Saturday, December 19, 2020

Cheese Boards: A Feast for the Eyes and the Tastebuds #SundayFunday #CulinaryCam


Happy Sunday. Do you know what that means? It means that the #SundayFunday bloggers are sharing recipes today. It's low stress, just a great group of gals that I am happy to blog alongside. Thanks to Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm for coordinating.  


Today I am hosting and I gave the bloggers the prompt of making holiday cheese boards. 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. So, for today's #SundayFunday event, I invited the bloggers to join me in sharing recipes or tips for making holiday cheese boards. 


I love the surprise details that might be phyllo-wrapped baked cheeses, pickle relishes, homemade crackers, spiced nuts, and more. I told the group that anything you would put on a cheese board is fair game! And here's the line-up...


How to Create a Cheese Board

As for me, I decided to share a some simple steps to create a beautiful, delicious array. Jake and I also created a video of making a cheese board for our CulinaryCam YouTube channel; I will link to that when it's live. 

Funny story about this: Jake and I were filming this in the morning, before the boys woke up. So, I had it on the counter when they came out and told them to grab a plate because this was breakfast. "Mom," complained D, "you know that no one really eats this for breakfast, right?!" Fine. There's some leftover pumpkin pie if you prefer that. LOL.


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—such as all French, all Italian, or all Spanish. A good rule of thumb is to select four or five cheeses and plan on 1 ounce of each cheese per person. I've given you some ideas of the cheeses in each texture category...
  • Semisoft: Havarti, young Gouda, Fontina
  • Semihard: Gruyère, Manchego, aged Gouda (photographed above), Comté
  • Hard: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, aged Manchego, Pecorino Romano, Mimolette 
  • Soft-ripened: Brie, Cambazola, Camembert
  • Blue: Stilton, Gorgonzola
  • Fresh: Ricotta, Chèvre, Fromage Blanc, farm cheeses
  • Washed-Rind: Limburger, St. Nuage, Taleggio, Epoisses de Bourgogne

Once you've chosen your cheeses, place them on a board equidistant apart. These are your anchors. 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.


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. I sliced up some of my Homemade Sourdough.


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). 


For this board, I selected dried mangoes, pistachios, tiny pears, spiced or candied nuts (such as these), homemade pickles (such as my Dukkah-Spiced Quick Pickles), and hardboiled quail eggs; and I even added some small chocolates to round out the board.


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. 
One thing you can do to make life easier for your guests is to slice the harder cheeses up ahead of time so that people can just grab the pieces as they serve themselves.


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 day. 


Well, that's a wrap for the holiday cheese board event with the Sunday Funday bloggers. We'll be back next week with New Year's dishes with Sneha hosting. Stay tuned...

5 comments:

  1. I want this for breakfast!! That is a stunning tray!

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  2. This would actually be my ideal breakfast, because CHEESE!!!

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  3. I could happily eat a cheese board for breakfast and have with great enjoyment. Thanks for hosting Cam.

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  4. Wow! want a feast this is Cam, thank you for hosting such a great theme!

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  5. I've attended some virtual Yelp events lately highlighting small companies that put out boards. I've learned a lot but they did not have anything as spectacular as this. You should go into business!

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