Let’s talk about cheese boards! Cheese boards are one of my absolute favorite things to put together, both when having people over or if bringing something to a friend's. Growing up, my mom would always assign me to make the cheese board for Thanksgiving, a birthday party, dinner party, you name it. I would go out in the yard and pick huge fig leaves to place under the cheese, which added beautiful depth and texture to everything else going on.
When planning for a cheese board, the only cheese-board specific item I'll go out of my way to buy is the cheese itself, but the rest of the board is up to chance of what's in my pantry + fridge. The board pictured has sliced carrots, sliced seeded wheat bread, medjool dates, marcona almonds, manchego cheese (super mild + a crowd pleaser), Carr's crackers (my fiance's fave!), and a homemade hummus + shatta mix for the dipping centerpiece. Below are 5 simple tips + tricks for how I plan out my boards:
1) Nuts are your BFF. Everyone loves nuts! Marcona almonds are my favorite and I always keep them in the pantry (shoutout to Costco's dry version), but walnuts, pistachios (even in the shell) work great too - just be sure that if you serve something in a shell that you have a discard bowl next to the board.
2) Add some sweetness. Most of what's on the board will be salty + savory, so balance it out with something sweet that you have on hand, that goes well with cheese - luckily, most foods do! I love using dates (just be sure to remove the pits first), figs, jams of any kind, or sliced fruit.
3) Keep diets/preferences in mind. Modify your selections depending on who you're having over or where you're going. I don't eat gluten, but my fiance goes crazy for Carr's crackers, so I almost always add those. If I know someone who's coming is vegan, I'll always have veggie and nut options. A cheese board is very rarely only cheese!
4) Make your centerpiece dippable. Not only is it visually appealing, but it's just a little bit more fun! Take some pre-made hummus out of the fridge, put it in a cute bowl and there you go! Just make sure you have items to dip into it available, hence the sliced carrots, crackers + bread.
5) Make it pretty + think outside the box! Use your standard marble cheese board as your base, a big ceramic platter, a cutting board (our go-to), you name it! There are so many neat surface options to choose from around the house. If you don't have a dish that you love, you can put layers of fig leaves or herbs underneath the cheeses to use as accents or layer flowers on top. Bring your personality in to it - people will appreciate the effort!
And lastly... when in doubt, overfill. Overfull is always better than sparse, and cheese boards get eaten up so quickly, the more food the merrier. Hope y'all enjoy!