Because the presentation matters as much as the ingredients.
First, let’s prepare your produce.
Begin at the bottom.
Cheese boards are typically assembled on a slate or wooden tray of any shape. Boards can be as extravagant as a pink salt tray to a marble slate. Get creative with it!
Choose your cheeses.
Try to include a variety of flavors (aged, creamy, sharp, buttery, or nutty) and textures (semi-firm, soft, hard) by selecting cheeses from different families. Aim for three to five cheeses; providing different options allows for more flavor combinations!
Chef Ian Insights: Our cheese list is pretty deep, and changes on a weekly basis. I try to stick to the following format: three to five rotating cheeses weekly comprised of cow, goat, and sheep’s milk. Our styles tend to be a cheddar, a triple cream, a blue, a gouda style, and another unique cheese– think Mimolette or Humboldt Fog. We will always try to have one local cheese on our lists, but no more than one.
Add some charcuterie.
Prosciutto, salami, or capicola are all great options. One to two ounces of meat per person should be enough.
Chef Ian Insights: We usually use pork based products in the form of large and small format salamis. Sometimes we will add in a rillette or pate as well. Here’s a list of the following styles we like to use: soppressata, finocchiona, coppa, wild boar, lomo, calabrese, and casa lingo. Ideally, we would love to have all local products, but it is difficult to source charcuterie locally as the biggest producer has since moved to California.
For the perfect contrast…
- Have a sweet tooth?
- Bringing in the additional sweet flavor adds an extra ‘umph’ to the board. Use candied nuts, honey, or dried fruits. We recommend apricots, figs, or even strawberry jam. Come Autumn, we will be using honey from our five new hives. The fresher the product, the better the taste!
- Chef Ian Insights: Many of our jams use items that come out of the garden that I have an abundance of, like fig and strawberry. On select Fridays, we welcome local farmers to sell some of their products. If our Featured Friday Farmer is a local jam maker, I will always purchase a couple gallons to use over a couple of weeks!
- Add a crunch!
- Nuts make the perfect accompaniment and help to fill the board. Think salted peanuts or almonds.
- Additional flavors….
- Kalamata olives pair superbly with feta cheese. A nice, grainy mustard adds a special kick to a spicy chorizo. Even a basil pesto would be a great addition to the board!
A sliced baguette (try toasted!) or a variety of crackers are all you need. Pick your favorites!
Finish it off with some garnishes.
At Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard, we love to use fresh flowers from our garden as a way to complete the board. Sprigs of rosemary and dill or sage leaves are great options.
Don’t forget the wine!
We all know wine is cheeses’ best friend. However, finding the right pair is important for completing the creative culinary piece of assembling a cheeseboard. Luckily, at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard, we have a variety for you to choose from. Love Rosé? Find out about the best pairings here.
We recently released our newest wine– the Red Pump 2018. This earthly-yet-sweet blend pairs well with sweet or spicy foods– two flavors that will surely make their way onto your board! Shop our wines here.
Now, for the fun. Let’s build!
Listen to the expert.
Chef Ian Insights: Don’t be too symmetrical, a nice-looking board should show you put some effort into the placement of each item without the use of a protractor. The goal is to have a tastefully placed display.
Chef Ian Insights: When thinking of negative space, either allow an intended amount, or absolutely none. We recommend using a smaller board so that the minimal display does not look too meager. Excess ingredients are used to refill the platter as it depletes.
Mix and mingle the ingredients.
Chef Ian Insights: Let the colors of the various items contrast one another. For example, a red meat next to a green sauce will really pop. A creatively placed board will not go unnoticed, nor unappreciated!
Most of all, enjoy your creation!