In addition to the wine and cheese you’ll need some accompaniments. I like to build a cheese board to serve everything. I add sweet and savoury extras to the cheese board and nestle extra bread slices and crackers near the cheeses they go with.
Charcuterie is a bunch of cooking devoted to pork. It complements cheese well.
I like sticking with only one variety per board and arranging it in two different parts of the board to give the impression that there are two options.
Some options are:
- Beef bresaola or rostbeef
- Dry-cured salumi (Italian cold cuts predominantly made from pork)
- Capicola , also known as Coppa or Capocollo
- Jamon Iberico/Spanish Serrano
- Prosciutto (An Italian dry-cured ham that is thinly sliced and served uncooked)
- Prosciutto di Parma
- Prosciutto di San Daniele
- Culaccia / Culatta
- Genoa salami
- Salame di Felino
- Spanish chorizo
- Grilled sausages (Mexican chorizo, Italian, Botifarra)
- Turkey or Chicken breast
- Shrimp cocktail
- Crab legs
- Smoked/Cured salmon
Cheese and Olives and other Antipasti items pair well together.
At this point, your board looks about half way full.
Just dump these in small, pretty looking bowls and arrange them on the cheese board. They don’t need to be the best quality but these salty nibbles keep people snacking and add to the variety.
Some options are:
- Aged Balsamic, for cheese
- Artichoke hearts (preserved)
- Caponata (Italian dish made from chopped eggplant and vegetables (tomato, onion, capers) cooked in olive oil and served on crackers or Italian bread as appetizer)
- Cocktail onions
- Dijon Mustard, for meat and some cheeses do really well with mustard
- Whole grain Dijon Mustard
- Fig jam, for meat and cheese
- Olives (Castelvetrano or Kalamata) – An assortment of olives provides a little salty goodness to accompany your cheese
- Pickles, Cornichons and pickled peppers – Pickles can go very well with some cheese. You can use French cornichons, or just any about kind of pickle you choose
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Roasted garlic cloves
- Roasted peppers
- Stuffed peppers
- Peppadews – Stuff with the blue cheese
- Sun-dried Tomatoes or Slow-Roasted Tomato – These savoury morsels pair exceptionally well with mild cheeses – make homemade ones
- Smoked Tofu
- If you have a bit more time, prepare caramelized onions, which complement most cheese plates
Add some sweetness such as jams, honey, maple syrup, fresh fruits and Vegetables.
In my opinion, fruits are an absolute must for a cheese board. They are so refreshing. You are going to welcome the sweetness and the balance.
Use the fruit as accompaniment and decoration; they give a special touch to the presentation of the cheeses. Let people just pick them up with their hands to eat.
A must have to add more colour to the board:
- Strawberries – Cut them in half or keep them whole
- Two different varieties of grapes – trimmed in small groups of three or four and pile them to create easy-to-grab portions.
Some other options of fresh fruits are:
- Apples, sliced very thin – add lemon or lime juice to avoid them from turning brown
- Avocado, cubed – add lemon or lime juice to avoid them from turning brown
- Blueberries (large), whole
- Clementine oranges, peeled sections
- Figs, sliced fresh or baked
- Grape or cherry tomatoes
- Melon and/or cantaloupe, sliced
- Nectarines, dried
- Peaches, sliced
- Pears, sliced – add lemon or lime juice to avoid them from turning brown
- Pineapple, bite-size pieces
- You always must consider the season when selecting fruits to accompany your cheese. To keep things affordable, pick fruits that are already in season so that you get them cheap. Stay away from imported, exotic fruits which can become expensive and may not even have as much flavour.
- Make sure you wash and pat your fruits dry so that they don’t leave stains or become soggy
- Avoid citrus fruits that may alter the taste and aroma of wines
The simply sweet flavour offsets the richness of cheese.
You can serve a little pot of honey on your cheese platter, drizzle honey over your cheese or serve your cheese with a big slice of honeycomb (local if possible).
Sweet, viscous honey is a staple on cheese plates, but if you’re looking to mix it up a bit, you may want to entertain honey’s vegan cousin: maple syrup.
Like honey, maple syrup is sourced from nature—in this case, trees instead of bees—but it offers a more complex depth of flavour for cheese pairings.
Jams, Preserves or Chutney
They complement cheese well. Some cheeses pair very well with a thin layer of jam or jelly. Make sure to keep this pairing a sufficient distance from other cheese so the board does not become too messy.
