Skip to main content

Cheese Board Building “101”

Heinen's Cheese Board

We frequently hear people saying they don’t know how to build a cheese board, or where to even begin. Truthfully, we feel there’s no way you can go wrong!

But, for those of you who like guidelines, here are a few considerations when planning your cheese board.

Choose Your Theme

Sometimes a theme can help you get started. Here are some suggestions and examples of our favorite cheese themes.

  • Category or by age – An example of this is starting you board with fresh or mild cheeses and building out to aged and robust cheeses.
  • Variety of milk – For example, you could have a cheeseboard of a variety of goat cheeses. A few of our favorites include, but are not limited to Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, Mackenzie Creamery, Truf3 Latti, Camembert 3 Latti or Alta Langa Blu di Langa made from all 3 milks.
  • Shape and color
  • Texture – Choose a smooth and creamy, soft-ripened cheese like Green Hill Camembert from Sweet Grass Dairy, a smooth aged cheese like Tomme de Savoie and a hard-aged cheese like Manchego 12 Month Raw Milk for a variety of textures.
  • Country of origin – This could be all cheeses domestic or from Europe and New Zealand.
Round cheese board with berries and nuts

Assorted cheeses on round wooden board plate Camembert cheese, blue cheese, goat cheese in the grated bark of oak, hard cheese slices, walnuts, grapes, crackers, bread, thyme, dark black wood background

Choose Your Accompaniments

Consider charcuterie, jam, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, and chocolates that might aid in complimenting or contrasting the flavors, textures and visual beauty of your cheese choices.

The following is a simple list of some suggestions that can help take your cheese board to another level:

  • Meats: Salami, Prosciutto, Speck, Chorizo, Pâté or Mousse Pâté
  • Jams, Honey and Mustards: Sour Cherry Jam, Fig Jam, Blueberry or alternative fruit jam, Lavender or Truffle Honey, Apple or Pumpkin Butter, Chutney, Pesto, Olive or Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade, flavored mustards are all fun additions.
  • Fruit and Vegetables :
    • Fresh Fruit- Figs, cherries, grapes, apples and pears are great additions to any cheese board.
    • Dried Fruit- Such as figs, apricots, cherries, plums, peaches, dates, raisins, cranberries and sun-dried tomatoes are a great way to add color, texture and bold flavors to your board.
    • Fresh or Pickled Vegetables- Olives are always a welcome addition to a cheeseboard, but roasted asparagus, roasted squash and cornichons are fun accompaniments as well.
  • Nuts: Marcona almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts pair well with a variety of cheeses and add dimension to your board.
  • Chocolate or Cake: Chocolate dipped citrus, chocolate chunks, chocolate embedded with fruit and nuts, chocolate brittle or bark, fig and nut cake, pressed and dried fruit cakes are also welcome additions to a cheeseboard. Especially when creating a dessert cheeseboard.
  • Breads & Crackers: A rustic bread or cracker that is embedded with dried fruit and nuts will change the flavor profile of a cheese, but will also serve to suggest an enhanced pairing. You can also choose a plain baguette, Grissini or water cracker that will allow your cheeses to stand out without imparting additional flavors.

Determine Your Guest List

  • For tastings or small plates, plan to serve 1 oz. per person of 5-7 cheeses. Add three accompaniments-For tastings or small plates, plan to serve 1 oz. per person of 5-7 cheeses. Add three accompaniments
  • For an appetizer, plan to serve 1-2 oz. per person of 3-5 cheeses.  Include one-two accompaniments.
  • For a dessert service cheese course served after the meal, plan to serve 1-1.5 oz. per person of 3-4 cheeses. We recommend two-three accompaniments, including a fresh fruit option.
Cheese board with sauce

three kinds of cheese and honey on a dark background, food

Serve at Room Temperature

Cheese on a cheese board is at its best when consumed at room temperature in order to enjoy the full flavor and texture profile of each selection. Don’t be afraid to let the cheese board presentation sit out at room temperature lightly covered for 1-1.5 hours before serving.

Most importantly, remember that there is no right or wrong when it comes to building a great cheese board. It is what you make it, so have fun, enjoy the process and make it your own!

Happy Holiday Entertaining to All!

Anne Somoroff, Heinens' Specialty Cheese Buyer & Merchandiser
By Anne Somoroff
Anne Somoroff is the Specialty Cheese Buyer and Merchandiser at Heinen’s and has been with the team for 13 years. Anne has an extensive background in the cultural arts, visual arts and merchandising, including a degree in Archaeology/Anthropology, with a Fine Arts emphasis. With interests deeply rooted in global and edible culture as they pertain to specialty cheese, wine and the culinary arts, Anne is a passionate, life-long student and a seeker of the connections between people, culture, food and drink. Anne enjoys people, travel, food, and the arts, and incorporates these interests into her everyday life.

This site is not optimized for your current browser (Internet Explorer 11).

Please switch to one of the following browsers for a complete viewing experience:

Chrome Logo Chrome Firefox Logo Firefox Edge Logo Edge