The Simplest Fancy Appetizer: A Cheese Board

If you are trying to figure out what to serve as a quick and elegant appetizer, you can’t go wrong with a cheese board.  Of course, check with your date ahead of time to make sure there are no food allergies to worry about.  (Heaven forbid he is lactose intolerant, you feed him cheese, and then the two of you end up in bed together later.  That’s just a really explosive and unpleasant combination.)

Okay, so to make a great little cheese appetizer, you need 10 things:

  1. 3 good cheeses
  2. 3 breads/crackers
  3. 3 accompaniments
  4. 1 serving platter (you can use a pretty cutting board, a ceramic tile, or even a piece of slate).

 

cheeseFor cheese, I recommend Trader Joe’s.  They have an amazing cheese selection and it’s all super affordable.  My favorites are all very flavorful:  a great sharp cheddar (New Zealand cheddar is awesome), a chevre (creamy white goat cheese), and, a nice blue cheese.  But, to cater to more appetites you probably want to do a sharp cheese, a medium cheese like a gouda and then a mild and creamy cheese like brie.
For breads/crackers, I recommend a good french baguette, something earthy like a nutty 9 grain bread, and maybe some water crackers since they are bland enough to let the flavor of the cheeses shine through.

For accompaniments…. wow, there are so many things that go well with cheese!  Choose from any of these:

  • Salami
  • Proscuitto
  • Ham
  • Olives (get good quality olives from the deli, not the cheap ones from a jar)
  • Apple wedges
  • Pear wedges
  • Grapes
  • Bacon
  • Banana Peppers
  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds (roasted and/or smoked)
  • Cashews
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  • Chutney

Here is a great article about choosing accompaniments.

Then, arrange your cheese on the serving dish, alternating the hunks of cheese with the various accompaniments and breads.  See the photograph for one example.

This is an elegant but easy-to-make welcome platter for your guest(s).  Enjoy!

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