When you’re entertaining, cheese boards are an easy and elegant hosting solution. They’re easily personalized to your audience and are the perfect excuse for a trip to Earth Fare’s specialty department. To entertain like an expert, here are a few simple rules for creating your cheese board!

Keep It Simple

Depending on how many people you’re hosting, stick with 3 to 4 cheeses. If you’re expecting a crowd of 15 or more people, 5 or so cheeses should do the trick.

Balance Taste and Texture

You don’t want to serve all of the same types of cheeses. All creamy cheeses would coat the palate, where all aged would be too salty. Instead, aim for textural contrast by pairing a softer cheese and an aged cheese on the same board, while a blue or washed rind cheese can add a punch of funky flavor to balance against some more mild selections, like cheddars or goudas.

“What Grows Together Goes Together”

When it comes to choosing what wine to pair with your cheese board, a basic rule is to choose cheeses and wines (or beers!) from the same region, country, or state. The area’s similar flavor profiles should complement each other, making the pairing cohesive.

Horizontal vs. Vertical Pairings

A horizontal tasting means trying different examples of the same style from different cheesemakers. This similar age-profile creates a “like for like” balance without being too similar. A vertical tasting involves trying different ages of a particular style, which can provide more textural variety.

Need some ideas to get you started? Here are some classic cheese pairings:

  • The Alpine Plate: Alpha Toman, Tallegio, and Ossau Iraty
  • The Classics: 18-Month Aged Gouda, Barber’s 1833 Cheddar, and Brie de Meaux
  • American Originals: Harbison, Humboldt Fog, and Beehive Barely Buzzed
  • Crowd Pleasers: Any Cheddar, Buttermilk Blue Cheese, and Carmen Young Manchego

For more information (and inspiration!), head to your local Earth Fare’s specialty department and talk to one of our Team Members trained in the amazing cheeses available to you.

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