How To Cut Cheese For A Cheese Board

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How Do You Pronounce Gouda

How to Assemble a Cheese Board

And if youre trying to be a real cheese connoisseur, youre going to have to pronounce it right. While in America we pronounce it g-OOO-dah, its actually pronounced h-OW-da. We dont have anything like the sound of the Dutch G in English, but its almost like youre clearing the back of your throat or are gargling. Cute right?

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The Shape And Texture

Hard, blockcheeses such as cheddar can be sliced, grated or shaved. Grated cheese is usually reserved for cooking, while shaved cheese is the perfect salad or pasta topping. Sliced hard cheese is the best option for cheese platters. Make sure to use a sharp knife and slice the cheese horizontally to make bite-size portions. Be careful not to make the slices too thin otherwise the cheese will dry out.

Round, soft cheeses such as camembert or brie is best sliced like a cake. Cut the round of cheese in half, straight down the center and then continue to slice into even size wedges.

Semi-hard wedge cheeses such as parmesan and gouda are best served by slicing the wedge cross-wise, then cut vertically along the rind.

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Prepare And Place Cheeses

Once youve selected your cheese, its time to choose a board. You can get one large board or multiple small onesbe creative! I usually go with wood or marble.

As I get ready to prep everything for the board, I like to keep a few things in mind. First, to help keep things picture-perfect, I keep softer cheeses cold and let harder and crumblier cheeses warm up a bit. This will help keep the softer cheese from smearing or oozing while cutting, and it makes it easier to slice hard or crumbly cheeses.

I always work off board at a workstation to prepare everything. This workstation is usually my everyday cutting board and a sturdy kitchen knife. I like to stage the cheese, so I cut the white and mild cheeses first and end with the colorful and bold-flavored cheeses last to prevent color and flavor transfer.

I also like to think about how I will cut, slice or crumble the cheese and have a plan in mind before I start to prep and place. That means ensuring each cheese has its own unique shapethat will help you and your guests remember which is which. This is especially true if two cheeses look like each other when cut.

Soft and semi-soft cheeses slice and cube easily, while firm and hard cheeses are great in sticks, triangles, or even crumbled.

Themed Options And Variations


How to make a seasonal cheese board: I love to allow the seasons to influence the simple or fancy cheese platter offerings. Here are just a few cheese board ideas for seasonal additions.

  • Spring/Summer: fresh berries, peaches , in-season cherry tomatoes, radishes, fresh apricots, cantaloupe, and even fresh basil .
  • Fall: apple and pear slices, roasted squash/pumpkin slices, grapes, apple butter, etc. You could also use fall-inspired crackers like these fallen leaves crackers.
  • Winter: pomegranate seeds, clementines, cranberry sauce, figs, fig jam, dried cranberries, roasted Brussel sprouts.

Cheeseboard charcuterie: Ive kept this at the bottom of the list, as I dont often add any meat to my cheese boards . However, if you want to add some meat, you could use Salami, prosciutto, cured beef/ham, nduja, mortadella, soppressata, etc. You could also add a spreadable like pâté .

Vegetarian cheese board: I dont tend to add any meat to cheese boards anyhow. However, what you do have to look out for are cheeses that contain rennet. Otherwise, these cheese boards are naturally vegetarian.

Vegan cheeseboard: all of the guidelines and tips mentioned in this post apply for a vegan cheese board, too just using dairy-free cheese instead .

You can also prepare themed cheese platters based on the holidays or on the region /

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How To Arrange A Cheese Board

Arrange the crackers and breads around the cheese. Youre free to use whatever type of cracker or bread you enjoy. To accomodate guests with dietary restrictions or food allergies, you might want to include some gluten-free and/or low-carb crackers. You can also make your own. This recipe for Low-Carb Almond Flour Crackers is easy to make and the crackers are delicious!

General Guidelines For A Beautiful Cheese Board

  • Space out all items on the cheese board, starting with the cheeses.
  • Work from the bigger ingredients to the smaller ones .
  • Repeat the same items a few times on the same cheese board. For instance, add twice the same round crackers on different locations of the cheese board.
  • Dont make it too organized or symmetrical. Try instead to let the artist in you shine, and dont hesitate to throw in a few nuts here and there.

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Stone And Marble Boards

Stone boards, made from marble, granite or natural stone make excellent cheese presentation platters due to both their form and function. A marble board, in particular, offers a beautiful and cool surface on which to store cheese and will not absorb smells as easily as wood, though marble is still porous and requires care.

