Build The Ultimate Cheeseboard

How to create the ultimate cheeseboard with the Fine Cheese Co.

Whether you're planning a night in with friends, a housewarming, an intimate dinner party, a Christmas day spread or a spontaneous feast for unexpected guests, there's always a reason to devour a delicious cheeseboard at home, so TOAST speaks to co-founder of The Fine Cheese Co. Ann-Marie Dyas as she shares her top tips for creating the ultimate cheeseboard this winter. Enjoy!

How to Create the Ultimate Cheeseboard with Ann-Marie co-founder of The Fine Cheese Co.

Know your audience

I always start by thinking about the people and the occasion. Is it group of cheese lovers at a dinner party where a more challenging selection can be served? Or is it a group of friends, enjoying a wine and cheese party where more variety and ‘crowd pleasers’ are called for?

Whoever you are feeding, the cheese needs to be in top condition. Buy from a proper cheese shop – not the supermarket where the staff are often untrained and the cheese chilled to oblivion. Make sure you ask for advice on what is in good condition and what is ripe. A real cheesemonger will take this as an invitation to show off!

Fine Cheese Co Store

Choosing your cheese

If you would like to offer a mixed board, then try to balance flavours and textures. The essential divides are milk: Cow, buffalo, ewe and goat. 

For textures, there’s soft, semi-soft and hard. 

With styles, you have bloomy (e.g. Brie), washed rind (e.g. Epoisses), cooked curd (e.g. Gruyere) and blue. 

There are no hard and fast rules other than catering for your personal taste and the taste of your guests. If you hate goat, then don’t serve it, or choose something very delicate and lemony-fresh like Perroche that won’t offend. 

If you love ewe (and who doesn’t), you could have all ewes’ milk cheeses, but of different ages and styles. 

Fine Cheese Co Colston Basset Stilton And Brie

(Image: Colston Basset Stilton and Brie de Meaux)

Fine Cheese Co Epoisses And Perroche

(Image: Epoisse and Perroche)

Would you like to be different? Add a buffalo milk cheese, a unique Spanish smoked blue or an Italian beer cheese to your board.

For British, you are spoilt for choice as us Brits can rival anything that Europe offers! 

If your meal is fish or chicken, we recommend a more delicately flavoured cheese board. A powerful and robust cheeseboard works better with stronger meats and game. I would advise that the selection has balanced intensity; strong cheese can quickly mask the subtleties of delicate, milky cheese. 

And if you want to create an impression, try a powerful Alpine cheese like Red Wine Farmer or Stärnächäs (Supreme Champion Continental International Cheese 2016).

Fine Cheese Co Starnachas (Image: Starnachas extra mature

The Power of Presentation

Larger pieces of fewer cheeses look more impressive. When there are lots of small pieces, a cheeseboard soon resembles a bird table! Don’t rule out including one spectacular cheese with some interesting accompaniments. It makes a statement! 

With regards to the cheese board itself; marble looks lovely and keeps cheese cool, slate is fashionable, but I like to use a really large wooden board, like a baker’s peel, on which you can load the cheese, crackers, cheese partners and fruit. It makes an impact when it arrives at the table and it gives cheeses the status that it deserves!

TOAST loves this circular marble board from Holloways of Ludlow £45.00 or this wooden board by Two Sisters £35.00 to complete your spread.


Partners in Crime

Interesting partners for cheese can add another dimension to the cheese appreciation. A damson fruit puree with Camembert or Brie, a nutty/fruity/seedy cracker with a delicate triple cream, a truffle honey drizzled over a Pecorino – the combinations are endless. They add expertise, excitement and enjoyment, making it a true experience!

The Fine Cheese Co Biscuits And Crackers

Fine Cheese Co. Chutneys

Timing is everything

Should you serve cheese before the pudding or after? The French always serve their cheese first (to finish the wine) and the English prefer to end with cheese. We think the French have it right – savoury- sweet -savoury seems an odd order and, significantly, the cheese becomes rather an afterthought if it’s left until the end. We believe cheese works best after the main course, when it can command centre stage. 


If you have a cool larder - lucky you. For most of us a fridge is the only option, because cheese needs to be kept cold until it is time to serve. Then it needs to be brought to room temperature an hour or so before serving – just like red wine. 

Above all, cheese hates changes of temperature. If your cheeseboard is likely to make more than one appearance in the day (as often happens at Christmas), then store it in an unheated room and cover with a clean tea towel, which has been run under cold water and rung out. This technique will keep the cheese cool and prevent it drying out. 

Cheesey gifts?

Artisan cheese made by small producers, and freshly cut, makes a really great present. Most people are interested in cheese, but still see the best quality cheese as a treat. 

When choosing what to give, try to think about the person’s tastes – are they Francophiles? Do they have a traditional taste? Are they out and out ‘foodie's or ‘greedies’? Do they like their cheese served ‘neat’ or with crackers? Do they enjoy wine? We have selections to match all cheese tastes and the perfect partners to accompany them, if the gift requires.

The Fine Cheese Co Gifts

For more information about The Fine Cheese Co. visit their listing in our Little Black Book or visit https://www.finecheese.co.uk


Posted in Inspire Me

by Sophie Farrah
on on 22 November 2016

  after dinner, cheese, cheeseboard, food

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