May 13, 2023 MINNA Tabletop
Build your own Cheese Board Heaven
Whether for a small gathering, a picnic, or a night in with a partner, cheese boards offer big payoff with relatively low effort. Here are some of our favorite things to include, along with some local places to find them!
By Chrissy Lifton
A well-balanced cheese board has several different cheeses with contrasting flavors and textures, plenty of crackers and bread (an often-missed ratio) and a nice balance of acidic and sweet things to compliment the cheeses.
Starting with the cheese, try a selection of a few: perhaps one blue, one smoky, one creamy and mild. A semi-firm blue, firm smoked gouda, and a brie are a perfect starting point. Talbott and Arding is great for trying and purchases cheeses. Or for a vegan option, Rind cheeses are great and available at Sweet Maresa’s in Kingston, among other small-batch options. Or, Riverdel (located in Essex Market) has a wide selection from small vegan makers if you’re in the city; they also ship.
For bread and crackers, try a sliced levain loaf from Kingston Bread (also available at Tivoli General), lightly toasted. Or, grab any good baguette, slice, and serve toasted or un-toasted. Again, Talbott and Arding is the spot for both baguette and crackers!
Something pickled: Castelveltrano olives are easy to love, even for the olive-wary: they’re smooth, buttery, and mild. They’re even better when they’ve been warmed in olive oil and smoked paprika (Drizzle from Graza is ideal, available in our Hudson shop). Locally, you can find them at Talbott and Arding, Cheese Louise outside of Kingston, or, the ones you can find in glass jars in most grocery stores are just as delicious. You could also go for mini pickles, pickled radish, anything that will add a brine-y flavor.
Throw some Marcona almonds in the mix, or another favorite nut or seed. Marcona are rich, oily, and salty, making them perfect for a cheese board.
For fruit, try anything in season! Local grapes or strawberries are an incredible addition. A jam, like fig or apricot, layered with the cheese tastes amazing, as do soft medjool dates, whether layered or for snacking.
For a final sweet touch, here are a few favorites:
- Halva—sweet, savory, crumbly halva. Try the one from Cheese Louise.
- Date Better: medjool dates filled with various nut butters and coated in chocolate, these are absolute gems! You can find them locally at Kitty’s.
- Lagusta’s chocolates (which happen to be vegan, like all of these sweet options), available in New Paltz, NYC, and at Sweet Maresa’s. Try their tahini meltaways if you haven’t—they might change your life.
Lastly, serve on a wooden board like the Itza Paddle Boards or Round Platters, if you're looking for some warm tabletop decor. If bright and colorful is more your style, our Fredericks and Mae Cutting boards are as useful as they are eye catching! Add some cloth napkins, some drinks, and you’re good to go. Enjoy!