A Holiday Cheese Board is the ultimate way to ensure you have a successful gathering this holiday season. There’s a reason why cheese boards are a staple for every party you host. It’s because your guests can’t resist the irresistible flavors of cheese coupled with an array of meats, jellies, and fruit. Holiday Cheese Boards are extremely customizable and easy to put together. Keep reading to find out how I put my Holiday Cheese Board together!
Where can you usually find me at parties? You guessed it, standing next to the cheese board. Cheese boards are utterly irresistible to me. I love the fun flavors different cheeses, meats, and jellies provide. I threw a Friendsgiving Potluck Party over the weekend. My main contribution was a Holiday Cheese Board that practically took over the entire table! I’ve eaten off many a cheese board in my life, so I was ecstatic to finally put one together in my new house.
This post will explain my tips for making your cheese board a smashing and mouthwatering success.
THE CHEESE BOARD
I’m lucky, I used the leftover slab of butcher block countertop for my cheese board surface. It was ginormous (25×18 inches) which left me with a ton of space for my cheesy and tasty offerings. You can go out and buy an actual cheese board or use a slab of slate, a slab of marble, a cutting board, a cookie sheet, or even a large serving tray. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on an expensive cheese board when you probably have something at home you can use.
Your cheese board size will determine how much yumminess you’re able to provide your guests.
Ah yes, my favorite part, the cheese. I splurged and offered 7 different types of cheeses for my Friendsgiving guests. Like I previously mentioned, the cheese board was my main contribution to the party so I wanted to go all out. By no means, you have to offer that many kinds of cheese to your guests. However, a good rule of thumb is offering an aged cheese, a firm cheese, a soft cheese, and a stinky cheese. Offering at least 3-4 different kinds of cheese provides your guests, who all have different preferences, with multiple options to choose from.
My Holiday Cheese Board consisted of the following cheese:
An aged cheddar
A firm smokey white cheddar
A soft cream cheese, goat, brie, and burrata cheese.
A stinky blue cheese
I think the best cheese boards offer a variety of different textures. If my budget only allowed 2 different kinds of cheese I would have probably gone with a firm and soft cheese to mix up the textures, even if only a little bit.
I purchased the cheese from my local New Seasons grocery store. I walked up to the empty cheese counter, threw up my hands and yelled, who here wants to talk to me about delicious cheese for my cheese board? No joke, 5 employees descended on me like a pack of wolves. Each eager to tell me their particular favorite flavor. It was awesome.
I asked the staff for recommendations for aged, firm, soft, and stinky cheese and they provided me with multiple options. After they laid their favorite picks in front of me, I analyzed my budget then narrowed down my choices of cheese from there. I honestly didn’t ask to taste any of the cheese because I trusted the staff opinions. However, most cheese counters will allow you to sample the product before you purchase.
The next time I throw a cheese board together I’m making a trip to Trader Joe’s. I remember they have amazing, unique, yet affordable cheese options to choose from. More on Trader Joe’s in a minute.
One tip I have about cheese boards is to separate the cheese from each other on the board. Otherwise, your stinky cheese can get its stink all over the other cheeses! Also, use a separate knife for each cheese you purchase. You don’t want a knife smeared with stinky cheese to cut into your milder cheese. It will mess with the flavor profiles. No good.
I prefer to cut the cheese prior to my guest’s arrival for their convenience. I’ve been to parties where the guests actually talked about not wanting to be the first person to cut the cheese. Some people are just shy like that (not me). I always opt to cut up the cheese I’m serving so all my guests have to do is enjoy it.
THE SALTY COMPONENT
My next favorite aspect of putting a cheese board together is picking out the cured meats and olives. Every cheese board needs the accompaniment of something salty in my opinion. There’s nothing like the taste of cheese and salami sitting on top of a cracker. Pure bliss!
I was able to get a wide range of salty yummies for my cheese board:
Green olives stuffed with jalapeno (my guests devoured these in under 30 minutes)
Italian Dry Salami
Black Pepper coated Italian Dry Salami
I found an antipasto combo featuring all the dried meats at my local supermarket. They were a huge hit amongst my guests!
