A cheese board can be an easy and impressive entertaining option for parties, but intimidating if you’re new to the game. To smooth the path to success, we got the lowdown on party dos (and don’ts!) from our own super-savvy specialty food expert, Ken Blanchette.
After a successful career in specialty food manufacturing, Ken brought his know-how to FreshDirect, where he oversees our selection of deli items, specialty products, and artisanal cheese, traveling the world to discover the most delectable goodies from near and far. (Can’t say we’re not jealous!)
Here are Ken’s top tips for showing off a tempting selection of cheeses at your next party.
Keep It Simple
“Have a few choice selections, and buy larger pieces. As opposed to doing six great little cheeses, do three big ones. They’ll show well on the table.”
One Hard Cheese, One Soft Cheese, and One Interesting Cheese
“Look at different shapes, textures, and milks. I recommend one firm or hard cheese, one soft-ripened cheese and something more distinctive, like a blue.”
Unless You’re Serving Cheese Pros, Avoid Washed-Rind Cheeses
“Washed-rind cheeses are wonderful, but they permeate the room and may offend the average party guest, so save the Epoisses for your foodie friends.”
Don’t Be Afraid of the Classics
“Brie is kind of a ‘retro’ cheese, but I think it’s making a comeback now. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, brie was so popular, it became a mass-produced product. The brie we carry now are select French cheeses that we import directly — like the Brie de Nangis — and they’re really luscious, full of cream and mushroom flavors.”
Don’t Forget the Pairing Partners
“From beer and dried sausages to fruit and nuts, a few accessory flavors can really bring out the best in your cheeses and make your cheese board appealing.”
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