How to set an Easy Cheese Board

Thank you Decoy for sponsoring this post.

Cheese Board paired with wine

Setting a cheese board and pairing it with a good bottle of wine was something that I was missing and craving for a while. What I’ve missed the most were the good things that happen around a cheese board and a good glass of wine. In other words, I was missing the conversations, and the celebration of life and friendship, the things that really matter in life.

Display of cheeses and fruit, nuts and crackers on a cheeseboard, plus two bottles of fine

It’s been 30 long weeks since I secluded myself at home, avoiding going out or meeting in person with friends. I work at home and both my children are doing homeschooling. By choice, my little one has been doing homeschool for more than one year. And my big one chose not to move out to go to college, and all his classes are online too.

I do have a pretty active virtual social life. But I must confess: I do miss the real stuff. So when Decoy asked me to create a cheese board and pair it with the superb coupage Decoy Limited Red Wine, 2018, I couldn’t be happier. So, last Friday I invited two of my friends to spend a girls’ evening at my terrace…  sipping wine and having a nice selection of cheeses and charcuterie.

cheeseboard ready to be enjoy with a bottles of wine

After all, we already survived 75% of this unprecedented year. Most of all: we have so many reasons to be thankful. The original plan was to have an outdoor gathering. But Miami weather didn’t help us. So we stayed inside, lighted up some candles, and enjoyed our very well-deserved glass o wine.

Decoy Limited Red Wine, 2018: Tasting Notes

red wine being poured on a glass with cheese tray in the background.

Decoy Limited is the new flagship of the Decoy portfolio. It’s the best of the best of the Napa wine label, established in 1985 by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn. Decoy Limited Red Wine is a coupage made of  43% Merlot, 25% Zinfandel, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Tempranillo, aged in new French oak barrels for 14 months.

hands toasting with red wine served in wine glasses, and cheese platter in the bottom

Following are my tasting notes:

  • To the sight: in-between vivid Burgundy and old Burgundy clear, brilliant color. 
  • To the nose: leather and wood, oak notes, it offers a delicious bouquet, the complex aroma that arises with maturity in good wine. 
  • To the palate: definitely a bold wine. Fruity cassis, cherry, and raspberry notes are highlighted by its velvety tannins. Subtle spice and vanilla notes can be also appreciated.
  • To the end: French oak notes linger in a long ambrosial finale.

How to Create an Easy Cheese Board

Now, back to my cheese board. Keep reading for my “no-rules” guide to set yours in only 10 minutes. Here you’ll learn what to put on a cheese board.

cheese board with charcuterie, grapes and crackers
  1. The governing principle to make an easy cheese board must be: do not overthink. On the contrary, go with the flow and you’ll see there is no way to go wrong. Is there any rule of thumb? The more, the merrier, I would say. Variety is the spice of life and cheese boards are no exception.
  2. Pick cheeses of different shapes (round, triangles, rectangles) and textures (soft, creamy, crumbly, hard, gooey), and distribute them through the board. Before serving, have your cheeses at room temperature.
  3. Once the cheeses are in place, fill the board with a variety of charcuterie, fresh and dry fruit, olives, cornichons, jellies, marmalades, honey, or chutneys. 
  4. Again, there are no rules but keep in mind that you want to have the five basic tastes in your cheese plate: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. 
  5. Cheese can be eaten with fruit and nuts. But bread plays an important role in the creation of a complete cheese board. Add crackers and breadsticks to your board and serve your creation with a nice basket full of baguette slices, flatbread, pita bread… you name it! 
hands toasting with red wine served in wine glasses, and cheese platter in the bottom

The Best Cheese for the Perfect Cheese Board

Consider having at least one of each of the following cheese types:

  1. Soft: Brie, Camembert, chèvre, feta, mozzarella.
  2. Semi-hard: Cheddar, Edam, Emmental, Gouda, provolone.
  3. Hard: Gruyère, Grana-Padano, Manchego, Parmesan, Asiago, pecorino
  4. Blue: Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Danish Blue 

If you’re going to use fresh cheeses such as burrata, ricotta, or cottage, consider serving them in bowls or separate containers.

Portrait of a Cheese Board

Cheeseboard including charcuterie, grapes, marmalade, almonds, olives and crackers.

Since there are no rules when is about cheese boards, I added a couple of seagrape leaves to my board. I cut them fresh from one of the bushes in my community garden and used them as a base over my wooden bord. Then, I placed the cheeses and the rest of the goodies on top. From top left to right, here is what you can see in my board:

  1. Hot chili pepper jelly.
  2. Prosciutto di Parma.
  3. Seedless green grapes.
  4. Brie.
  5. Manchego.
  6. Black California olives (pitted.)
  7. More prosciutto.
  8. Seedless red grapes.
  9. More black olives.
  10. Bocconcini.
  11. Strawberry marmalade.
  12. Gruyère.
  13. Green apple slices (seasoned with fresh lime juice so they don’t get oxidized).
  14. Smoked roasted almonds.
  15. Gluten-free rice crackers.
  16. Dry salami slices.
  17. More green apples.
  18. Camembert.
  19. More almonds and green grapes.

Not seen in this picture, I had baguette slices and olive oil and rosemary crackers.

Next time you make a cheese board, don’t forget to pair it with your favorite Decoy Limited, and the people that matter in your life! Use this Decoy wine finder to locate your Decoy Limited in stores. Cheers!

Decoy wine bottle

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