My cheeseboards usually follow a standard constructive pattern: hard, soft, blue and wildcard. That’s not to say preference doesn’t play a part, my father for instance, is dangerously allergic to blue cheese so for him we introduce an extra hard cheese, ewes or something similar.
The very first time I put together a cheeseboard it was for a dinnerparty I was having when I still lived in Glasgow. I walked into Mellis the cheesemongers (the one on great western road) and asked for help, not only did they set me up with possibly the best cheeseboard ever but they let me try everything first (a real perk to cheese shopping!)
When I was working on my ski season we were told to always put the whole cheese (or a significantly large slice) onto the plate rather than trying to anticipate how much people would eat, it looks much better this way and leftovers make fantastic canape ingredients later in the week.
The selection featured follows these basic rules, the hard cheese is a loch Arthur cheddar, a local one to where I live now, although I often use davidstowe (being a cornish lass) or Mellis do a very good ewe’s. The blue is blacksticks blue a good creamy one, the soft creamy is a vacheron – I first had this on my ski season and always go for it when its available, bries and camemberts also good in this slot. The wild card on this board is a festive effort, cranberries and mixed peel in wendsledale, which was actually very good, goats cheese is often my wildcard, depending on my audience, there are some fantastic cheeses out there, I once served a rather unexpected ginger cheese.
Accompanyments are a must. Quince paste and grapes featured but also good with sliced Apple, dried fruits like apricots or cranberries, celery sticks and chutney.
Oh, and biscuits, don’t forget biscuits.
Never serve butter with your cheese: good cheese doesn’t need it and bad cheese doesn’t deserve it.