(BPT) - 'Tis the season for getting together with friends and family to celebrate. Food is at the heart of the holidays, so whether you're hosting an event or attending as a guest, you'll want to whip up something to impress a wide variety of taste buds. The perfect solution: A holiday cheeseboard.
Creating a cheeseboard like the ones you see in food magazines might seem intimidating, but it's actually surprisingly simple. With a little planning and a few flairs, you'll put together a cheeseboard that guests will nosh on until every last crumb is devoured. Just follow these five steps to a delicious holiday cheeseboard that's guaranteed to get rave reviews.
1. Select a serving tray: A wood cutting board is timeless, but feel free to get creative with your serving vessel. You can choose your grandmother's crystal platter, that festive holiday tray or repurpose a favorite cake plate. The only rule is the tray must be large enough to hold all your cheese plus accompaniments without being overcrowded.
2. Choose cheese wisely: Select three to five varieties of cheese for your board. This provides nice variation without overwhelming guests with too many options. When in doubt, remember this rhyme when shopping: Something old, something new, something stinky and something blue. Consider an Italian cheese theme and choose from a variety of Stella cheeses. From fresh mozzarella and tart feta to aged Asiago and buttery Fontina, you'll have nice variety for everyone.
3. Get the right amounts: You want enough cheese to satisfy everyone but you don't wants loads of leftovers. Typically 4-6 ounces of cheese per person is a good estimate, but increase or decrease that amount based on time of day and other foods being served (for example, a bountiful luncheon versus a light cocktail hour). The Stella Cheese online cheese calculator can help you determine appropriate amounts considering these variables if you need assistance.
4. Add accompaniments and garnishes: For a well-rounded cheeseboard, extras are essential. Crackers, crostini and bread as well as nuts, dried fruit, olives and meats can be customized to your tastes. For a festive take on your cheeseboard, add quintessential holiday-themed foods such as cranberry jam, roasted chestnuts, fresh figs and even pumpkin butter. For pops of color, add in fresh berries and sprigs of rosemary. These extras not only add a plethora of flavors, but they beautify your presentation.
5. Consider proper preparation: One of the best parts of a cheeseboard is it can be prepared ahead of time. This means less work and more time to spend with loved ones during holiday events. To get started, organize your cheeseboard in an eye-appealing manner with cheeses from mildest to strongest flavor as that's the best way to sample them. Keep in mind you can set cheese out about an hour before serving as this time allows cheese to adjust to room temperature which maximizes flavors. Then add extras to fill in the spaces on the board, placing garnishes like jams and honey in the middle.
Whether you're hosting a casual neighborhood gathering, a festive celebration with family or a formal get-together with business partners, a delectable cheeseboard is ideal for guests to nosh on. For more inspiration visit www.stellacheese.com.