It’s American Cheese Month and you don’t have to tell us twice to pull out a platter. It’s no surprise that cheeseboards have been growing in popularity throughout the past few years. We’ve seen some pretty exquisite cheese platters, but if you’ve never made one before, you might be wondering how to set up a cheese board. Here are our top five tips to building a cheese platter everyone will devour.
1.) Pick out at least 3 or 4 different styles of cheese.
The name of the game here is variety–both in the styles of cheese (a sharp cheddar versus mild goat cheese) and in their textures too (one you slice, the other kind of crumbles). If you take this approach to concocting your cheese platter, you’re on your way to creating an epic appetizer. A few of our favorite cheeses to pair with California Figs include
- Sierra Nevada Organic Monterey Jack Cheese (smooth, creamy, solid for slicing)
- Marin French Brie (cow’s milk, rich and buttery, softly oozing)
- Laura Chenel Goat Chabis (goat’s milk, tangy, crumbly)
- Point Reyes Blue Cheese (creamy, punchy, crumbly)
2.) Load the cheese platter with fresh fruits.
This is where crafting the perfect cheese plate gets particularly fun. Look for what fruits are in season and slice up juicy pears or crispy apples in autumn. When winter comes, slice up Fuyu persimmons and break open pomegranates, letting their jewel-toned seeds sparkle with juice. Perhaps supreme a few oranges too. Spring for cherries and strawberries. Summer on with juicy stone fruits of nectarines, peaches and all the berries. Heck, throw on fresh figs when they’re available in summer and early autumn too.
3.) Don’t forget the dried figs.
Dried fruits like apricots or cranberries can add a chewy element for another texture on a cheese board. But, almost every cheese board worth its muster includes figs and this is where our California dried figs particularly shine. You can keep them whole to eat in one bite. Or, slice them up to tile onto crackers with cheese slices or crumbles. Cook them down into a compote. Blitz them into a sweet and savory olive spread. Stuff them with cheese and sprinkle on chocolatey cacao nibs. Anyway you think about it, their seeds sparkle with crunch and their flesh is all earthy sweetness.
4. Pack on the crisps.
The idea here is a slice of bread or cracker can carry the cheese and condiments to your mouth without fuss. So, slice up a crusty baguette. Toast it into crostini. We like several kinds of crackers on our cheese platters and are fond of these snappy rounds from 34 Degrees (the original are our go-to crackers, but the black pepper add a bit of heat that’s nice too). La Panzanella’s mini croccantini are flatbread crackers that are sturdy and crunchy, perfect for cheeses that are especially melty.
5. Go Nuts.
Pile on the nuts for extra texture and flavor to add to your build-a-bite cheese platter. Hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and walnuts all win our vote. Feeling extra fancy? Glaze walnuts to add to the cheese board.
What are your favorite finds on a cheese board? Find more cheese board ideas by following us @valleyfig on Pinterest.
Photo by Jentry