At BKLYN Larder, we make it our job to create beautiful and delicious cheese boards every day. We’ve certainly picked up tips and tricks throughout the years and we’ve even made a video about it.
We decided to have a chat with our head cheesemonger, Nicole Connelly, to grab some pointers on how she constructs stunning cheese boards at the Larder.
Creating a Cheese Board can seem overwhelming to the beginner. Where do you suggest they start?
I would start first by picking the cheeses. It’s a foundation from which to build out the rest of your board. You’ll be able to decide what else goes on the board depending on the cheeses you choose.
How do you choose the cheeses?
When I make cheese boards for the store, I normally pick a variety of goat, sheep, and cow’s milk cheese. Having cheese made from different types of milk allows for a variety of flavor and texture on the board. And this way, it’s more likely that everyone will have at least one cheese they love on the board.
Other than that, I would say: think about the rest of the meal- the drinks, entrees, etc. When you’re having sparkling cider or champagne, it’d be best to stick with softer, creamier cheeses. If you’re drinking a stronger flavored stout, you’d probably want to stick with a blue cheese- something to balance the flavors out.
And once you have the cheeses…?
Once I have the cheeses, I decide how I’m going to cut each of the cheese- like, what shapes to use. Again, having a variety here makes the board better. Triangles, sticks, crumbles, and cubes...Try to mix ‘em up!
Then, I lay out the cheese on the board. Separate the cheese into smaller piles, so it’s not all in one place. Here, it’s important to think about colors and shapes- how it’ll fit with the rest of the board.
Now time for accoutrements?
Time for accoutrements. Here’s where you can really get creative. Jams, dried fruits, nuts, herbs, honey, etc. There’s not a general rule as to what you pair with the cheeses. I like to mix and match in the moment- see what tastes good.
Though, there are certain pairings that are tried and true: blue cheeses, chocolate, and cherries are a go-to….or alpine cheeses with a good chili pepper jam (we love the Chili Pepper Jam from BRINS). A funky cheese with a floral honey or sharp cheddar with fruity dried apricots. All classic combinations.
Once you have your choice of accoutrements, you place them on the board, filling in the gaps between the cheeses. You’ll want to leave some room for the crackers, though!
How do you choose which crackers to put on the board?
A good general rule to stick to is: milder cheese with a stronger flavored cracker and stronger cheeses with a milder cracker. Honestly, other than that- it’s mostly personal preference. Some people like fresh bread, like a baguette, instead of crackers....Others love crostini on their board. It’s up to you!
Amazing! Now that we’re practically done with the step-by-step tutorial, any extra tips on making a board look beautiful?
Yes! I suggest looking on Instagram and Pinterest at other people’s boards. I always browse and save my favorite ones. You can see how people really take artistic liberties with their cheese boards. It’s truly an art! People do so many cool things like monochromatic, candy-themed, or season-specific cheese boards. You can even add edible flowers and fresh fruit and veggies to the board for an extra touch. Don’t be afraid to try new things and different combinations!
Lastly, what are the top three things you keep in mind when making a BKLYN Larder cheese board?
Oh boy. Lots of things! I guess, the main thing is I always try to make it look as beautiful as I can, of course. Really trying to have that “awe factor” so you can impress your guests. Secondly, it’s really important for us to use seasonal, fresh, local ingredients at BKLYN Larder. I really think it comes across in the final product. Lastly, I would say: variety! It’s important to have a variety of ingredients, so the customer can try lots of different flavor combinations within each cheese board we make.
Thank you, Nicole.