A cheese board should have three to five cheese selections varying in colour, texture and boldness. Do not let the cheeses touch one another. Add simple garnishes, such as herbs or fruit, to a large board. Plan for two to three ounces of cheese per person as an appetizer or first course and six or seven as a main course.
If guests cut their own portions, provide a separate knife for each variety. Avoid serving all choices in triangular wedges. Use circles and rectangles, too, in chunks of similar size. Serve at room temperature.
Provide mild-flavoured crackers or crusty bread for spreadable or crumbly varieties, such as blue, Brie or Camembert. Enhance the cheese's flavour, don't overpower it.
Semi-soft cheeses like Swiss, cheddar or Colby can also be cubed, with toothpicks provided, or cut into squares and served with crackers instead. Always add one of these varieties, as they are distinctly flavourful, colourful and easy to recognise.
Skinned or waxed cheeses, such as Brie or Edam, should remain in their covering, presented in wedges or with the full circle available and one piece removed, exposing the centre.
Blue cheeses, although messy, add spunk to a cheeseboard and should always be included. Their boldness is a flavourful complement to the mild havarti or muenster.
Cheese boards can be arranged in a theme, as well. Try combining several cheeses from the same country or region. Using all of one variety with different colours and strength of flavour can create an intriguing display.
For a large crowd or to appear more extravagant, use five cheeses. When using more than three, try to include a rare type that most people have probably never tried. For the cheese connoisseur, this will pique their interest. The novice will either accept the adventure or head straight for the recognisable favourite.
Do not confuse the palate with bold foods, such as sweet jams or jalape�o peppers as accompaniments on the tray. Use mild or delicate flavours, such as wine, fresh apples, grapes or peaches. Nuts and dried fruits, apricots or figs for example, also marry well with cheese and can be integrated onto the board or served on plates of their own next to it.
Cheese boards don't have to be cheese on wood to qualify; any surface will do. Be creative. If there is a party theme or particular type of serving dishes used for other items, follow the style. While wooden cutting boards are popular, marble and glass are equally acceptable. Ceramic platters or shallow wicker baskets covered by a linen napkin are appropriate for less formal decor.