Cheese Guide

Tips, ideas and information about specialty cheeses

Creating a Cheese Board

Creating a cheese board for guests can be simple and fun with some imagination and a few basic guidelines. Here are our suggestions for pulling together an enticing and delicious arrangement of specialty cheeses and complimentary accompaniments.

Cheese and Accompaniments

Choose cheeses from different cheese families for a variety of textures and flavors.  Consider regional themes, such as all Northwest or all French cheeses. Limit your choices to three to five varieties so your guests may savor each of them. Plan on two to five ounces total cheese per person, depending on how much other food will be served. Be creative in choosing accompaniments, while keeping it simple.

  • Artisan bread and crackers
  • Fresh in-season fruit
  • Dried fruits (dates, figs, cranberries, cherries)
  • Cured meats (salame, prosciutto, jamón serrano, chorizo)
  • Imported olives from our Antipasto Bar
  • Roasted tomatoes or peppers
  • Toasted hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts
  • Chutneys, preserves, honey

Arranging the Board

Use one large or multiple smaller wooden, granite or marble boards. Allow cheese to come to room temperature for best flavor.  Arrange cheeses so guests sample them mildest to strongest. Give each cheese plenty of its own space.
Have a separate knife for each variety. Don’t precut cheese.  Label cheeses with small cards so guests know what they are. Place some accompaniments on the board, others in small dishes.

Eight Cheese Families

There are various ways to classify cheese, including those listed here, and many cheeses fit into more than one category. The specialty cheeses in our Deli are arranged into the following families. Though there are milder and stronger cheeses within each family, they are listed here from mildest category to strongest.

Fresh Cheeses: These unripened cheeses are high in moisture and do not have a rind. Fresh cheeses are commonly smooth and creamy in texture, and milky, tangy, salty or buttery in flavor. They are great cooking cheeses and blend nicely into sauces.
Examples: Crème Fraîche, Labneh, Queso Fresco, Asadero, Cotija, Chèvre, more