Here’s a complete guide for how to make a perfect cheese board (vegetarian) with step-by-step photos to guide you. This will provide a delicious platter for the holidays and any get-togethers! Be sure to read through for all the tips and tricks.
Ever wondered how to put together a perfect cheese board? Whether you’re hosting a casual party or playing it like the French and want to host a 4-course menu with cheese AND dessert, this complete guide will come in handy and is guaranteed to impress your guests.
Being French, cheese boards are a huge part of my culture and always included in a festive meal. In France, we like it simple: cheese, bread and occasionally fruits are the star ingredients of this platter that do not include charcuterie or meat. This way, it makes a beautiful vegetarian cheese board.
Now let me show you how to build yours, with these general guidelines about what goes on a cheese board. Use it as a simple guide to help you get organized and not feel overwhelmed. Then, make sure to get creative and play with seasonal ingredients to make your own. I hope you enjoy and have fun!
General guidelines for a beautiful cheese board
- Space out all items on the cheese board, starting with the cheeses.
- Work from the bigger ingredients to the smaller ones (it’s always easier to add nuts at the end).
- Repeat the same items a few times on the same cheese board. For instance, add twice the same round crackers on different locations of the cheese board.
- Don’t make it too organized or symmetrical. Try instead to let the artist in you shine, and don’t hesitate to throw in a few nuts here and there.
First step: the choice of cheese
Types of cheese. Even if there is no strict indication about how to choose the perfect cheeses for your cheese boards, I recommend you: 1/ choose them based on their types, 2/ think variety, 3/ go for regional options first (based on where you live). Usually for 6-8 people, I like to have about 4 to 6 types of cheese chosen among the following categories:
- Fresh cheese. This category includes cheeses that aren’t aged at all. They are soft, spreadable cheeses with creamy textures and very mild flavors: fresh goat cheese, ricotta, etc.
- Soft cheese. These are creamy, earthy cheeses with a thin white rind of blooming mold: Brie, camembert, etc.
- Washed-rind cheese. These cheeses are similar in texture to the soft cheese but they have a distinctive orange coloring in the outside. This category includes: Munster, Maroilles, etc.
- Firm/hard cheese. This is the largest category on the market: Gruyère, Parmesan, Emmental to name just a few…
- Blue cheese. This category includes any mold cheese: Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Danish Blue, etc.
How to place the cheese on the cheese board? Always start by placing the cheese on your cheese board, spacing them from each others. You can also cut a few slices to make it more inviting to the guests (who ever wants to cut the first slice anyway?).
Step 2: add fruits and jams
Once you’ve arranged the cheeses on the platter, it’s time to add some fruits, jams and chutneys. To make your cheese board enticing, choose seasonal fruits as much as possible. Also, try to express a pallet of colors, make the fruits swirl around the cheese and bring it all to life.
Fruit ideas for a fall/winter cheese board theme: grapes, figs, sliced apples, sliced pears, olives, cranberries, pomegranate, dried fruits, but also exotic fruits such as mangoes. In the summer, think of stone fruits, berries, apricots…
Step 3: fill in with bread, crackers and nuts
Last step is to fill out the gaps on your cheese board platters with all kinds of breads, crackers and nuts of your choice. To make it visually appealing, try to play with shapes and arrange them in series: a few round crackers on one side, a few square ones overlapping each other at a different angle, and small amounts of the same nuts in various places of the cheese boards. You get the idea! And make sure you prepare my easy homemade no-knead bread, aka miraculous bread.
Depending on your style, you can over-crowd the cheese board to make it generous on your appetizer table, or scatter the different elements for a more refined dish that would come before dessert.
A few bread, crackers and gingerbread recipe ideas:
- Swedish multiseed crackers,
- Whole wheat no-knead bread,
- Fig and walnut no-knead bread,
- Super moist gingerbread,
- Rosemary and olives no-knead bread,
- Multiseed no-knead bread,
- French spiced bread (pain d’épices).
Nuts you may consider: walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, toasted almonds, pistachios, pecans, brazil nuts.
Final touches and wine!
Your cheese board wouldn’t be complete with a few other items here and there. For instance, I like to add a few herbs for additional flavors: rosemary and thyme always work a wonder with Brie or camembert, with a light drizzle of honey. Also, consider adding a small bowl of olive oil on your platter where your guests can dip some bread in.
Last but not least, don’t pass on the wine! Whether you go for a deep red such as a Bordeaux, a dry or fruity white wine, or why not a Porto wine, there are endless possibilities based on your personal tastes.
More cheese recipes to try:
- Rosemary Sweet Potato Bread Wreath with Baked Camembert
- 3 Quick and Easy Cheese Bite Appetizers
- Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese and Pecans
- Pumpkin and Walnut Tartines with Blue Cheese
- Gorgonzola Pear Gingerbread Toasts
Lastly, if you make this cheese board, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating, letting me know how you liked it. And of course, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Thank you and enjoy!Print
Here’s a complete guide for how to make a perfect cheese board (vegetarian) with step-by-step photos to guide you.
Use this list as a general guide – these are the ingredients I used to build this exact cheese plate, but don’t be afraid to mix it up using your favorite snacks and cheeses or anything you have on hand!
- Fresh cheese: Goat cheese
- Soft cheese: Camembert
- Washed-rind cheese: Maroilles
- Hard cheese: Emmental
- Blue or Gorgonzola cheese
Fruits and jams:
- Fresh figs
- Green olives
- Pomegranate seeds
- Pear chutney
Bread, crackers and nuts:
- Gingerbread slices
- Multiseed crackers
- Hazelnuts, almonds, cashews
- Olive oil
- White wine
- Take cheese out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
- Space out the cheeses onto a large cheese board, then fill in with fruits and jams, then breads, crackers and nuts. Garnish with fresh herbs, and enjoy!
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