Spanish Membrillo/Quince Paste (a thick fruit paste made from quince) or guava paste are also a good choice, particularly when you are serving with Spanish cheese.
Other fruit preserves, marmalades and chutneys (Tangy stewed fruit, in flavours like fig, apple-cranberry, pepper jelly, and sour cherry) can really enhance cheese.
When in doubt try strawberry and/or apricot jam.
Dark Chocolate chunks
Interestingly, some cheeses, like an Aged Gouda, actually go well with dark chocolate and make for a fun pairing.
- Bell peppers, sliced
- Broccoli florets, blanched
- Carrots, cut into sticks or chips
- Celery, cut into sticks
- Coloured (purple or golden) cauliflower, cut into florets
- Cucumber, sliced thin
- Radishes, halved
- Roasted vegetables – I like to serve with cheese this Sun-dried Tomatoes or Slow-Roasted Tomato or roast some red & yellow peppers
Dried fruits and toasted nuts work with both sweet and savoury pairings for many cheeses. They add crunchy and can really help fill up the spaces, and after their fill of cheese, crackers and cold cuts, your guests will love snacking on the nuts.
Some options are:
- Brazilian nuts
- Coconut (fresh chunks of coconut meat, crunchy flakes…)
- Glazed/Candied nuts – Sugared candied walnuts or pecans go fabulously with some cheese and are easy to make homemade
- Honey roasted or smoked nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- or maybe some flavoured mix of nuts
Place baskets with assorted breads, including sliced baguette, bread sticks, and crackers in all different shapes and sizes.
It’s a good idea to vary taste and texture among the breads as well as the cheeses. But you don’t need to spend lots of money on fancy herb crackers, still to mildly flavoured and locally available crackers or breads. If they have an overpowering flavour of their own, they are going to compete with the cheese and other ingredients on the board. Flavoured breads such as those with sesame seeds or garlic and herbed crackers tend to overwhelm the flavours of the cheeses.
The exception is breads containing walnuts, dried fruit or olives. These are all great with cheese.
You can make some of my bread recipes (not the flavoured ones of course).
Choose plain bread or neutral crackers such as:
- Crusty bread
- Classic French bread
- Honey French bread – To be published on February 7, 2020 (Contact me if you need it before)
- Classic Italian bread – To be published on May 15, 2020 (Contact me if you need it before)
- Express (58-minute) White bread
- Old Fashioned white bread
- Country white bread
- Olives & Garlic Express (58-minute) White bread
- Walnut bread
- Honeyed walnut bread
- Raisin-walnut bread
- Springtime favourite bread
- Potato bread
- Milk and Cream bread
- Egg bread
- Honey and Oat bread
- Honey Oatmeal bread – To be published on February 28, 2020 (Contact me if you need it before)
- Oatmeal bread
- Old fashioned Oatmeal and molasses bread
- Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey bread
- 100% Whole wheat bread
- 50% Whole wheat bread
- 50% Whole Wheat Bread with Molasses
- Pumpernickel bread – To be published on May 29, 2020 (Contact me if you need it before)
- Hearty Rye bread
- Cheese & Rye Express (58-minute) bread – To be published on April 3, 2020 (Contact me if you need it before)
- Special molasses bread
- Wheat ‘N Yogurt bread
- Multigrain bread
- Baguettes – cut a baguette into rounds. Upgrade: Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and toast them.
- Artisanal crisps
- Crusty, sourdough or rustic bread, sliced, lightly toasted
- Toasts or bread toasted on a pan with a little olive oil – They are great to accompany the creamy cheeses.
- Crackers – Get a couple of boxes of assorted crackers
- Cream Crackers which are really mild flavoured crackers
- Water crackers
- Rice crackers
- Gluten free options:
Have at least 3 types of bread on your table. You can choose from two savoury breads, one dark/whole wheat and one lightly sweet with raisins and/or walnuts. The latter helps to ‘recover’ the taste and accentuates the flavour of the cheese.
Don’t scrimp on the bread. Use a good quality French or Italian bread, rustic style typically works well or a long baguette.
Savoury Dips & Spreads
Cheese spreads and dips are perfect for any party.
