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Ever since I was a little girl, I loved cheese in any form and shape – crumbly hard cheeses, cooked curd cheeses, sharp blue cheeses and creamy mould rind cheeses. And as I grew up, this love of cheese stayed with me and every new place I went to, I had to check out the local cheese. I was so excited about cheese that I just wanted them all and going cheese shopping eventually turned into a nightmare for whoever was with me, spending hours in front of cheese shelves in the shops (or sometimes feeling like crying if the selection was less than I expected, which also occasionally happened). Nowdays, I am trying to be strict with myself when selecting cheeses for a cheese board when entertaining and if you feel the same about cheese, read on, it might make your choice for your cheese board a bit easier – or if you wouldn’t even know where to begin, read on too, it’s actually not rocket science!

There aren’t any hard and fast rules, but there are a few tips that definitely help:

Choosing cheese

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  • Keep the cheese selection to five or six different cheeses.
  • Calculate about 40g of cheese per person.
  • Ideally go for different textures and cheese types, but stay away from feta, haloumi, mozzarella and processed cheeses. Although great in cooking and perhaps in salads, they are not cheeseboard material.
  • Pick one of each: blue cheese, white mould rind cheese, hard cheese, soft cheese and add anything else that takes your fancy (can’t decide between roquefort and stilton, use both!)
  • You can pick cheeses made from different milks (cow, sheep, goat)
  • Go for different strengths of cheese and arrange them on your board in order of sharpness – you can try arranging them clock-wise, starting at 12 o’clock with the mildest one.

Choosing accompaniments

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  • Offer a palette cleanser, such as celery or apples
  • Choose tastes that complement the cheese, such as walnuts, grapes or dried cranberries. Figs, fresh or dried also work well with most cheeses
  • Offer a crusty bread for spreadable cheeses
  • When selecting crackers, pick simple water or butter crackers that won’t overpower the taste of the cheese.
  • You can also add chutney or pickles.

Choosing equipment

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  • Your board should ideally be big enough to accommodate all your cheeses as well as all your sides. You can choose from a great range of platters or boards in different materials, such as porcelain or wood – we love the Robert Gordon Bistro Boards or the Davis & Waddell Provence Boards
  • Different types of cheeses require different knives: soft cheeses work well with knives with soft rounded blades, similar to a butter knife. Hard cheeses are ideal with triangular knives or cheese cleavers and soft and crumbly blue cheese or goats cheese is best cut with a cheese string or a special soft cheese knife with holes in them for easy release, such as the knife in the Scanpan Cheese Knife Block in the picture above.
  • But even if you do not have the ideal knife for each cheese, make sure each of them comes with its own knife to prevent flavour mix up. Our favourite cheese knives are the Andre Verdier Laguiole knives.

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