Cheese and meat. The perfect recipe for a charcuterie-style dinner party. The options are endless. The flavors are countless. The textures are unlimited. There’s not even any cooking involved (unless you're curing your own meats or crafting your own cheeses). So what’s the problem?
Sometimes the ‘problem’ is simply knowing where to start. With seemingly endless options and flavors and textures that you’ve never tested yourself, choosing even just a few cheeses for your charcuterie board can seem much more daunting than it really needs to be.
We’re here to help you eliminate what intimidates. Our goal is to help you offer a range of flavors and textures by recommending four simple, versatile, crowd-pleasing cheeses to include on your next charcuterie board. (In a previous article, we gave our recommendations on 4 Crowd-Pleasing Meats To Use On Your Next Charcuterie Board, so make sure to check that out, too!)
Soft Mozzarella, ‘Ella, ‘Ella
You’ve enjoyed it on pizza, in lasagna, and with some fresh garden tomatoes in the summer. But the clean, light taste of fresh mozzarella also pairs well with fruits such as melons, pears, and berries, as well as with cured meats such as ham, making it a perfect, safe compliment to your charcuterie board.
Fresh mozzarella is usually made from cow’s milk and has a mild, milky flavor with a soft texture. It’s a white, rindless cheese that is not aged and is meant to be enjoyed soon after making or purchasing it. You’ll often see fresh mozzarella sold in liquid to prevent it from drying out, but it’s readily available in grocery stores.
Let’s Brie Friends
Known as “The Queen of Cheeses,” brie is one of the most popular types of cheese to serve at parties. It’s a soft cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk with a buttery, runny, and soft-ripened texture. It has a fruity, mild, nutty, or tangy flavor.
Traditionally, brie is cut into small wedges and paired with crusty bread or crackers that don’t detract from the cheese. It pairs deliciously with fruit such as apples, grapes, pears, blueberries, apricots and figs. It is also commonly served with honey, fig jam or fruit preserves, nuts, ham, bacon, or sausage.
Serve brie at room temperature so that guests can experience its full, robust flavor, and yes--the rind is perfectly safe to consume!
Our Love For Cheddar Isn’t Only Mild
Sweet and creamy, bitter and sharp, white or orange, cheddar cheese is an enduring favorite of the hard cheeses. Mild cheddars are aged for the shortest amount of time, whereas sharp cheddars are aged for the longest amount of time.
Sharp cheddar will pair well with the sliced apples, pears, salami, pepperoni, soppressata and mortadella on your charcuterie board. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also familiar and one of the safest bets for anyone new to charcuterie.
You’re Parmesan It
Parmigiano Reggiano. The sound just rolls off the tongue. The cheese itself—definitely not. We’re making sure it stays in there. Get in my belly.
Parmigiano Reggiano is considered one of the top cheeses by connoisseurs. It’s a versatile cheese with a hard, dense, gritty texture and a flavor described as fruity, nutty, and savory.
It can be nibbled alone, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, or served as a compliment to fruits, but our favorite pairing meat for Parmigiano Reggiano is prosciutto.
You. Yeah you. You’re the cheese wiz. Don’t actually include Cheese Whiz on your charcuterie board—that won’t go over well.
We hope to have inspired you with some easy-to-find cheeses that are simple to pair with typical items found on a charcuterie board. Your guests are bound to find a cheese they love on your platter with the various flavors and textures that the above four cheeses offer. Not to sound too cheesy, but we think our recommendations are pretty grate. Okay, okay, we’ll stop with the cheese puns. We’re just having fun.
Enjoy tasting and experimenting! When you find yourself ready to branch out even more, remember that you can always ask your local store for some pairing recommendations as well.
Do you agree with our list? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think or share your go-to cheeses that you turn to when guests drop by. 👇
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