What are the best items to serve with the wine and cheese?

What to serve with the wine and cheese?

A cheese board is a delightful addition to any meal or event, offering a selection of cheeses and accompaniments that cater to various tastes. However, creating a cheese board can seem daunting with the variety of cheese options, serving sizes, and pairings available. To make the perfect cheese board, it is essential to select a variety of cheeses, including soft, hard, and blue varieties, and complement them with a range of textures and flavours, such as nuts, fruits, and bread. The presentation and arrangement should also be considered, with the cheese board arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner. This guide will outline the essential components to include on a cheese board, providing you with the knowledge and confidence to create a delicious cheese board for any occasion.

Don’t let the cheese stand alone. Pair it with delicious accompaniments.

What should be included on a cheese board?

I like to build a cheese board to serve everything. 

Add some extras to your cheese board for your wine and cheese party, like sweet and savoury items. Place some extra bread and crackers next to the cheeses they pair with.

What salty food goes on a cheese board?

I prefer to use only one or two types of salty food on my platter but place them in different areas to make it look like there are more options. Charcuterie can mean meat, fish, poultry, or vegetarian food cooked or cured.

Charcuterie = What to serve with the wine and cheese Fast2eat

Charcuterie (cold cuts board)

Charcuterie, also known as cold cuts, is a bunch of cooking devoted to pork that can complement cheese on a cheese board. The salty, savoury flavours of cured meats help balance the richness of the cheese and provide a nice contrast in texture. It’s important to choose a variety of meats, including different types of salami, prosciutto, and sausage. Some popular choices include pepperoni, chorizo, and coppa. To make your charcuterie board more visually appealing, slice the meats thinly and fold them in various shapes. Remember to allow the meats to come to room temperature before serving to enhance their flavours. Following these tips, you can create a delicious and impressive charcuterie board to impress your guests.

Seacuterie (Seafood board)

Seacuterie, or seafood board, is a delicious way to complement a cheese board. It provides a variety of textures and flavours that can enhance any cheese experience. Some great items to include on a seacuterie board are smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, crab legs, oysters, and mussels. You can also offer various dipping sauces like lemon aioli or cocktail sauce. Seacuterie is an excellent option for those who might not be cheese lovers or those looking for a lighter and healthier alternative. Adding a seacuterie board to your cheese board setup can elevate your entertaining game and provide your guests a unique and tasty option.

What to serve with the wine and cheese Fast2eat

Crudites platter (vegetarian board)

Charcuterie can also be made from vegetarian ingredients. A crudite platter is a fantastic complement to a cheese board, especially for vegetarians. While cheese and crackers are a classic combination, fresh vegetables can offer a lighter, healthier option. To create a crudite platter, choose a variety of colourful veggies such as carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, Celery and bell peppers. Fig salami and roasted tofu are also goo options. Cut them into bite-sized pieces, arranging them artfully on a platter. Serve with a dip such as hummus or ranch dressing on the side. The fresh, crunchy texture of the vegetables pairs well with the cheese’s creaminess and adds colour to your cheese board. A crudite platter offers a refreshing change from the heavy cheese and crackers. It provides a healthy option that everyone can enjoy.

What Salty nibbles and condiments go on a cheese board?

A cheese board is incomplete without an array of salty nibbles and condiments. Olives, gherkins, and other pickled vegetables antipasti are a perfect accompaniment to cut through the richness of the cheese. Dried fruits like figs and apricots add a sweet and savoury note to the board. Put them on the cheese board in small attractive bowls. These snacks do not have to be of the best quality, but they are great for snacking and offer variety. Remember to vary the tastes, textures, and colours to make the cheese board visually appealing.

