I love to entertain and when we do, food is always involved.
We’re currently in Texas on the first leg of our girl’s trip. My daughter and I are traveling the country and will be visiting three national parks, Antelope, the Gila National Forest, family and friends. We’re excited!
Now let’s get back to food.
We’re celebrated the 4th with my sister and her family. The direction I received for the appetizer I was to bring…“keep it light”. I thought of different options and decided on a tried and true winner… a fabulous cheese board. I love creating cheese boards for casual gatherings, parties and even formal occasions. They are simple, yet elegant.
To find what I needed for my appetizer, I ventured out to Whole Foods and walked straight to their cheese department. I was thrilled to meet my new friend Allison who generously offered great tips to create this winning cheese board. I think you’ll find her advice helpful as well.
To start, Allison recommend having a good base of cheeses: cheddar, gouda, brie, blue cheese (for a sharp bite). Next, add a “fun” cheese which can be anything that gets you excited. The base for the cheese can be a cracker or slice of bread. Add nuts, a jam or honey, and fruits such as grapes, peaches, pears.
I asked Allison about the brie. They had an option that cost $2.99 and I wondered if it was any good. She said to stay away from brie priced that low because you don’t get much flavor. I opted for one I hadn’t tried before called Le Campagnier. What’s unique about this brie is that the rind is rinsed; most bries have an active enzyme rind that can give a slightly acidic taste, according to Allison. This rind had an orange tint to it, the cheese was super creamy with a savory hint of butter. It’s so smooth you could probably use a spoon instead of a knife. I’m a huge fan!
I opted for a fig jam to pair with the cheeses. Allison said that fig is a “safe bet” when you have many different palettes, plus it’s just plain “pretty”. A fun option that she also suggested and I was able to try was a whipped honey. It was incredible! If we were having a larger gathering I might have bought that too. If you’ve never tasted whipped honey, you’re in for a treat. It’s white texture is thick and creamy. It’s very sweet so a little goes a long way.
For the fruit, I choose green and red grapes.
For the cracker, I opted for the “everything flatbread”. And when I asked Allison if this would work with all that I was selecting, she assured me that “everything” goes on that cracker well!
For the “board”, I used the only cutting board I could find while at my mom’s home. I have a beautiful board at home that I use only for parties and entertaining; it’s not my main cutting board. If you have a cutting board that you love but it seems to have lost its luster, you can wipe it down with olive oil to help restore its appearance and it’s safe for food. I was pleasantly surprised to see one of mine pop back to life after I oiled it down.
There are many great options of cutting boards you can use. Pick a style and shape that you love, and always use wood that is safe for food.
Here are the products I purchased:
Hatch Pepper by Hennings (fun)
Le Campagnier Brie by Fromager d’Affinois
Lightly salted almonds
Red and green grapes
Everything Flatbread by International Passport Specialties
How to arrange your cheese board:
Wash and dry grapes
Arrange cheeses and grapes on board
Place flatbread in a bowl or container to stand them upright; place on board.
Fill a bowl with nuts and place on board.
Place jar or bowl of jam on board. Include a small spoon for scooping.
Add a cheese knife to board for cutting. Include more if the board is large and cheeses are spread out.
Have small plates and napkins to the side of board.
And there you have it.
Simple, elegant and oh so tasty!
If you try any of these cheeses, let me know which one is your favorite. Personally, I love the Seaside cheddar; it’s sharp and has a good “bite” to it. The brie is the most savory and creamiest I’ve ever experienced. I’ll definitely purchase that again! The hatch is very mild in flavor. I loved the chunks of green chili within it. The gouda is a flavorful basic gouda cheese and it was approved by my niece’s boyfriend who tried it for the first time…thumbs up!
I’d like to thank Allison for her tasty and helpful suggestions. Allison, Whole Foods is lucky to have you on their team!
If you find yourself at the Highland Village, TX store, pop on in and ask for Allison. She might share a taste of whipped honey with you as well. You’ll love her energy and enthusiasm, and I’m confident you to will be creating winning cheese boards after meeting her. Tell her I sent you. wink winkHere's to easy summer entertaining!Click To Tweet
If you get inspired and create a winning cheese board, please share your best tips and flavors. We look forward to experimenting more.
Cheers to you!