- Mustard (Dijon) dip
- Tuna dip
- Chicken dip
- Egg, Onion and Olives Dip
- Ham dip
- Onion dip
- 4 cheese dip
- Ricotta dip
- Herbs dip
- Vegan Paté (vegan option)
- Butters (apple butter, pumpkin butter…)
I love to scatter some fresh herbs (basil, mint, rosemary, thyme or fresh bay leaves) as they give the board a fresh and delicious smell, a bit more of seasonal vibe and flavourful topping! You could also use eucalyptus stems, olive branches, or evergreen/pine tree snips.
I would suggest going less “floral”, and more “leafy”. This has all to do with your aesthetic, but I generally don’t buy anything too fragrant for fear of it distracting from the food.
Dairy free, gluten free and vegan options
With specialized diets and allergies popping up everywhere, ask a few questions in advance. The last thing you want to do is knock yourself out on a beautiful bread basket only to find out half the people coming can’t have dairy, gluten or are vegetarians who does not eat any animal products.
There are a ton of great vegan cheese blocks and slices on the market right now, so I would definitely encourage you to explore your local Whole Foods or health food store.
Today there are a plethora of nut-based, cultured vegan cheeses that are legitimately delicious. Even though dairy-free cheese lacks milk-fat, it does contain fat which lends a richness to it all the same. But that is to say, vegan cheeses are a bit more delicate than dairy-based cheeses, and therefore are best when paired with light or medium-bodied wines.
And since vegan cheeses tend to be a bit more mild than dairy-based cheese, you don’t have to go overboard with the pairing of them with specific wine varieties. Think floral or citrusy, crisp wines if you’re serving fruit, dried fruit, or preserves alongside your cheese, as to not overpower your taste buds with too much sweet flavour.
Should you serving other appetizers at the party?
An ultimate cheese platter gives you everything – cheese, crackers, breads, nuts, fruits, sweets, vegetables, charcuterie (cold cuts of meat), seafood, salty nibbles and Condiments. So, at the end most people don’t have an appetite for other snacks if they’ve snacked on everything on the cheese board.
Dessert should not be served either and so the tables are set until the end of the party.
A different board for every occasion
When you plan to serve your cheese board is key to choosing what goes on it.
If your cheese course is an appetizer, for example, it’s a good idea to go lighter with fresh, young cheeses like burrata alongside berries in the summer or truffle honey in the colder months — you don’t want to overpower your guests’ palates (or appetites) with anything too heavy.
If you’re serving your cheese board at dessert, you can go a little bigger, with picks like a luxurious triple crème or stinky blue.
Note: I get really excited about cheese and wine, so it’s difficult for me to be brief when there is so much wonderful information to share!
- A Complete Guide to Plan an Unforgettable Wine & Cheese Party
- The cheese
- ***Soft Cheese – Fresh – Cow’s milk cheese
- ***Soft Cheese – Fresh – Goat’s milk cheese
- ***Stretched Curd and Brined
- ***Soft and Brined
- ***Soft-ripened and Bloomy-rind – Cow’s milk cheese
- ***Soft Ripened and Bloomy-rind – Cow’s milk cheese – Double/Triple-crème cheeses
- ***Soft-ripened and Bloomy-rind – Goat’s milk cheese
- ***Semi-soft and Brined
- ***Semi-soft – Mild Cow’s milk cheese
- ***Semi-soft – Mild Sheep’s milk
- ***Semi-soft – Swiss or Swiss style
- ***Washed Rind (soft or semi-soft/Semi-hard Cheese/Medium-aged Cheeses)
- ***Aged – Cow’s milk cheese
- ***Hard – sheep’s milk cheese
- ***Hard – Grana
- ***Blue cheeses
- What to serve with the cheese and wine?
- Cheese and Wine Pairing
- ***Classic Cheese and Wine Pairing Chart
- ***Classic Wine and Cheese Pairing – Sparkling Wine
- ***Classic Wine and Cheese Pairing – White Wine
- ***Classic Wine and Cheese Pairing – White Wine
- ***Classic Wine and Cheese Pairing – Rosé Wine
- ***Classic Wine and Cheese Pairing – Red Wine
- ***Classic Wine and Cheese Pairing – Dessert Wine
- Non-alcoholic alternatives
- How much to buy?
- How to set the table?
- Chronogram & Preparation
***In Development, please keep checking.
Reference: Content and images based on information from: https://www.wikipedia.org/ https://cheese.com https://www.cookipedia.co.uk
https://culturecheesemag.com https://www.gourmetsleuth.com https://winefolly.com/ https://www.tasteatlas.com https://www.wine.com/ https://winemonger.com https://www.terroir-france.com/
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