THE SWEET COMPONENT
Just like the salt component, ordinary cheese boards turns epic with the addition of something sweet. I love adding seasonal fresh fruit and dried fruit is amazing too. Since I served candied ginger, I decided against dried cranberries and dried apricots but you can add as much or as little dried fruit as you want! I also served chocolate chips next to my cheese board because it’s crazy fucking amazeballs.
I provided the following sweet flavored foods:
Candied ginger – I made this from scratch. Candied ginger combines sweetness with spice. The combo is to die for.
Fresh pitted dates
Note, I added a few more apple and pears to the cheese board right before guests arrived, which made my board look fuller with ingredients. I shot the cheese board a few hours before my guests arrived since my party started at dusk and I wouldn’t have proper light to shoot. No one likes brownish looking apples and pears so I didn’t want to cut into the fruit too early.
THE CRACKERS, JELLIES, AND SPREADS
I thought it would be fun to serve my guests an array of crackers, bread, and delicious spreads. Remember how I brought up Trader Joe’s before? Dude, Trader Joe’s is the best place to get unique jams, jellies, mustards, and honey for cheese boards. They have all kinds of funny and funky flavors to choose from. I straight up forgot to buy mustard for this cheese board but have no fear it will show up on my next one.
Here’s what I provided my guests in terms of crackers and spreads:
Melba sesame crackers
A loaf of french bread sliced and grilled with melted butter
Sangria Jelly – made from scratch
Honey (not pictured – I added it later)
I’m telling you right now. If you have time to make Sangria Jelly this holiday season DO IT. The jelly was easy to make and my guests were blown away by the robust flavor.
ADDING GARNISH AND SEASONAL TOUCHES/FLAVORS
You don’t have to spend a fortune making your cheese board look pretty or seasonal. My butcher block slab is 25×18 inches. Although the gigantic block looks pretty on its own I wanted it to look more festive for the holidays. The greenery you see lining my cheese board came from the red cedar bushes from my backyard! Red cedar leaves have a festive Christmas-y look to them. They were the perfect choice to make my board fit the season. Rosemary or sage would make for excellent garnishes this time of year too!
Adding seasonal touches and flavors to your cheese board is a fun way to celebrate each season. For example, my cheese boards during the summer always contain fresh berries and tomatoes. Cheese boards this time of year are amazing with apple, pears, dried cranberries, and candied ginger.
Ginger and December are like, the best of friends. I thought adding candied ginger would be a unique but festive way to celebrate the holiday season. I was right because my friends adored them!
I love assembling cheese boards because you can be as creative as you want to be. You can create an amazing cheese board your guests will love, even if you’re on a tight budget. Don’t be intimidated by professional blogger cheese boards that look like they belong in a fashion magazine instead of a kitchen. Your guests don’t need anything crazy fancy. Shit, some folks are low maintenance and would be fine if you threw a couple slices of cheddar cheese on a paper plate. You do you!
Quick side note – I’m thrilled to report our Friendsgiving Potluck Party was an amazing time. Kieran and I are loving our new circle of friends in our new-ish city. I feel so privileged to be friends with such interesting, cool, and thoughtful people. Everyone kept telling me how much fun they had which meant the world to me because I do my best to cultivate party experiences filled with laughter and positivity. A few of my friends told me they hoped I threw another party soon which literally made my heart sing, since throwing parties is another passion of mine.
I knew my Friendsgiving Holiday Cheese Board was a total success because it was surrounded by party goers the entire night. It felt like I blinked and the cheese board was devoured in 2 seconds. The only ingredient that remained was a little nub of blue cheese. Don’t worry, I popped that tasty son of a bitch in my mouth, it didn’t go to waste.
Alright Shock Munch family and friends, that’s a wrap on today’s post. Thanksgiving is only a few days away (what????) so get that last minute shopping done and surprise your guests with The Perfect Holiday Cheese Board that’s sure to impress and please the crap out of them! Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks for stopping by,
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