How To: Build A Cheese Board

Written by on March 7, 2012 in DIY, Lifestyle - 18 Comments
build a cheese board

Hey Glitter Girls! Victoria from vmac+cheese here, and I’m so excited to be sharing tips on cooking and entertaining for Glitter Guide.

Today, we’re talking cheese boards. They’re the hallmark of any party, whether you’re hosting a full-scale dinner or just having friends over for a glass of wine. With the myriad of options available at the cheese case these days, putting together a pretty board can seem a bit overwhelming. Below are some ideas for creating a cheese board that will make your guests think you hired a caterer. The best part? You can easily prep a board in advance, so when your friends arrive, all you’ll have to do is sit back, sip some bubbly, and enjoy. Cheers to that!

Choosing cheeses: Conventional wisdom says to start with a variety of cheeses on your board. Try a soft cheese (like ripened brie), a hard cheese (like aged gouda), and a blue cheese (like Maytag or gorgonzola). By varying the types of cheeses, you’ll satisfy lots of different palettes — plus, the garnishes you choose can also compliment each cheese! Other good options include goat cheeses (chevre) and sheep’s milk cheeses (like pecorino), but be aware that many people can find their pungent flavors off-putting. If you don’t know what your guests prefer, stick to the basics.

Pick a spread: I like to choose a simple spread to feature on the board, such as a basil pesto or a sun-dried tomato spread. Not only is this a great way to introduce a new ingredient (guests can build their own little canape!), but it also allows you to feature a cute dish or bowl for visual interest. In this case, I used a vintage footed ice cream bowl to hold the pesto.

Add in some cured meats: Jazz up your board with your favorite charcuterie, like sliced salami, coppa, or even prosciutto. Stop by the deli counter at your grocery store and have them slice the meats to your preferred thickness. Got a lot of vegetarian guests? Try substituting pickled vegetables to incorporate that savory, salty element.

Fill in the blanks: When you’re building a board, you can fill in the ‘blank spots’ between the different elements with small garnishes, such as dried/fresh fruits and nuts. Try walnuts, almonds, or even pistachios. Sprinkle dried cherries, apricots, or even fresh strawberries around the board. (Just remember to put a small waste bowl next to the board so guests can discard their pistachio shells and strawberry hulls with ease.)

Other snack ideas: For a healthier board, use more veggies! Try cutting raw carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers into long strips, then placing them into lowball cocktail glasses. It’ll give your board more color and give the calorie conscious something to snack on.

Building the board: Once you’ve gathered all the ingredients, choose your board. It doesn’t have to be a wooden cheese board! Use a rectangular platter, a piece of slate, or even an everyday cutting board if you’re in a bind. Next, choose the largest of your cheeses to feature as a “centerpiece,” which should be among the largest items on the board. Next, create lines with your other ingredients to make the board look visually appealing. If you have fewer ingredients, move the items inward towards the center and leave a border around them. This will make the board look fuller and more cohesive. Don’t forget the cheese knives! Pair them appropriately with each cheese (spreaders for softer cheeses; knives for harder or crumbly cheeses). A simple set like this one from

West Elm will have you covered for every situation.

(If you place your centerpiece item in a corner of your board and allow the other items to flow from it, the end result will be a more traditional looking board that feels very full. For a more modern looking board, keep the lines of your items very straight.)

Voilà! You’re a cheese board pro. Of course, the boards here offer just a few ingredients — browse your local market and you’ll definitely find that the options are endless!

  • Grace – Stripes & Sequins

    I loved this… mouth is totally watering!

  • Jessie D. Miller

    Yay!  Totally love VMac & Cheese!  Happy to see Victoria over here!

  • lara / the glossarie.

    this literally made me hungry! love the combo – saving this for a future hostessing obligation.

  • BmoreLoveLeigh

    Looks gorgeous and delicious! 

    My must-have cheese on any cheese board is P’tit Basque (french cheese made with sheep’s milk).  I don’t know what makes it so amazing, but we have it at every get together in my family and it’s always the first thing to go. 

  • Hello Cupcake

    Super useful! Thanks for sharing this!

  • GawgusThings

    Living in France cheeseboards are compulsory 😉

  • Shaynerenee

    Great tips!! I love your articles about hostess related things :)

  • Sarah Roads

    Mmm, love a cheese board! My go to for hosting, always! This is beautiful!

  • Molly [apieceoftoastblog]

    YUM – I want to eat these images!  Great job, love :)  

  • Erin | Holtwood Hipster

    Thanks for helping to demystify this a bit! I love a ordering a good cheeseboard when I’m out at a favorite restaurant, but entertaining back home, I’m always a little stumped as to what types of cheese to put on it- like there are solid rules to follow. Also– my favorite “spread” would have to be honeycomb.  Give me some blue cheese paired with honey and I’m a happy, happy girl.

  • houseofearnest

     love love love a good cheese board.  It’s so easy to put together and guests always love it!

  • Ruth

    Mmmmm, my mouth is watering now!  It just goes to show how much of a difference presentation can make too – these are all so beautifully presented!

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  • Bre Wenzinger

    What a great tutorial! 

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