How to set up an easy cheese board

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Setting up a cheese board and pairing it with a good bottle of wine was something that I had been missing and craving for a while. And honestly, what I missed the most were the good things usually happening around a cheese board and a good glass of wine.

Cheese and charcuterie board in a table with bottles and glasses of wine, a basked of bread and candles.

Note: Thanks to Decoy, for sponsoring this post. Thanks to the Amazon Associates Program and other affiliate programs, I receive compensation for the products sold through the affiliate links in this post at no cost to the buyer.

A cheese board is a perfect excuse to gather

In other words, I was missing the conversations, and the celebration of life and friendship, the things that matter in life.

Cenital view of a charcuterie and cheese board

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 homeschooled. I do have a pretty active virtual social life. But I must confess: I have been missing the real stuff.

Table set with a cheese and charcuterie board, yellow flowers, bottles and glasses of wine.

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.

View of a table with a cheese and charcuterie board, yellow flowers, candles and bottles of red wine.

So, last Friday, I invited two friends to spend a girls’ evening at my terrace…  chatting, sharing, sipping wine, and enjoying a nice selection of cheeses and charcuterie.

cheeseboard ready to be enjoy with a bottles of wine

After all, we have already survived 75% of this unprecedented year. Most of all: we have so many reasons to be thankful.

Serving a glass of Decoy red wine.

The original plan was to have an outdoor gathering. But Miami’s weather didn’t help us. So we stayed inside, lit candles, and enjoyed our well-deserved bottle of wine.

Decoy Limited Red Wine, 2018: Tasting Notes

Two glasses and two bottles of red wine.

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. It is a coupage made of  43% Merlot, 25% Zinfandel, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Tempranillo, aged in new French oak barrels for 14 months.

easy cheese board

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: a bold wine. Velvety tannins highlight fruity cassis, cherry, and raspberry notes. Subtle spice and vanilla notes can also be appreciated.
  • To the end: French oak notes linger in a long ambrosial finale.

How to create an easy cheese board

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.

  1. To make an easy cheese board, the governing principle must be: do not overthink. On the contrary, go with the flow, and you’ll see there is no way to go wrong. 
  2. 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.
  3. Pick cheeses of different shapes (round, triangles, rectangles) and textures (soft, creamy, crumbly, hard, gooey), and distribute them through the board.
  4. Before serving, have your cheeses at room temperature.
  5. 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. 
  6. Again, there are no rules, but remember that you want to have the five basic tastes in your cheese plate: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. 
  7. Cheese can be eaten with fruit and nuts. But bread plays an important role in creating 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

What are the best cheeses to make a 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 dishes, so their drips don’t wet the rest of your cheese board.

Portrait of a cheese and charcuterie board

Since there are no rules about cheese boards, I added a couple of seagrape leaves to my board. I cut them from one of the bushes in my community garden and used them as a base over my wooden board.

Cenital view of a cheese and charcuterie board with numbers indicating the type of cheese, cold cuts and fresh and dry fruit.

Then, I placed the cheeses and the rest of the goodies on top. From top left to right, here is what you can see on 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. Blue cheese
  8. Seedless red grapes.
  9. Bocconcini.
  10. Strawberry marmalade.
  11. Gruyère.
  12. Green apple slices (seasoned with fresh lime juice so they don’t get oxidized.)
  13. Smoked roasted almonds.
  14. Gluten-free rice crackers.
  15. Dry salami slices.
  16. Camembert.

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!

Detail of the cap of a bottle of Decoy wine.
Enri

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