Salty nibbles - What to serve with the wine and cheese Fast2eat

Some options are:

  • Aged Balsamic for cheese
  • Artichoke hearts (preserved)
  • Capers
  • Caponata (Italian dish made from chopped eggplant and vegetables (tomato, onion, capers) cooked in olive oil and served on crackers or Italian bread as an appetizer)
  • Cocktail onions
  • Dijon Mustard for meat, some cheeses do well with mustard
  • Whole grain Dijon Mustard
  • Fig jam for meat and cheese
  • Gherkins – a smaller and crispier pickled cucumber
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables
    • Artichokes
    • Bell peppers
    • Mushrooms
  • Olives (Castelvetrano or Kalamata) – An assortment of olives provide 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 kind of pickle you choose
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Roasted garlic cloves
  • 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
  • Tapenade – a spread, condiment and culinary ingredient consisting of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, and anchovies.
  • If you have more time, prepare caramelized onions, which complement most cheese plates.

Your board should be half-full at this point.

What sweet things go on a cheese board?

honey - What to serve with the wine and cheese Fast2eat

Adding sweetness to a cheese board can be a great way to complement the flavours of the cheese. The sweetness can come from various sources, such as jams, honey, maple syrup, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Adding sweet elements to a cheese board can elevate the flavours and create a more complex and enjoyable tasting experience.

Honey

Honey has a rich, sweet flavour that can complement the rich, savoury flavour of many cheeses. You can have honey in a small container on the cheese platter, pour honey on top of the cheese, or have a large piece of honeycomb (if it’s available locally) with your cheese.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is another great option, especially when paired with a sharp or tangy cheese. Sweet and dense honey is usually served with cheese, but if you want to try something different, you can use maple syrup instead. Maple syrup is made from trees, not bees, but it also goes well with cheese and has a more complex flavour.

Jams, Preserves or Chutney

Jams and preserves can add a touch of sweetness and tartness to pair well with certain types of cheese. Some cheeses taste great with a bit of jam or jelly. Don’t put the jam too close to the other cheese, or it will be messy. Membrillo or guava paste is also good with Spanish cheese. You can also use other fruit preserves like fig, apple-cranberry, pepper jelly, and sour cherry. If you’re unsure what to use, try strawberry or apricot jam.

Dark Chocolate chunks

Some cheeses, such as Aged Gouda, taste good when eaten with dark chocolate and complement each other.

What to serve with the wine and cheese Fast2eat

Fresh fruits

Fruits are necessary for a cheese board because they taste good and balance the flavours. They also look nice and can be used to decorate the cheese. You can eat them with the cheese by picking them up with your hands.

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 piled to create easy-to-grab portions.
Some other options for fresh fruits are:
  • Apples, sliced very thin – add lemon or lime juice to prevent them from turning brown
  • Avocado, cubed – add lemon or lime juice to prevent them from turning brown
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries (large), whole
  • Dates
  • Figs, sliced fresh or baked
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Melon or cantaloupe, sliced
  • Nectarines, dried
  • Peaches, sliced
  • Pears, sliced – add lemon or lime juice to prevent them from turning brown
  • Pineapple, bite-size pieces

Important notes:

  • You must always consider the season when selecting fruits to accompany your cheese. Pick fruits already in the season to keep things affordable. Avoid imported, exotic fruits, which can become expensive and may not have as much flavour.
  • Ensure you wash and pat your fruits dry so they don’t leave stains or become soggy.
  • Avoid citrus fruits that may alter the taste and aroma of wines.

Vegetables

Vegetables can also give a pop of sweetness, while their tart tang can balance the saltiness of some cheeses.

Some options are:
  • 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
veggies - What to serve with the wine and cheese Fast2eat

What crunchy snacks go with a cheese board?

Dried fruits and toasted nuts go well with sweet and salty pairings for various types of cheese. This will not only give a crunchy texture to your cheeseboard but also fill up empty spaces. Your guests will enjoy snacking on the nuts after trying out cheese, crackers and cold cuts.

Nuts - What to serve with the wine and cheese Fast2eat

Nuts

  • Almonds
  • Brazilian nuts
  • Cashews
  • 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
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Hazelnut
  • Walnuts
  • or maybe some flavoured mix of nuts

Dried Fruits

  • Apricots
  • Berries
    • Blueberries
    • Cherries
    • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

There is no right or wrong

Rummage through your pantry and take out any nut you might have – salted, plain – everything goes.

