Is there anything better than a cheese board during the holidays? Piled high with different cheeses to try, various cured meats, and all the best accoutrements, it’s the centerpiece of any party. If you’re looking to make the most festive and welcoming cheese board ever this year, we have your back. We asked the family behind Lady & Larder, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in quality meats and cheese boards, for their very best pro-tips on how to craft a cheese board for the holidays. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Include at least one familiar cheese
Sarah Simms Hendrix of Lady & Larder says you should always include a cheese that everyone knows (like cheddar!) so people feel comfortable diving into the board at the beginning of the night. “After a glass of wine or two you will find that your guests tend to get a bit more adventurous,” she explains.
2. Create a cheese board with lots of texture
When it comes to crafting a perfect cheese board, you need to think about texture. Sarah says this includes the cheeses themselves and also the accoutrements like “nuts, fruit, and olives to provide a mixture of salty and sweet flavors.” The cheeses should all come from different categories (fresh, soft, semi-soft, hard, and blue). She says you should also consider selecting cheeses based on their type of milk (cow, goat, and sheep.)
3. Create a sense of place
“Use local, seasonal accoutrements to create a sense of place and ensure deliciousness,” Sarah explains. And for the holiday season, Lady & Larder makes a special board to highlight this tip “We make our own sugar and spiced walnuts during the holiday season and fill the boards with lots of fresh Fuyu persimmons, crimson gold apples, pomegranate, figs, and winter citrus.”
4. Work with odd numbers
According to Sarah, odd numbers look best on a cheese board. “For example: three cheeses and two charcuterie is five options total which is most pleasing visually,” she says. Depending on the size of your party, you can scale up or down.
5. Make your cheese approachable to guests
Make your cheese board more inviting during the holiday season by prepping the cheeses on the plate. “Cut or crumble hard cheeses,” Sarah says. And for softer cheeses she prefers “to leave them whole or halved for scooping and spreading. We love seeing the insides of softer cheeses so we will often cut smaller wheels (like Mt Tam!) in half (the way you would slice a bagel) so that guests can see the beautiful triple cream interior.”
6. Serve at room temperature
Sarah’s last tip is to always serve your cheese and cured meats at room temperature so that “they can really shine!”