February 7, 2022
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Being a life-long Midwesterner, I feel like a love for dairy was unavoidable. If I’m building a charcuterie board for my family or for a party of guests, it is guaranteed to be loaded with various cheeses. There are a few that I tend to reach for over and over again for various reasons, including taste, ease of pairing, and use in recipes.
While it used to be tough to find cheeses beyond Cheddar, Swiss and American at your local grocery store, just about every grocer now has a robust selection of specialty cheeses. At my local Jewel, they’re separated from the general dairy section and paired with other great charcuterie board additions like kalamata olives, hummus, and specialty meats.
Here are five of the best cheeses for your next charcuterie board.
Brie is one of my favorite cheeses to add to a charcuterie board for a number of reasons. The round, white cheese looks beautiful surrounded by colorful fruits, green and deep brown olives, creamy colored nuts and red meats. Beyond its aesthetics, brie is wonderful cheese for boards because it pairs so well with both sweet and savory flavors. Brie paired with a simple water cracker with a swipe of jalapeño jelly or honey is one of my favorites, but it can also be warmed and served with French bread or paired with salty salami.
Goat cheese, also known as chevre, is available in many varieties, including soft to firm. I love the soft variety that you typically find in a log form. One reason I consistently include goat cheese on my charcuterie boards is its lower sodium value than cow’s milk cheeses. It also has a lower lactose value for those who struggle with digesting it. The main reason I love goat cheese, however, is its sharp, tart flavor and smooth texture. I love the plain variety as well as some of the common seasoned varieties, like garlic and herb, peppercorn and blueberry. If you’re including soft goat cheese on your charcuterie board, consider picking up some cheese knives.
Gruyere cheese is one of the most versatile cheeses around, making it a great purchase for a cheese board and to use in recipes. The firm cheese can be sliced and added on top of crackers or layered with meat. The mild, nutty, slightly fruity flavor is typically a crowd pleaser, whether you’re serving a crowd of people with simple palettes or foodies who love interesting flavors. For more in-depth information about Gruyere, check out our blog all about it here.
Probably the most divisive choice, blue cheese has a very strong, distinctive flavor. For those that dislike blue cheese, one of the turn offs can be the blue or green veins of mold running through it. But for those who love it, the three to six months of aging and mold growth make for a wonderfully sharp, piquant flavor. It can be creamy or crumbly and pairs well with a simple cracker, scooped up with crunchy vegetables like celery or cucumber or layered with sweet figs.
Now that you have some cheese ideas for your next charcuterie board, take a look at some of our other charcuterie suggestions.
For our favorite wood charcuterie boards, click here.
To see our favorite selection of modern charcuterie boards, read this blog.
To build a gluten free board, check out this article.
Some may argue cheddar cheese is a boring choice, but that's certainly not true. Those who love a tangy, sharp, crumbly cheese that pairs beautifully with fruit, jams and sweet wines should look no further than a vintage cheddar. This variety is aged for over 2 years and continues to evolve in flavor and texture over the years. Check out our blog all about cheddar cheese to read about the history of this cheese and what makes it so special (including the surprising crunch that develops during the aging process!)