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Cheese Board 101

A Tastefully Yours Tutorial

Step 1: Choose your surface.

I’ve chosen a rectangular, treated, oak cheese board. Depending on the event or occasion, you could use many variations. Sometimes I use a more contemporary white, square, bistro tray or one of Grandmother's silver trays. I like to mix rustic woods with contemporary and classic serving pieces. Just make sure you pick a surface with plenty of room for all the goodies that make a cheese board so much fun!

Step 2: Select your cheeses.

Cheeses are classified by several criteria: fresh, moisture (soft to hard), source of milk (cow, sheep, goat), mold (soft-ripened, washed-rind, smear-ripened, blue), brined and processed. When deciding what cheeses to serve, start by deciding what groups you would like to represent. Also, you may want to pick cheeses based on a particular country or region.

For this tutorial, I’ve chosen my favorites from all over the globe.

Today's cheeses and groupings include:

  • Thomasville Tomme: a semi-soft, raw cow’s milk, natural-rinded cheese from Thomasville, Georgia.
  • Humbolt Fog: a soft-ripened, bloomy rind, goat milk cheese from Arcata, California.
  • Blue d’Auvergne: a blue-veined, cows milk cheese from the Auvergne region of South-Central France.
  • La Tur: a soft-ripened, bloomy rind, cow, sheep and goats milk cheese from the Piemonte region of Italy

Step 3: Choose accompaniments that compliment your cheese selection.

These accompaniments should be based on personal taste, current season and region of choice. As you can tell from my selections, I prefer the "savory vs. sweet" battle. Here are a few combinations to explore:

  • Thomasville Tomme with strawberry preserves and cherries
  • Humbolt Fog with roasted pecans, local honey and honeycomb
  • Blue d’Auvergne with grapes, summer figs, soppressata salami and olives
  • La Tur with blackberries

Step 4: Provide an array of crackers, baguette, flatbreads and breadsticks.

Step 5: Build your board.

When placing your cheeses on the board, spread them out. If any need to be cut, do this while they are still cold. Once your cheeses are where you want them, start piling on the accessories! You can put jams in small bowls or leave them in the cute jars they came in. Pickles and olives should go in bowls in order to keep their juice contained. Pile nuts, berries, veggies, salamis and sausages, and crackers around the cheeses they accompany. Do this 30 minutes before serving, as cheese should be served at room temperature.

Step 5: Enjoy!