In the past, cheese and charcuterie boards have been reserved for extravagant cocktail hours, large catered events, or as the occasional date-night appetizer. They seemed exclusive, impractical, and as if they should be reserved for special events. Thank goodness, this snobbery is a thing of the past and cheese boards are becoming the latest fad in the Instagram food world.
Making a board has now become an exciting challenge and form of entertainment. Foodies are creating individually portioned cheese plates and sharing them on Instagram, Tik Tok, and Pinterest. There are “cheese influencers” you can follow that will show you how to recreate their boards step by step, and there are cheese board challenges floating around the internet, like building one on an airplane and sharing your creation. The great thing about this new trend (other than the obvious: cheese), is that there is something interesting about it for everyone. Whether you are a die hard cheese lover with a favorite monger and a long-time fan of Prairie Breeze, or you simply just enjoy the aesthetic challenge of a board; they are a great way to pass the time and indulge from the comfort of your home.
While we are still temporarily closed and many of you are ordering your groceries and not going to specialty stores, we believe this is the perfect time to hop on the board making train. Make it a challenge with your friend group and host a video chat while making them, turn it into a fun activity with the kids where they actually get to play with their food, make one for a date-night at home, or simply for your next snack while you watch that show you’ve been binging.
Here are the basic steps to building a beautiful and delicious cheese board with ingredients you can find at your local grocery store.
1. Pick Your Theme
Do you want your board to be sweet, savory, spicy, or a perfect balance? You can pick a color theme, a season, a holiday...the options are endless. The largest misconception about cheese boards is that it is hard to pair cheeses and accoutrements together. This is not true, and really the best thing to do is just try it. You can search pairings online, or you can go with your gut. Salty and sweet, creamy and spicy...what about a brie with a chilli pepper jam? Or a sweet honey with a salty blue? Honestly, if two cheeses don’t go well together or if you don’t like the salami with the mustard you chose, simply save them for a different combination later on. Experimentation is what makes board making exciting! Now is your chance to experiment without having to impress guests.
2.Pick Your Cheeses
When a customer comes into the Larder wanting to build a board but having no idea what they want, we always recommend a variety of cheeses. Usually we suggest a semi-hard like a gouda or cheddar, a soft and creamy small format or brie, and then something crumbly and salty like a blue. This way, no matter what accoutrements they choose, they are bound to fall in love with at least one combination. Most grocery stores will have a decent selection of cheddars, goudas, some manchegos, and a brie. Use your gut! Consider color, texture, and what you might pair them with. Accidentally ordered too much? Here’s a blog on how we care for our cheeses to make them last.
3.Pick Your Dips, Spreads, and Accoutrements
Selecting what to pair with your cheeses is half of the fun! Basics to have on hand are a good honey, sweet jam, nuts like pistachios or almonds, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Many people already have these items in their kitchen. Other things you can get include fig paste, chocolate, pickles and cornichons, mustards, hummus, dried fruits, olives, and fresh herbs for garnish.
Crackers are the next important thing to consider, especially if you get a soft cheese. Having good crackers or crostini can provide that extra crunch and complete your board. Eating a good cheese board is all about digging your hands in and scooping up that gooey cheese and sweet spread...a cracker with good structural integrity is essential.
4.Building Your Board
While many of us don’t own “official” boards for our cheese plate, don’t let that stop you. Any cutting board, tupperware, dinner plate, and even clean table will suffice. Get creative with the shape of your board! Pinterest is a great place to search for ideas. Practice cutting your cheeses into different shapes...triangles, rectangles, long skinny strips, cubes, or simply crumbles. Every cheese will slice differently and some will be more fragile than others...definitely test it before getting married to an idea. Cheese boards are all about improvisation and working with what you have.
5.Share Your Board!
Be sure to photograph your creation and share it with us for a feature on our Instagram! Use the hashtag #bklynboard and tag us @bklynlarder. Message us if you have any questions about board building. We can’t wait to see what you create from home!