A Seasonal Guide to Cheese Boards
Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated snack or shareable supper, a cheese board is an easy and impressive dish to assemble if you know how to hit the right balance. Just as roasts are appropriate for winter, and grilling is the stuff of summer, picking the right cheeses is all about following the seasons.
No matter what time of year, always mix milks to keep things interesting. Different milks contribute to different textures, so combining cow, goat, and sheep milk cheeses is a good place to start. And while cheese should be the star of the show, thoughtfully chosen pairings can enhance the characteristics of the cheese and prevent palate fatigue.
A Cheese Board for Every Season
New pasture growth means butter-hued, beta carotene-rich cheeses that are bursting with flavor. Fresh herbs, edible flowers, and spring fruits give the board the look and taste of the season.
- Goat: Goat goudas, like Midnight Moon, are a sweet and smooth addition.
- Cow: Burrata blends the soft texture of mozzarella with the the rich flavor of cream.
- Sheep: Bloomy rind cheeses like Hummingbird bring a bright, delicate flavor profile to the board, with notes of subtle citrus and vanilla.
Try pairing with wildflower honey, nuts, and tomato jam.
The agricultural bounty of summer shines in a well-curated cheese board. Avoid anything too heavy and rich, and opt for clean, sparkling flavors.
- Goat: Bloomy, soft-ripened goat cheeses like Humboldt Fog introduce a tangy and delicious flavor profile.
- Cow: A mild salty-and-sweet blue such as Point Reyes Blue adds a little something pungent and creamy.
- Sheep: A semi-hard French Pyrenees, like Abbaye De Belloc perfectly rounds out the board with some much needed nuttyness.
Try pairing with calabrese salami, fresh berries, and honey.
When the weather begins to cool, turn to nuanced, comforting cheese and bold accompaniments.
- Goat: A medium-funky washed rind cheese, like La Tur, is a must have.
- Cow: Any aged Gouda will add a sharp and sweet bite to your board.
- Sheep: A semi-hard nutty Basque cheese, like Ossau-Iraty, rounds things out.
Try pairing with cornichons, candied walnuts, and dark chocolate.
Enjoy the celebrations of the season with intense, decadent flavors.
- Goat: A velvety, earthy washed rind goat, such as Truffle Tremor, makes a big impact.
- Cow: Clothbound cheddar, like Cabot, is savory, tangy, and surprisingly sweet.
- Sheep: An aged Pecorino, such as Pecorino Foja De Noche, packs a punch.
Try pairing with sopressata, fresh apple slices, and fig jam.
Extra Serving Tips
The way you plate your cheese is almost as important as picking the perfect pairings. Always plan ahead to make sure your cheeses have a chance to rest at room temperature. Then serve on a large, flat platter or cutting board so the natural flavor and beauty of each cheese can shine.