.

  • Mary’s Gone Crackers

  • Rustic Bakery Sourdough flatbread

  • Dark chocolate

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