Published on December 13, 2016

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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

At the forefront of every successful dinner party is a cocktail hour that comes complete with bite-sized eats and plenty of drinks. When pressed for time, and in need of a last-minute spread that wows, what better than a cheese board? So we took on the challenge of creating the ultimate winter cheese board, in five minutes or less. Here’s how!

Olive Wood Rustic Cutting Board

 West Elm 

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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

Step 1: Identify Your Cheese Base

When selecting the cheeses, think in the rule of threes. Opt for something stinky (blue cheese), something soft (Camembert), and something hard (Comte). We threw in an additional block (the Gouda) for, you know, good measure. Providing variety in a cheese selection is key for creating a well-balanced plate that can speak to an array of flavors. Establishing an element of differentiation within the hardness of the cheeses allows for a varied detail, crucial to the end result of the board. 

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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

Step 2: Bring in Something Sweet

Seasonal fruits and sweet jams were made for cheese boards! We paired ours with sliced persimmons, for their lush texture, and strawberries, for a pop of color. A mini bowl of fig jam and a droplet of honey on the Camembert, contribute a saturated hint of sweetness when paired with either one of the cheeses. 

 

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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

Step 3: Layer With Something Savory

With the sweet comes the savory and no cheese board would be complete sans the latter. We gathered a medley of bold flavors such as, pickled onions and herb-spiced olives, to balance out the more mellow notes of the cheeses. For a dynamic texture and flavor detail, add in a side of prosciutto to seal the deal! 
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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

Step 4: Add a Crunch Factor

Bring in crackers, crostini, and savory bites for added crunch! Consider a mix of flavors that span between sweet and savory, caramelized nuts and salt-roasted pistachios come to mind. 

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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

Step 5: Herbs

Fill the empty areas of the cheese board with fresh herbs! Rosemary, sage, and thyme are all delightfully fragrant and aesthetically pleasing. Filter in a posy of sprigs throughout the negative spaces of the board for a subtle color contrast and a refreshing burst of a dynamic aroma. 

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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

Enjoy!