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Feb 18, 2010 03:33 PM

Cheese Board Ideas

HI everyone
I am making a cheese board for a cocktail party of about 20 people. What are some cheeses you like to put on your cheese platter? I am thinking of 3-5 different cheeses.

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  1. I am passionately fond of Hooligan, which is a very stinky cheese and not to everyone's taste. It's from Cato Corner Farm and available by mail order. I also love Montenebro, which is relatively easy to find.

    1. It isn't often I get to reply early to a CH post!

      It never hurts to start with an English or Canadian cheddar. There are dozens of good ones, but don't overlook Ireland and Vermont as good sources as well.

      You must have a blue...St. Augur or Roaring Forties are my favorites, but Cashel, Bayley Hazen, Port Reyes, Stilton or Gorgonzola may be more available.

      A soft creamy cheese is usually very popular. Avoid the supermarket brands of Brie or Camembert and look for Fromage d'Affinois, Brillat Savarin, Boursault or Seal Bay, all of which are delicious.

      To contrast the soft cheese, try something firm like Manchego (or Womanchego if you are an ERA fan!), 3-year-aged Gouda, Parm-Regg or Abbaye de Belloc.

      Every cheese board needs a goat or sheep's milk cheese. Consider Humboldt Fog, Petit Basque, or Tomme de la Grand Mere are very good and some of my other recommendations are sheepy as well.

      That's probably plenty, but if you are adventurous, throw in an unusual selection that some people may hate and others love, perhaps Huntsman, Cambozola, or a dessert cheese like white Stilton with Mango or Gourmandise.

      You may want to pick a theme like all French (or Italian or American) varieties. One thing that goes over well is to print a little card with some of the history of each cheese (or a short poem praising its virtues) to start a conversation going.

      Happy fromaging!

      4 Replies
      1. re: DonShirer

        amen on the stilton. my personal faves are typical: camembert or brie - no way you can go wrong with either of those two.

        1. re: epabella

          If you can get your hands on Chabichou from France, do so! It is wonderful.

          1. re: millygirl

            What great ideas!!! Thank you thank you . I recently tried explorateur ( not sure if I am spelling it right) would that be considered a soft cheese? I am also fond of aged Gouda ... And I think I am going to do a dolce gorganzola with a little fig jam :)

            1. re: italiana3

              Yes, Explorateur is a soft Brie-like triple creme similar to Boursault, Pierre Robert or Saint Andre. Aged Gouda is often available in both 3 and 5 year versions. Ask your fromagerie for a taste of each. I happen to have some gorgonzola dolce in the fridge right now and agree it is a contender in the blue category.

      2. I love Red Hawk, by the Cowgirl Creamery in Northern Cal. You can buy online.

        1. I love Buchereon, it's got the tangy crumbly center and the oozy stinky rind. Love it. I also think the Manchengo is a good choice, as well as aged gouda's. You didn't mention where you were, but see if there's a local cheese shop that stock local cheeses - that can always be a great conversation starter. And they can help you find a nice balance.

          1. You have such great suggestions, I don't want to add too much - just want to second the suggestion of a Brillat-Savarin. Everytime I've served that particular cheese, it's been gobbled up by everyone from French friends to Wisconsin farmers.