Not too many things say “cozy gathering” more than a well-designed, delicious cheese plate, in my eyes, and with the holidays right around the corner, Emmi Roth has already done the dirty work for consumers looking to carve out some fun with their charcuterie boards. The company developed some go-to notes on how to curate a cheese board with accoutrements that would make most cheesemongers proud—in fact, it teamed up with some from around the country for these creative inspirations to make sure of it!
Selecting and Cutting Cheese
The first point to highlight is the multiplicity that cheese boards offer—this is an opportunity for customers to entertain with items where they can almost never go wrong. Consumers get to try different types of cheeses—ones they love, ones they haven’t heard of before, and ones they will be coming back to retailers for more. The thing to do, however, is to give options so that there is something for everyone. With a mixture of bold, spicy, and mild flavors, the company suggests three to five flavors should do just the trick.
An example of this set-up is Emmi Roth’s alpine-style cheeses, like Roth® Grand Cru®, and bold flavored cheeses, like Roth® Sriracha Gouda, are both great ideas to start with as a base. For an extra bit of spice, add cheeses from other countries; the company says it is a near fail-proof conversation-starter because of the stories associated with their origins and the flavors the unique cheeses offer.
Looking for a serving platter special enough for the the occasion at hand? Sometimes the answer lies right in our hands; In the company’s press release, it relays a message from Lilith Spencer of Cheesemongers of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who notes that cheese rinds can double as a “dish” for cheese chunks and crumbles that would have been harder to uniformly slice, otherwise.
Picking Perfect Pairings
Emmi Roth wants to remind those gathering the goods for their bountiful boards that every star of the show needs supporting actors. Cheese boards need more than just the creamy goodness slices offer; they need perfectly selected pairings to meet every pallet’s need.
“Cheese boards should always feature an assortment of sweet and savory pairing options,” said Jessica Lawrenz, cheesemonger at Venissimo Cheese - Mission Hills in San Diego, California, in the same press release. “Seasonal fruits, jams, local honeys, salty cured meats, pickled items, and nuts are quintessential for cheese boards, as they add flavor and texture.”
Fruits don’t only have to be in season, though; another tip is to look for dried, flavor-packed fruits to add another layer of texture to the array of tastes.
“When desired fresh fruits aren’t in season, opt for dried ones,” said Ellian Rohrbacher, Assistant Manager at New Seasons in Portland, Oregon. “Dried figs, apricots, and cherries are wonderful additions to cheese boards because they not only offer a sweet bite, but also a pop of color.”
Arranging A Cheese board
Prep-work takes the difficulty out of styling cheese boards, because with matches already made, assembling the dish is as easy as cutting the cheeses, preparing the accoutrements, and placing them in an attractive position, ready to be eaten.
“Cheese is the most important component of any cheese board so start by arranging the cheese first,” said Spencer. “Make sure to place a lot of space between the cheeses so there is no confusion as to what’s what.”
There are certain tips and tricks to zero in on when placing everything on the platter.
“One of my favorite tricks is to place a small glass upside down on my cheese board and lay pieces of sliced cheese down around it one by one, then remove the glass,” said MacKenzie Aivazis, cheesemonger at Urban Radish in Los Angeles. “Creating perfectly placed shapes throughout the board provides eye-catching focal points.”
There are endless ways to stylize and specialize boards, but one way to grab visitors’ attention, in particular, is to merchandise the assortment so that people will know what to pair every item with.
“When arranging cheese boards, try to create movement,” suggests Liz Dueland, a cheesemonger from Madison, Wisconsin. “You want to subtly convey tasting recommendations to guests by strategically placing cheeses and accompaniments next to one another, suggesting ‘this be paired with that’ and encouraging exploration into other areas of the board.”
While cheese boards are a great way to make entertaining fun, they are also super easy, the company suggests. They can even be prepared ahead of time, placed in the refrigerator, and then taken out about 30 minutes ahead of guest arrival time for one less food item to worry about. This is a great selling point when consumers are looking to prepare many dishes for family gatherings this winter.
I don’t know what is more tempting, the ease with which cheese boards can be assembled or the variety of flavors that can fill the platter!