How to Cheese Board Like the French

It is 19 degrees today and I am dreaming about spring and summer. This January and February stretch has been so cold that sometimes I like to do something that will remind me of the months of the year when I could go outside without my face hurting for the ten minutes following my return inside. So I have decided to make this week's article all about how to make an aesthetically pleasing and totally delicious cheese board. Below I've included some possible components that you could include as well as a few examples of gorgeous layouts that you could model your platter after.

The Base 

To start, get yourself a platter, personally I like a more rustic feel so I would choose a worn wooden platter to display my various cheeses, meats, and fruits. I would get an olive oil bottle or a jam jar, pretty much whatever of your choosing to also place on the board to create a wholistic feel. Finally get some parsley or some rosemary to add some garnish to your board and again add to that wholistic feel. Honestly you can go whatever way you want with this part of the cheese board process, if you like the look than that's what you should go for. There may be other garnishes that you can think of that are more suited to your board. Here are some examples (I did not make these boards):



The Cheese  

Ok so let's start with the most important component of the board, the cheese. I definitely am not a cheese expert, but you can absolutely find me by the cheese board stuffing my face during most holiday celebrations. This is where I get all my "expertise." A personal favorite is the creamy and delicious brie cheese. Other options you could use are: Goat Gouda, Camembert, Stilton, Manchego, etc. Really this comes down to personal preference, but these are a few you could start with if you are unfamiliar with the world of cheese.   


The Fruits 

An essential part of the cheese platter, the fruits add a sweet and healthy element. There are a few different ways that you can go with the fruit portion of the platter here are a few ideas:  grapes (of course), pomegranate, apricots, raspberries, blackberries, grapefruit, pears, figs, plumbs, or clementine. The fruit not only adds a sweet element, but beautiful colors and can make your platter look like an art piece rather than just a layout of cheese. Here are some tips for how to lay out the fruits on the platter.


Pomegranate: Break in half and space the halves around the board. Or buy the seeds separate from the whole pomegranate and distribute those randomly around the platter.

Grapefruit: Cut the grapefruit in half and spread the two halves around the platter. Could also cut in slices and spread around the board.

Pears: Cut the pears in half and spread the halves around the platter. Could also cut in slices and spread around the board.

Figs: Slice and put face up on the platter.

Blackberries: Sprinkle on top of the cheese.

Plumbs: Slice and spread around the platter. 



The Meats 

Another key element to the platter are the meats !!! Giving the platter the smoky taste and bit of protein that it is missing. Here are some meat suggestions that you can use in the platter: sweet salami, summer sausage, and prosciutto. Meats should be cut in slices and laid around the platter.  


The CARBS ! 

And now for a personal favorite, all the bready things to go on the platter. I can never eat enough of this stuff. So in my experience the best things to get are crackers and baguette slices. Make sure to get a fresh baguette if you can, they are much better. You'll know if it isn't fresh by how hard it is to cut the bread when you take it home. And of course, crackers are an essential when serving cheese. If you are doing a cheese platter for guests, I would suggest doing a mixture of thin and thicker crackers so there is something for anybody (don't forget flatbread crackers, they are so yummy!). You can pile the crackers randomly around the platter, or get a nice basket, lay down and napkin, and put all the crackers in that.




The Extras 

Okay so in this section I've complied any other random things that you could add to the platter. These include: olives, pistachios, other nut mix, hummus,  and other sauces and dips. You may also want to add veggies to the platter, consider adding radishes with the stems attached or sprinkling arugula around the platter. These are not always included on cheese platters, but in my browsing these are a few interesting ideas that I saw.  

Putting it All Together 

Okay so now you've collected all these things and cut them up if necessary, how do you put it all together so that it looks good? Really there is no one answer to this question, however I will give you this one piece of advice, haphazard looks better. Personally, I don't like the look of a super exact cheese board with crackers here, fruits there, etc. Instead, mix it all together and see what happens. Below I've included some more inspiration for you to look at in addition to a close up of my own cheese plate! 



...and here's mine 

Happy Plattering!