The best cheeses for charcuterie boards include classic cheddar, stinky blue cheese, and creamy Brie.
But for the best cheese board around, you need a mix of soft, hard, stinky, and crumbly.
Creating a cheese board is an art form.
And the trick is to find different smells, flavors, and textures so you have an array of options when adding meats, crackers, and fun extras.
Every cheese board needs a nice mature cheddar and something smooth and soft, like Camembert.
But really, the best cheeses for charcuterie boards are the ones you like best. So go crazy and enjoy!
How to Build the Perfect Cheese Board
When you think of soft cheese, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Odds are it’s Brie.
Like Champagne, Brie got its name from a region in France, though plenty of Bries don’t come from France.
Either way, it’s got a lavishly creamy center and a bloomed rind made from edible mold that’s repeatedly patted down by cheesemakers.
It’s ideal for cheese boards because it’s great with sweet and salty ingredients. And the soft texture plays so well with crunchy crackers.
You’ll find a ton of stellar baked brie recipes out there. And for charcuterie, I highly recommend baked brie with herbs and honey.
Though, of course, it’s just as yummy served in a wedge.
One cheese that needs no introduction is Gouda. Originating in the Netherlands, it’s a semi-firm cheese with creamy, nutty, and sweet notes.
You can find it young, aged, or smoked. And it even comes in different flavors like truffle or chipotle.
For a sweet pairing, add a variety of fresh and dried fruits to your board. Apples, dried apricots, and peaches go well.
If you want something savory, you can’t go wrong with cured meats and roasted red peppers.
There’s no denying Americans love their cheddar! White cheddar, mild cheddar, sharp cheddar – if it has the word ‘cheddar’, we love it.
A simple slice of cheddar cheese goes just as well with salami as it does with crispy apples. So it’s ideal for a cheeseboard.
Plus, it’s readily available and inexpensive, making it the perfect filler.
Just remember, the more aged the cheddar, the sharper the flavor. So bold pairings like pickles and mustard go together nicely.
For something extra special, opt for an aged white cheddar. The sharp bite can be a nice contrast to fruits like apples and grapes.
Gruyère is a hard cheese that’s made with cow’s milk. And its distinct nutty flavor means it goes really well with nuts.
Walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, and Brazilian nuts will give your guests a wide range to choose from.
But don’t just stop there. Salty meats like prosciutto and ham create a savory combination you’ll love.
You can also add fruit like pears, figs, and grapes to make your pairings even more complex.
5. Blue Cheese
Strong, pungent, and moldy cheese would typically be grounds to toss it out. Yet, when it comes to blue cheese, that’s precisely how you want it.
Like the rind on Brie, that blue strain of mold is okay to eat. But there are so many different varieties, it can be hard to choose.
Roquefort? Stilton? Gorgonzola? Which one is best for your board?
The answer is it depends on how strong you like it.
Roquefort is the most pungent, and Gorgonzola is more all-around pleasing.
One of my favorites has to be Point Reyes Original Blue. Bold and dense, it’s got the pungent bite you want with the creamy texture you desire.
On the other end of the spectrum is Havarti, a semi-soft Danish cheese that’s creamy, buttery, and mild.
The texture is so smooth it melts in your mouth. And unlike sharp or pungent cheeses that may be offputting to some, it’s a safe bet to add to your board.
The mellow flavor goes with a range of charcuterie items like pears, jellies, chutney, crackers, dill pickles, nuts, and salty cured meats.
7. Goat Cheese
Pile the crackers on your board because you’ll want to smear goat cheese all over them!
The creamy funk of chèvre is undeniably delicious. And it’s so soft and smooth, you can’t help but slap it on crostini and top it with salty goodness.
Figs and honey create a sweet bite, while prosciutto presents a lovely contrast to that signature tang.
As for fruits and nuts, you really can’t go wrong. Berries, stone fruits, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and pecans all taste great.
One of my favorite pairings is smothering it in red pepper jelly. Try it on your board, and it’ll be a big hit!
Manchego is a semi-soft Spanish cheese with an earthy, tangy, and nutty flavor profile.
Like others on this list, it pairs well with a wide assortment of accouterments.
Being Spanish, it’s best with something bold and spicy, like chorizo, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and hazelnuts.
Burrata has become all the rage in recent years. One bite and you can easily see why.
Fresh, creamy, and buttery, it tastes like heaven. It’s a soft Italian cheese that gives mozzarella a run for its money.
Pair it with garden-fresh slices of heirloom tomatoes and basil for a new take on Caprese. It’s also sensational with peach slices.
For more ideas, add truffles, warm sourdough, cherry tomatoes, berries, or beets.
Salty and savory ingredients like olives, cured meats, artichoke hearts, pimento peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes work too.
Last but not least is Gorgonzola cheese, a popular blue cheese from Gorgonzola, Italy.
Made with cow’s milk, it’s easy to find, mild, and not too pungent, like Roquefort.
Crumbly and soft, there are two types: piccante is the spicier version with a sharp bite, and dolce is on the sweet side.
Try it with fresh figs and jams for a nice contrast in flavors.
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