Building a cheese board sounds easy—just put together a couple of cheeses and you’re done, right? But when you take into consideration all the milk types, textures, and flavor profiles, it can be difficult to know which cheeses pair well together. Plus, you also need to think about the add-ons: nuts, charcuterie, dips, etc. To ease the pressure of having family and friends over, we’ve put together a short guide on how to create the perfect cheese board.

When setting up your board, pick cheeses that contrast each other in taste and texture—pungent vs. sweet, firm vs. soft. Whichever cheeses you end up choosing, make sure there is at least one or two that will appeal to your guests’ different palates. One way to achieve this is to incorporate at least one “crowd pleaser”, or mild cheese that your guests already know and enjoy.

These are the essential cheeses that should always go into a cheese board:

Firm cheese

Soft cheese

Aged cheese: You’ll need an aged cheese with a sharp flavor. For this category we suggest our Originals Gouda, which is aged 18 months for a dry and savory texture, or even our sweet, flavorful Originals Irish Cheddar.

Soft cheese: A soft cheese is usually eaten as a spread on crackers or bread. We recommend our Originals Goat Cheese, which is creamy and fresh with a mild, tangy flavor, and made with pure goat’s milk. You may also enjoy our Originals Feta, which has a deliciously salty flavor and a crumbly texture.

Firm cheese: To balance out the soft cheese, a more firm one will do the trick. Give our Originals Manchego a try—it’s made from 100% sheep’s milk and boasts a nutty, floral flavor. Or you can go with our Originals Parmigiano-Reggiano, which traditionally is thought of as a topping for pasta, but actually offers savory flavor for your board.

Blue cheese: People either love it or hate it, but a cheese board isn’t complete without it. We might be a little biased, but our Originals Blue Cheese is a great option. Its pungent, edible rind plays off and enhances the earthy tones of the cheese.

Cheeseboard Complete

As for accompaniments, the possibilities are endless:

Cured meats: For the complete cheese board experience, try serving Italian Specialties, like our smoky Hard Salami or our authentic Italian-style Prosciutto.

Fresh fruit: Fruits such as grapes, sliced pears or apples, figs and strawberries complement most cheeses, and are therefore good alternatives.

Selection of breads: These can be sliced baguettes, breadsticks, or crackers. Try to vary the texture of the breads and don’t include anything with a strong flavor so it doesn’t overpower the cheese.

Savory treats: Add some savory items, such as Kalamata olives, roasted nuts, pistachios, and marinated vegetables. Some veggies to add include artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions.

Jarred condiments: These quick and hassle-free add-ons could include sweet preserves, honey, tart chutneys, or even our Organic Spicy Brown Mustard.

Now that you know all about how to make the perfect cheese board, give it a try and let us know which combinations you choose for yours!