Tips for a beautiful cheese board

I have to admit that I love cheese!  I recently went to a wine bar and saw they had a flight of three wines and cheese for $25. Well the pieces of cheese were so small (just one bite size piece) and the wine wasn't full glasses! I thought I could do this at home more cost effectively.  Are you planning on throwing a wine and cheese party this holiday season? Here's how I put together a nice assortment.

For the picture above each block of cheese is only half a block with each block cost around $7. A cheese board should have a variety of textures and flavors. I have three of my favorite cheese here: Italian Truffle (an expensive indulgence), Spanish Manchego, and Dutch Robusto - which has a wonderful nutty flavor.  But you can't just eat cheese alone! So I added some sweet and salty accompaniments, from sliced bread, to nuts and fresh fruit like grapes and pears. Fig jam is also a good idea or chocolate. Then of course wine is the final thing needed to polish the palate. After my trip to Spain I've been on a Spanish kick with my wine selection, but I've always been a fan of Tempranillo wine.

Now if you're throwing a party it might be nice to label the cheese so guests know what is what. And pre-slice the cheese so guests can go ahead and dig in! Make sure the cheese are room temperature before serving because cold cheese has muted flavor. Random sidenote: One of my biggest pet peeves is people who keep cupcakes in the fridge and serve it immediately, cold cake has no flavor, I don't want to eat that! And frosted cake doesn't need to be refrigerated anyway, they're sitting on the counter at the cupcake shop and grocery store.

For a party make sure you have the proper cheese tools. Crate and Barrel is my favorite store for household goods, it's where I've gotten all of my kitchen dinnerware and stemware. It's also where I got this cheese board from. Be sure to get yourself a cheese knife. Here are some suggestions for where to get yourself a cheese board from Amara or Sur La Table.

Final tip - don’t be afraid to try something new! Trader Joe's has all kinds of exotic cheeses like a chocolate cheddar, cranberry goat cheese log, beer cheddar which is actually a black cheese. All of which I've tried and loved!

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