Everything you need to know about cheese boards
A treat for the eyes and the palate Here's how to assemble the perfect cheese board In Switzerland alone, there are more than 450 different types of cheese! Despite being spoilt for choice, selecting the perfect cheese for a delicious cheese board can be quick and simple provided you follow a few key rules.
A carefully considered selection and just the right amount
For a tasty and exciting cheese board, we recommend selecting between five and nine different types of cheese with various flavours. The cheese should be as varied as possible in terms of texture – from soft to hard – and type of milk, e.g. cow, sheep, goat, buffalo. It can also be fascinating to sort the cheese by country and put together different varieties from Switzerland, Italy or France, for example. In terms of quantity, you should allow around 170-200 grams of cheese per person if the cheese board represents an entire meal. If, however, the cheese board is being served at the end of a meal, you should allow approx. 80-100 grams of cheese per person.
A logical arrangement for the palate
On a cheese board, the various types of cheese are not grouped according to texture (soft, hard), but rather according to their different aromas (i.e. from mild to spicy). This is where the `cheese clock` comes in. The different types of cheese are assembled clockwise from mild to spicy. The mildest cheese is placed at 6 o'clock – the point closest to the guest – the pattern then continues in a clockwise direction in order of strength. This enables your guest to find their way easily around the cheese board.
Each cheese is cut differently
Hard and semi-hard cheeses should be cut into bite-sized pieces, while soft cheese should be cut into small cake-like slices. Fresh cheese, on the other hand, is best served in small bowls. Using the right cheese knife for each type of cheese prevents the flavour or fungal spores from being transferred from one cheese to another. Hard cheese requires a sharp cheese knife, while soft cheese requires the appropriate soft cheese knife. Blue cheese is best cut using a `cheese harp`.
The right accompaniments
Good cheese board accompaniments include bread, grapes, walnuts, dried figs or apricots, apple or pear segments, jellies and honey. Accompaniments can also be selected by theme, e.g. olives and fresh figs for a Mediterranean theme or grapes and nuts for an autumnal theme. Other carefully selected, special additions such as truffle honey or fig mustard can be used to add a special touch and create new flavour sensations.
The right wine
To achieve the perfect combination of cheese and wine, it's worth remembering that white wine generally works better with cheese than red wine. As a general rule, cheese and wine from the same region work best together. Their aroma should also be similarly strong, which means the more mature the cheese, the more robust and full-bodied the wine. In terms of flavour, it makes sense to play with contrasts. Sour, salty and intense cheeses prefer softer accompaniments such as elegant, sweet wines, while creamy soft cheeses go better with acidic wines.
Summary: Cheese boards are always well received
Cheese boards are easy to create when you know how and – despite some of the above rules – there are many different ways to prepare your cheese board just as you like it. One thing is for sure, you can't go wrong with a well-assembled and lovingly presented cheese board!