Thus, if you’re planning on an outdoor event or your cheese platter will be sitting out on a hot day, you will want to choose marble, granite or stone to help preserve the cheese. Even better, a clear dome or letting your cheese board sit in an ice bath beforehand will gain approving nods from fellow cheese heads. Note that it is correct to serve cheese at room temperature, so don’t go overboard and ice the cheese itself, as a Frenchman seeing this act will summarily pour out all your wine and mutter something about roast beef. Ok, we kid, but the taste of cheese is closely linked with the fermentation and umami flavor, which is highlighted with a bit of warmth.

As we are, we always make it a point to state that hard stone surfaces and knives do not mix. That said, assuming you aren’t cutting your cheeses with a ceramic knife or your carbon steel Shun, you shouldn’t worry too much about dulling your dedicated cheese knives. Only a few hard cheeses require some effort to cut and for those varieties, is usually requires a mandolin or cheese plane.

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Gather The Things Needed To Cut The Cheese

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Choose a correct knife or slicer

Choosing the right knife is very important because the perfect shape would depend on how hard the cheese is. Usually, hard cheeses are easy to cut. But, the tricky part is cutting the semi-soft or soft cheese. So, choose the sharp knife, wire cutter, slicer, or peeler that seems convenient to you.

A clean board

The next thing you would need is a clean board. If you have a cheese slicer, you probably wouldnt need it. But, no matter where you lay your piece of cheese to cut, make sure the tray is clean and dry.

Cut the cheese with a correct knife

Dont get scared when I say correct knife. In no way, I recommend you buy an individual slicer for specific cheese. But, the cheeses are very delicate, and there is a wide variety of slicers in styles, shapes, and variations. So, if you are a perfectionist, then it would be wise to use the right slicer to have the perfect portion of cheese.

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General Tips To Make A Great Cheese Plate:

  • Use a large, flat board. You dont need anything fancy a plain cutting board will do! You just want to make sure its big enough to fit everything comfortably. For these photos, we used a circular wooden cutting board but I also frequently make cheese plates on large plastic cutting boards, serving platters, or even spread out across a few dinner plates. You definitely dont need to run out and buy something brand new just for cheese boards. Youre going to cover your board up anyway, so dont worry if it doesnt look perfect!
  • Prep your cheese plate ahead of time. You can assemble a cheese plate in 10-20 minutes but if youd like to do some prep in advance, try these ideas:
  • Set out your cutting board/plate and arrange any small bowls the night before. You can also set out any containers of nuts, salt, or honey youre planning to use so theyre ready to go.
  • Assemble the cheese plate a few hours early, cover with reusable beeswax wrap or plastic wrap, and stick it back in the fridge If you do this, I recommend adding any nuts or greenery at the last minute to preserve texture.
  • Cut any hard cheeses ahead of time and store them in a container in the fridge until youre ready to use them .
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    Start by placing the cheese wedge on its side which is large and flat. Place the charcuterie meat in slices, loose bunches, or layers in and around the cheese.

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    The Intermediate Cheese Board

    For the intermediate plate, go with some more complex curd concepts. You may need to request these choices from a cheesemonger, or you can order them online.

    Gorgonzola Dolce: Scoopable and slick, this cheese tastes like an intense sour cream.

    Budget one ounce of each type of cheese for each guest per hour.

    Wine pairing for the intermediate board: Loire Valley Pineau dAunis or Austrian Zweigelt

    While exploring new cheeses take this opportunity to try a wine you may never have had before. Pineau dAunis is a red grape known for its peppery flavors and aromas. The reds are made in a lighter style with bright red fruit flavors, mouthwatering acidity and a gentle grip of tannins. While this wine may take some work to find, dont shy away from Pineau dAunis rosés, which will have similar flavors with a little more zip. As an alternative, look to Austrian Zweigelt, which has long been hailed for its crisp red fruit and peppery flavorsa solid choice for a number of pairings.

    Should I Slice The Cheeses Or Let My Guests Cut Them

    How to Cut Cheese Like a Pro

    When Im building a board, I decide whether or not to pre-slice depending on the types of cheeses Im serving, the size of the board, and the occasion.

    If its a small board for only a few guests, Ill often put out a knife for each cheese and let them slice their own. For a large party, where I need to keep my traffic flow moving, Ill offer more pre-sliced options.

    How to Slice Cheese for Visual Appeal

    For the prettiest cheeseboard, its nice to cut different cheese styles into different shapes.

    Aged cheeses, like sharp cheddars and hard Gouda, can be beautiful when presented in irregular pieces. As you cut them, theyll naturally crumble, creating rustic edges.

    Semi-soft cheeses are well-suited to cutting into strips, rectangles, and triangles. I like to follow the natural shape of the wedge or block in most cases, creating slices about 1/4-inch thick.

    I like to present most soft, bloomy-rind, and washed-rind cheeses whole, with a small wedge removed. Ill often place the cut piece on top of or next to the round.

