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Building the Perfect Cheese Board #MadeinFrance #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Whole Foods Market in conjunction with their #MadeinFrance event.
Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links

You can read more about the Curated List of Wines and Cheeses for the #MadeinFrance event where Whole Foods Market Global Buyers Devon Broglie and Cathy Strange will be chatting during the Facebook Live event. Don't forget that's coming up next Thursday, October 5th. So, if you're available, hop on and follow the hashtag - #MadeinFrance - between 2:30pm and 3:00pm Pacific time.

So, after receiving the list of cheeses and wines on which Devon and Cathy were going to focus, I decided to use that as a jumping off point to share with you how I build a picture-perfect cheese board.

Cheese boards are simple to put together but have a high wow factor. And they are undeniably one of the easiest appetizers you can assemble. You just need to offer a variety of colors, textures, and tastes. Here's are some simple steps to create a beautiful, delicious array.

St. Nuage
Step 1: Choose the Cheeses
I like to pick a variety of cheeses based on texture —soft, semisoft, and hard. You can also go with a mixture of different milk sources—cow, goat, or sheep. Or pick cheeses based on a geographical location—this board was all French. A good rule of thumb is to select four or five cheeses and plan on 1 ounce of each cheese per person. I used four cheeses in this case. I've given you some ideas of the cheeses in each texture category...

Semisoft: Havarti, young Gouda, Fontina
Semihard: Gruyère, Manchego, aged Gouda, Comté (photographed in this post)
Hard: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, aged Manchego, Pecorino Romano, Mimolette (photographed in this post)
Soft-ripened: Brie (Saint Angel is a Triple Crème photographed in this post), Cambazola, Camembert
Blue: Stilton, Gorgonzola
Fresh: Ricotta, Chèvre, fromage blanc
Washed-Rind: Limburger, St. Nuage (photographed above), Taleggio, Epoisses de Bourgogne (photographed here)
Epoisses de Bourgogne
Once you've chosen your cheeses, place them on a board equidistant apart. Remember to take the cheese out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to serve them. If they are too cold, the flavors will be muted.
Saint Angel
Step 2: Pick Some Pairings
While cheese can stand alone, of course, you might need a vehicle for putting some of the softer cheeses into your mouth. Crisp crackers or slices of baguette work well.

Mimolette 
Step 3: Fill the Holes
When you've placed your cheeses and lined up your crackers, fill in bigger holes on the board. This is where you can have some fun with more colors and more textures. I like fruit for sweetness—grapes, fresh figs, pomegranates, mangoes, and kiwi) — and olives or charcuterie for saltiness. Now fill in whatever space is left with extras such as nuts and seeds (try Marcona almonds, pistachios, spiced pecans, or salted cashews). I even added some small chocolates to round out the board.

Comté 
Step 4: Don't Forget Utensils
Last, but not least, make sure each part of your board has a serving utensil where needed. Place small spoons or spreaders next to bowls of jam or tapenade; offer toothpicks for picking up fruit and olives; don't neglect the cheese knives! And, to keep flavors separate, ensure that each cheese has its own knife.

I have an embarrassing number of cheese knives. I even have a traditional Stilton scoop that I swore I needed but have never used. Here's a brief cheese knife guide, but use what you have. 
  • Hard, semihard, and semisoft cheeses can take a spade or a spear-tipped knife.
  • Semisoft, soft, and fresh cheeses need a spreader or a plane.
  • Crumbly cheese (such as blue cheese) and hard cheeses take a flat knife.
  • And a cheese fork can hold hard cheeses steady while slicing. 

That's it! Easy peasy, right? In four simple steps, you can have a colorful, flavorful cheese board that is worthy of a celebration...or just a regular evening. When I put this on the table, my husband asked, "What are we celebrating?" Nothing. It was just a really tough week. Cheese helps.


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*Disclosure: I received compensation for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

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