If you’re looking to put together a cheeseboard, follow our top tips. There are a few golden rules to making sure your cheese course delights your guests.
One of the key considerations is to have variety on your board. Avoid offering cheeses that are too similar by including different styles of cheese.
Hard cheeses are very popular, and you would normally expect to find one on any cheese board.
France’s top-selling cheese, Comté, would be an excellent example of this type of cheese. We usually have one on our menu that has been matured for 24 months, and you can taste the salt crystals in it. Délicieux!
Other hard cheeses – or pressed cheeses, as they are also known – that have been cooked or part-cooked include Abondance and Beaufort. Cantal, France’s closest equivalent of Cheddar, would make an equally yummy uncooked alternative, as would Salers and Laguiole.
Next, then, is a good soft cheese.
Brie, with its bloomy rind and creamy texture, is a popular example of this type of cheese. We have one on our menu that has been cut open and filled with a truffle mixture – it’s one of our most in-demand cheeses.
Camembert and Chaource are other great cheeses in this style.
Here in Dordogne, goat’s cheese is king.
We particularly love the local Cabécou, which comes in the form of a disk and melts on the tongue. Rocamadour from the neighbouring Lot département is similar.
The Loire is also home to many terrific goat’s cheeses and the ash-covered, log-shaped Sainte-Maure de Touraine is one we especially like.
Blue cheese, of course, makes a welcome addition to any cheese board, because it looks – and frequently, tastes – so different to other types of cheese.
The sharpness of a Roquefort tingles on the palate, for example. A tangy Bleu d’Auvergne or a rounder Fourme d’Ambert are also popular choices.
A flavour-added cheese can bring colour to a plate. We often serve a sheep’s cheese that has red chilli pepper veins running through it, for instance.
A smoked cheese can add interest too. We sometimes have a locally produced smoked sheep’s cheese on our menu and it gets rave reviews.
Chutneys, nuts and dried fruits also help bring a platter to life visually. We make our own piccalilli and red onion chutney, though you can easily buy some from a supermarket or a deli.
You may have other favourite cheeses you would also want to include on your board. Although we’ve only talked about French cheeses here, there is a world of cheeses to choose from.
There are just 2 final things to consider.
The first is around how many cheeses to include on your board. Displays with an odd number of elements tend to please the eye – 3 or 5 being the most common.
The second is about quality. Try to select the best quality cheeses you can afford.
Wherever possible, we use artisanal cheeses made using unpasteurised milk. Unless you’re buying from a cheesemonger, you may not always find them easy to come by, but you can really taste the difference.
Good luck putting together your next cheese board – and bon appétit!