California Cheese Board 101


California Cheese Board | Real California Milk

When the people behind California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) Philippines sent over a board of cheese as a holiday present, I called a few friends to come over for an intimate Wine and Cheese party. 


After setting the date, I made a short food list to create an ultimate cheese board. I spent the afternoon at the supermarket buying some crackers, bread, nuts, fruits, and honey to complement the cheese board. I carefully selected the ingredients that would be best paired with the various types of cheeses I have at home.

We have a great selection of wine at home, some were given as gifts while others were bought from countries we visited. I left the decision on choosing the right wine bottle to serve at the party to my husband. Between us, he is more knowledgeable with wine and food pairing.

My sister and I were busy in the kitchen cooking vegetable pasta for dinner. A friend brought over ham to include on our cheese board. When every list of ingredients are ready at the table, it's time to create a fabulous California Cheese Board!

10 Tips to Create a Fabulous California Cheese Board


1. Think variety. The more cheese on your board, the better. Choose cheeses from different geographical locations across California for a variety of styles and textures produced from those regions.


2. Feature different cheese categories. You can go for fresh, soft-ripened, semi-soft, semi-firm, hard, washed rind or blue veined.


3. Think of how you can lay out your cheeses. Each style of cheese has a different way of being placed on the cheese board. Hard cheeses are usually cut into different shapes while soft cheeses can be left whole for guests to cut and spread onto crackers or sliced bread.

4. Try fruits. You can add dried fruits like apricots, figs and mangoes. These pair well with aged cheese. Fresh fruits like grapes, strawberries, raspberries are best paired with soft fresh cheeses. You can also pair cheese with topical fruits like fresh mangoes, pineapple and jackfruit.


5. Try using nuts. Nuts are great accompaniment to many cheeses because of their sweet contrast to saltier sharp cheese.

6. Use crackers and bread. Certain cheeses are best paired with them. Soft cheese goes with soft bread, hard cheese goes with crunchier crackers so each one doesn't get lost in the mixture of its companion.

7. Preserves and jams bring out buttery qualities of cheese while complimenting its strength. Choose  milder jams with fresh cheese and darker, stronger preserves for more robust cheese.

8. Aged cheeses are best suited for dry-cured meat like prosciutto, pepperoni and salami, while younger cheeses would overcome by the strength of the meat's flavor.

9. Consider a dash of mustard. The acidity of mustard is a perfect pairing with high-fat cheese and balances the richness of aged cheese.



10. Dark chocolate and aged cheese with caramel notes are simply made for each other! They make a great dessert pairing for cheese board to finish.

*Chef Josiah Baird, CMAB International Cheese Consultant, whipped up 10 ideas for creating a California cheese board that will keep coming back to your Christmas table.


May the coming years bring us closer than ever! Cheers!

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