Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Cheese Board – Finding Michele

After posting the long, and relatively complicated croissants video last week, I decided to take a little mental break, and do a video for how to put together a holiday cheese board. I’ve wanted to do this one for a while, and since we’re in the middle of entertaining season, I thought the timing was perfect.

It’s always stressful to have people coming over this time of the year. You want to please, and impress, but there never seems to be enough time to get everything done, especially in the kitchen, and that’s when a well-designed cheese board can save the day.

They’re fast to put together, and you don’t need any special skills, other than being able to talk to strangers at the fancy grocery store. Most feature extensive cheese selections, and it’s been my experience that the people who work in those departments love helping you pick out your cheese. 

I know this, since I’m married to one of those people. Michele used to sell cheese in various shops and charcuteries, and her selection/pairing skills are legendary. Customers would simply tell her how many guests were coming, as well as what was being served, in particular, which adult beverages, and she would work her magic.

I gave you our basic approach for composing one of these boards, but there are many different ways you can go, so I encourage you to find the “Michele” at whichever place you’re buying your cheese. You won’t regret it. No matter which cheeses you end up with, or how you garnish them, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Le Mothais sur Feuille - Goat Cheese 
Fuyu Persimmons 
Bread - Rye Krisp 
Knife - Combo (spread, slice, stab) 

Manchego Membrillo - Sheep Cheese
Quince paste
Bread - water crackers 
Knife - slice and stab (knife with holes) 

Stilton - Cow Bleu Cheese 
Candied Pecans 
Bread - sliced baguette 
Knife - spreading

Note: Allow for at least 2 ounces of cheese total per guest, as a portioning rule of thumb.


Peter W said...

I'm so happy that you posted this, well, post. I've done a holiday cheese board for the last 10 years and it is always a family favorite. This year I'll look for membrillo and will candy my own pecans. Thanks for the tip!

Lupe said...

When I read the title, I thought you misplaced your wife ;-)

Thanks for the recipe^H^H^H^H^H^Harticle. We have always served only a sweet dessert for the Christmas dinner, but I'll ask around if we should switch to cheese for a change or even server both.

Larry W said...

Chef John, I don't know whether or not I pull together a Holiday cheese board. But I do want to take this opportunity to thank you for turning me on to cooking at Thanksgiving time 4 years ago. (I am 59). With the skills you have taught I have prepared many, many tasty meals for my wife and three twenty something boys including several Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. So here's to you Chef John. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Unknown said...

How do you spell the Manchego fruit pairing? Please.

Unknown said...

Thanks for adding the ingredients. Great idea. :-)

It looks like you might have done a typo.

You have

Manchego Membrillo
Quince paste

But Manchego is the cheese and Membrillo is the quince paste.
Maybe something like this:

Membrillo - Quince paste

Wadda ya tink?

Marc Moretti said...

This looks too complicated to prepare, I think I'll stick to trying the croissants

dandelion said...

Thanks chef I love your choices!

Chevy said...

Food wish- Aligot

Chris K. said...

Thank you for a great primer on cheese board composition! While I'd like to stick to the "rule of three" it usually ends up "rule of five." When you live with a hardcore cheese fanatic it's difficult to articulate the argument that less is more...

I would love to see a similar demo with charcuterie (Hint! Hint!).

Parting comment: Marcona almonds, some olives, and Spanish cheese. I could eat them all by the fistful.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for recipe, it's great for single dad cooking as me!

Beatrice Lawson said...

Thank you! And thank Michelle! Can we get a similar charcuterie board inspiration post? We always serve both during the holidays and honestly choosing the cheeses (always a goat, a blue, a cheddar, a brie and a "flavoured" one) is easy - I always run into trouble picking the extras: grapes are easy but which crackers? And what other jams or dips or spreads? Glad to have this timely info:-)
Same for charcuterie - once you have two mustards alongside the chorizo, pate, dry salami and prosciutto, what else do you serve with it?
Thanks so much for - well, everything. I have been cooking your recipes for years and I am so grateful for your fun, educational, tongue-in-cheek videos. Keep them coming chef!

Michele Cryan said...

I'm right here!!!

~Ona~ said...

Wow :)

Brian Algee said...

Very good recipie. Thank you so much for sharing with us. It's a great holiday cheese board. Keep it up.
Brian Algee

jaggededge said...

I put out crackers and dip with veggies. These items are just too expensive. :(