    Sometimes, guests can be shy about making the first cut in a cheese wheel when its totally intact. Giving them a head start both allows them to see the cheeses texture and invites them to dig in.

    Tip: While sliced cheeses are convenient, large wedges are also beautiful anchors on a board. Many times, Ill partially slice a wedge, and display the pieces fanned alongside the unsliced block with a knife for guests to continue cutting when the slices have run out.

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    The Beginner Cheese Board

    The beginner plate features cheeses that are easier to find in stores and will please a wider variety of palates.

    Humboldt Fog: With rind like brie and paste like familiar chèvre logs, this Californian delight has an iconic line of edible vegetable ash down the middle.

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    Champlain Valley Triple Cream: Fluffy and with aromas of fresh dough, this cheese boasts a luxurious 70% butterfat content.

    Manchego: Swap out your standard Cheddar block for this Spanish sheep-milk snack.

    Point Reyes Blue: A creamy and salty starter blue that doesnt sting.

    If you can get your teeth through it safely and it tastes good, then you can eat the rind.

    Wine pairing for the beginner board: Central Coast Chardonnay

    Look to unoaked Chardonnays from Californias Central Coast for an easy sipping wine perfect for cocktail parties or as an aperitif. The apple, pear and citrus flavors typical of the wines will complement this variety of cheeses, with acidity that will cut through the creaminess of the cheese without being astringent.

    What Other Foods Can You Include On A Christmas Cheese Board

    Along with different combinations of meat, cheese, crackers, fruit and spreads, consider adding olives, pickles, and other veggies to your festive cheese board. You can even squeeze in a sweet or two, like homemade Christmas candy or decorated Christmas cookies. Think about what your guests like, and go from there! Find more inspiration with these cheese board ideas.

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    First Step: The Choice Of Cheese

    Types of cheese. Even if there is no strict indication about how to choose the perfect cheeses for your cheese boards, I recommend you: 1/ choose them based on their types, 2/ think variety, 3/ go for regional options first . Usually for 6-8 people, I like to have about 4 to 6 types of cheese chosen among the following categories:

    • Fresh cheese. This category includes cheeses that arent aged at all. They are soft, spreadable cheeses with creamy textures and very mild flavors: fresh goat cheese, ricotta, etc.
    • Soft cheese. These are creamy, earthy cheeses with a thin white rind of blooming mold: Brie, camembert, etc.
    • Washed-rind cheese. These cheeses are similar in texture to the soft cheese but they have a distinctive orange coloring in the outside. This category includes: Munster, Maroilles, etc.
    • Firm/hard cheese. This is the largest category on the market: Gruyère, Parmesan, Emmental to name just a few
    • Blue cheese. This category includes any mold cheese: Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Danish Blue, etc.

    How to place the cheese on the cheese board? Always start by placing the cheese on your cheese board, spacing them from each others. You can also cut a few slices to make it more inviting to the guests .

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    • An elegant way to slice, cut and serve a variety of different cheeses perfect for entertaining
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    • Handwashing recommended

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    Tips To Follow While Cutting Cheese

    When I was an amateur, I made several mistakes while dealing with cheese. Thus, I would like to take the time to give you some tips so that you dont repeat them as I did.

    • Cut cheese as you serve the dish
    • Whether you take a cheese knife or slicer, its recommended not to saw
    • While cutting cheese, move the knife back and forth. The cheese wont get stuck
    • Always keep your cutter or slicer clean and dry every time you use to avoid rust, bluntness, and corrosion

    What To Put On A Cheese Board

    The general idea is to provide a good combination of flavors, textures, and even colors to provide both contrast and balance. This makes them a little more than your average Christmas cheese and cracker platter.

    However, the exact ingredients of your cheese board will depend on the time of year, holidays, or theme . The resulting fruit and cheese platter is perfect for serving at any special occasion, party, or large gathering. You can also prepare a cheese board gift!

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    How Much Cheese Do I Need

    If youre serving a cheese plate as an appetizer, plan to have 2-3 oz. of cheese per person. If youre serving a lot of accompaniments alongside the cheese, people will eat a little less cheese. Fewer accompaniments? Plan for people to eat a little more.

    If youre making a cheese plate for dinner plan for 4-5 oz. of cheese per person and load that plate up with plenty of fruits and veggies .

    And heres the thing: If you or your party guests arent big cheese eaters, you dont need as much cheese. If youre hosting a contingent of CHEESE. PEOPLE., you might want to stock up.

    If youre worried you have too much cheese, cut all of your cheeses in half and put out one half at a time you can always take the rest out later if you need it! Having a little extra cheese in the fridge for later is never a bad thing. Worried you dont have enough? Cut hard cheeses into extra-small pieces, spread each cheese out over a few different spots on the cheese board, and add plenty of extra fruit, nuts, and crackers.

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