With the 4th of July around the corner and summer entertaining season in full-swing, a cheese board is the low maintenance answer for all your hosting needs.
Step 1: Choose the Cheese
The good thing about a cheese board is that they rarely linger. But even so, you want to think about cheeses that won’t suffer in the sun. Lots of cheeses are susceptible to sweat, and the last thing you want to worry about as a host is blotting your cheese board.
A hard cheese like asiago is also a great choice. It’s universally liked, easy to find, and goes well with seasonal fruit.
Soft cheeses can run amuck in the heat. However, a fresh goats log will warm up and spread with ease, but will hold its shape. Add to the festive feel and punch up the flavor with a sprinkling of sweet or smoked paprika.
Step 2: Choose the Accompaniments
To theme or not to theme? It’s easy to channel some red white and blue without going overboard. Thank the berries that are in season and use a combination of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries to give a subtle nod to the day.
Build the board by vignettes or scenes. Place items you want to be enjoyed near each other to give a subtle hint to your guests. Let them dollop goat cheese on a roasted walnut or add a hunk of salty Parm near caramelized onion chutney and slices of ciabatta. Pile raspberries and blueberries near the asiago so guests can refresh their palates between bites of cheese.
Step 3: Put it All Together
I recommend having a different knife for each cheese. They all serve a purpose, and you’ll want to reduce the risk of cutting cross-contaminating the flavors.
Normally cheese should be taken out of the fridge about an hour before serving to come to room temperature. In the case of an outdoor board on a warm day, you can let them linger in the cold a big longer: Build the board about 20-30 minutes before serving. They’ll warm up faster in the sun than they would on the dining room table.