What kind of vehicle (bread & crackers) goes with wine and cheese?

Place baskets with different kinds of bread, like sliced baguettes, bread sticks and crackers of different shapes and sizes. It’s good to have a variety of tastes and textures, but be careful not to choose bread or crackers with a strong flavour as they might compete with the taste of the cheese. Flavoured bread, like those with garlic or sesame seeds, could also hide the flavour of the cheese. However, bread with walnuts, dried fruit or olives is an excellent choice to pair with cheese. You can make some Fast2eat bread recipes that are great for this occasion.

Choose plain bread

Assorted neutral crackers

  • Cream Crackers which are mild-flavoured
  • Water crackers
  • Rice crackers
  • Pretzels

Gluten-free options

  • Rice Crackers
  • Gluten-Free Pretzels
  • Gluten-Free Pita Slices

Have at least three types of bread on your table.

You can choose from two savoury types of bread, one dark/whole wheat and one lightly sweet with raisins or walnuts. The latter helps to ‘recover’ the taste and accentuates the flavour of the cheese.

Don’t scrimp on the bread.

Use good quality bread; a rustic style or long baguette typically works well.

What else can be included on a cheese board?

Optionally it can also have the following:

Don’t shy away from trying something new on a cheese plate.

  • Savoury Dips & Spreads such as this Egg, Onion and Olives Dip
  • Hummus
  • Pestos
  • Butter (apple butter, pumpkin butter, etc.)· Dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan options too

Fresh herbs
Adding fresh herbs like basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, or fresh bay leaves to a board can make it smell and taste better. You can include eucalyptus stems, olive branches, or evergreen or pine tree snips.

Floral arrangement
If you’re picking flowers for decoration, I suggest getting ones with more leaves and fewer flowers. It’s up to your taste, but avoiding fragrant flowers is a good idea so they don’t take away from the food.

Dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan options

Before your event, make sure you ask about dietary restrictions. Nowadays, many people have specific diets and allergies, so it’s important to know if anyone can’t have dairy or gluten or if they are vegetarian or vegan. Don’t waste time and effort preparing food items guests can’t eat. Also, consider exploring vegan cheese options at your nearby health food store or Whole Foods. They offer several great blocks and slices catering to guests with different dietary preferences.

Vegan pairing

Nowadays, there are many delicious vegan cheeses made from nuts and cultures. They may not have milk fat, but they still have fat that makes the cheese taste rich.

Vegan cheese is more delicate than dairy cheese, so pairing it with light or medium-bodied wines is best. Serving vegan cheese with floral or citrusy wines is best if you’re also serving fruit, dried fruit, or preserves. This will keep the cheese from being too sweet and overpowering your taste buds. Since vegan cheese has a milder taste than dairy cheese, you don’t have to be too particular about pairing it.

Should you serve other appetizers at the party?

An ultimate cheese platter has cheese, crackers, bread, nuts, fruits, sweets, vegetables, meat, seafood, and sauces. It’s so filling that people won’t want other snacks.

Don’t serve dessert so the table can stay until the end of the party.

A different board for every occasion

When preparing a cheese board, it’s important to carefully choose what goes on based on when you plan to serve it.
If your cheese board is a starter, it’s best to go for lighter, fresh cheeses like burrata with fruit in the summer or truffle honey in winter. You want to avoid anything too heavy that might spoil your guests’ appetite.
However, if you’re serving cheese as part of dessert, you can go for more decadent options like triple crème or pungent blue cheese.

These tips are from my own experience;
I’m neither a party organizer, a sommelier, nor a turophile (a cheese connoisseur). 
I just love cheese, wine and spending time with family and friends.

I hope my easy tips will give you the confidence to host a wine and cheese party with a handful of close friends.

If you use my tips for your next Wine & Cheese party, please comment below and remember to take a picture, tag @Fast2eat.com and use #Fast2eat so that we can both marvel at how easy it was!

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