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How to Style a Cheeseboard
Video guide to styling a cheeseboard
Fantastic ideas to style the perfect cheeseboard
I'm going to show you how to do a great cheeseboard. Often, you get a load of cheeses in a pack and they look like this and you put them on the board. But I'm going to show you a few little techniques that can really transform it into something very special for Christmas time or for a supper evening meal.
How to prepare cheddar for a cheeseboard
So what we're going to do is we're going to take something like cheddar which everyone has. So for example what I'm going to do is slice it down and have a few good slices off the front of it, like so, and then we're going to take something very simple, baking parchment, and all you're going to do is you crumple it up in your hands and then we're just going to put that into the centre of the board and then take this delicious farmhouse vintage cheddar, and it's crumbled a little bit but that's the beauty of cheddar, there we go.
Adding stilton to a cheeseboard
Then we're going to take the stilton. And I think a great little idea with stilton is to serve it with a little bit of honey, works well with goat's cheese as well.
And just to add a little bit of interest to the board I've put this little other board on top of this. When you are choosing your board for your cheeses, make sure it's a nice deep dark colour; even if it's a wooden chopping board it really lifts the colour of the cheese. So what I'm going to do is just crumble it off at the front there. By doing that you're inviting the guests to help themselves.
How to style Manchego, Brie and Red Leicester
Next we're going to go for something with a bit of height. So the lovely Manchego cheese from La Mancha in Spain has a really lovely little nutty flavour to it.
Then we're going to put on a lovely gooey running Brie. This one's from Somerset. And with that I'm just going to place it on there because it speaks for itself. What I have done with all these cheese is brought them out about an hour before we want to eat them so that they develop the flavour. This is a lovely French Brie, and just to make a point of difference, what I'm going to do is just slice the nose off at an angel. The slicing it off at the nose end, that's a very traditional way of cutting Brie. So we're just going to pop that up at the front there.
And finally, but by no means least, is the Red Leicester. So with this you'll see it's again a lovely crumbly cheese with a nutty little flavour to it. So I might just move that to the side slightly.
Also when you're selecting cheeses for a cheeseboard make sure you have soft cheeses, hard cheeses and blue cheeses and on this we have all of those.
Adding grapes to your cheeseboard
So then the accompaniments you can put with it are anything from fruits and nuts to chutneys. So I've got some grapes here now obviously that's quite big to go on there and we don't want to overwhelm the cheese because it is about the cheese itself. So you just snip off beautiful little bunches of grapes, like so, and just dot them around. Again, also add some red grapes in there because it adds a bit more colour. There's no right or wrong with this, just have a little bit of a play with it.
How to prepare figs, pears and apples
Lovely figs, all you need to do is cut down through the middle, nearly to the bottom, then rotate it a quarter of a turn and again down to the bottom, and then just using your fingers, just ease it open. It looks like a flower opening up. And that's just a really impressive little idea as well.
Pears and apples, anything that's got red or green tones on there to lift the colour of the cheese works really well.
I'm going to make what I call a jigsaw pear. Very simply, take a pear, if it doesn't stand up on its own just trim the bottom off slightly, and now it stands, and trim the stalk. It's lovely if you keep the stalk on there. And then to make the jigsaw pear you put it on its side and you just slice through, sort of about a centimetre slices, and then what we're going to do is actually reform the pear into its shape. So you want to make sure the slices remain in the same order.
Now if you were doing this ahead of time what you want to do is run a little bit of lemon juice over the pear and that will stop it from going brown. And then what you can do is place that on your cheeseboard like that.
Style a cheeseboard using celery
Celery, it's great accompaniment and very traditional to be served with stilton.
So what we're going to do is, you can either just trim it up if you wanted to by cutting it into a ‘V' shape and standing in a glass of water at the back for a bit of height or you can do what I'm going to do which is cut it into small lengths, and then we're just going to put it on the board, probably leaning up against a bit of cheese itself. So at every opportunity you're creating little bits of height and colour differences between all the different cheeses.
Chutneys, crackers and other great cheeseboard accompaniments
Chutneys are great, anything that's onion or tomato based, they work really well. Also butter, and then pecans and walnuts, also Ajwa dates work really well with the flavour of the cheese.
To accompany the cheese, crackers are great. And digestives work really well with cheddar. Also, a choice of breads is a good alternative to crackers. You can take French stick for example. Just cut it on the diagonal so again it creates a different shape, walnut bread, poppy seed bread, they're all ideal.
And of course a really lovely bottle of red wine or Madeira really complements the board. So with these little finishing touches of the pear, or celery, or even the fig you create the most beautiful cheeseboard.