When it comes to entertaining a large party, setting up a Cheese Boar that doubles as an antipasto spread is a smart option as it buys you time whilst your prepare the rest of the meal.
The Cheese Board could hold 2 to 4 kinds of cheeses. Some cold cuts. Some fresh or dried fruit. A selection of fresh, roasted or pickled vegetables could also be an option. A little chutney and a variety or two of nuts and let’s remember a good selection of fresh and crisp bread.
Keep in mind that the selection should look attractive, pair well with everything else on the board and be relatively easy for diners to eat. The extent of your spread depends on the number of guests you are having.
One antipasto style Cheese Board would serve about 4 and perhaps 6 but beyond that number, having 2 Cheese Boards would probably be more practical.
For these large parties, not only would I have 2 Cheese Boards, I would also have a separate tray to hold the chutneys, nuts and breads. Just take a look at the image below.
Let me elaborate on what I have put on the tray above.
To go with the cheeses I have chosen, I have a tapenade, cranberry jam, clover honey and a lime chilli chutney. I have a selection of crisp bread and biscuits. I put out at least one gluten free crisp bread for diners who might be gluten intolerant. And, I always try to have a sultana kind of biscuit (right of image) if I am serving a blue cheese. The sweet sultanas go so well with the strong cheese. When I feel up to it, I make Grissini (breadsticks) just like those you see in my feature imaged.
Do remember to label the cheeses and whatever food items might need help with identification. These are made with cocktail sticks, double sided tape and strips of paper. Easy.
Put 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 cheese goes on my Antipasto Style Cheese Board by dividing the cheese into 4 broad categories and then mixing and matching flavours. Balancing off my selection with suitable cold cuts, fruits and such.
Finally, remember to set out separate knives/utensils for each cheese as you want clean flavours from each cheese.
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.