Setting up a cheese board that doubles as an antipasto spread is a smart option when it comes to entertaining and especially when entertaining in larger numbers.The cheese board cum antipasto platter could have almost anything you think your guests might enjoy eating. 2 or 4 kinds of cheeses, cold cuts, chutneys, fresh/dried/roast vegetables and fruits. One or two varieties of nuts and fresh or crisp bread. Use any food that looks attractive, is tasty and relatively easy for diners to put on their plates and eat.
The extent of your spread depends on the number of guests your are having. One antipasto style cheese board would serve about 4 diners, maybe 6 but beyond that number having 2 cheese boards would probably be more practical so that no one needs to get accidentally elbowed whilst circling around the spread deciding what to put on their plates.
To the side of the cheeseboard, place more options of what could be had with the selection of cheese plates.
In little bowls could be 3 or 4 kinds of various jams, dips, chutneys and perhaps an interesting honey. You will need a selection of crisp breads and biscuits to go with the cheese. If I have a blue cheese to serve, I really like to get those sultana biscuits. Strong cheese goes well with sweet nuggets of sultanas on crisp biscuits. I have at least one gluten free crisp bread for diners who are gluten intolerant. If you like the look of those Grissini/breadsticks you see in the feature image, I had posted a recipe for that, Grissini, Breadsticks.
It helps if you label your cheeses and the dips/chutneys/jams that you will be serving. Cocktail sticks, strips of paper, glue or double sided tape are all you need.
Put out a few tried and tested cheeses, chutneys, cold cuts and then throw in one or two new ones for your guests to try. Think along the lines of: Diversity, Appearance, Taste, and Texture.
As a rough guide, I decide what cheeses goes on my antipasto style cheese board by dividing the cheeses into 4 broad categories and then mixing and matching.
Hard to semi-hard cheese
Parmesan, Comte, Manchego, Cheddar, Gouda, Emmentaler. I like to slice hard cheeses beforehand so guests don’t have to struggle with cutting it.
Blue Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Danish Blue.
Fruit or herb cheese
A Melon and Mango Combination or Apricots and Almonds. I have seen an Apple, Cranberry and Cinnamon combination. Herb and Garlic as well. There is a lot to choose from.
Semi soft, soft to fresh cheese
Port Salut, Fontina, Brie, Camembert, Fresh Mozzarella, Ricotta.
Balance off your selection of cheeses with the cold cuts, fruits and vegetables. Remember to set out separate knives/ utensils for each cheese as you want clean flavours from each cheese.
It is fun setting it all up. You can get as creative as you like with the selection and pairing. It is almost impossible to set up a bad antipasto style cheese board. There is bound to be something on it that would appeal to your guests. While your guests enjoy their pre-dinner nibbles, you can work at a more leisurely pace in the kitchen to get your main meal out. That to me, is easy entertaining.
WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?