How to Make a Festive Cheese Board

So you’ve decked the halls, trimmed the trees and strung up all of your Christmas lights, but did you forget about the food? Don’t miss an opportunity to “up” the festive factor this year by bringing some of that holiday cheer to your cheese board.

A few simple tricks (like busting out the cookie cutters and picking the proper produce) will make your cheese platter the prettiest, and tastiest thing on the grazing table this year!

holiday cheese boards

General Rules of Cheese Board Planning

We won’t say it’s the worst thing you could do to your wallet this time of year (because let’s be honest, holiday gift shopping does some serious damage), but venturing into the grocery store without a plan for your cheese board is dangerous stuff.

To ensure that you don’t get carried away when picking through potential pairings, try to set general rules outlining the flavors, textures, shapes and colors you want on your Christmas cheese board. Here are some guidelines to get you started:

 

Holiday Touches for Your Cheese Board

Small festive touches can make all the difference between an everyday platter and an impressive, Instagram-worthy spread. However, like too much tinsel on a Christmas tree, it’s easy to go from “gorgeous” to “gaudy” when you over-decorate your cheese board. Here are some tips to strike the perfect balance.

holiday cheese board with a reindeer and snowflakes cut out of cheese

 

Putting It All Together

Follow this walk-through to a T if you want your cheese board to look exactly like ours or use it as a rough template to customize it how you want as you go.

INGREDIENTS

Soft cheeses

Semi-hard cheeses

For the mini cheese balls:

Meats

Fresh fruits

Breads

Spreads

 

PREPARATION

To begin, gather your olive wood boards. (We used one 19.5” board and one 12” board.)

Prepare the Cheeses

Place the brie wheel in the freezer. Meanwhile, stack half of the cheddar cheese slices and cut into even quarters to form small rectangles. Set aside. Use seasonal cookie cutters (like these snowflake cookie cutters) to cut shapes from the remaining slices of cheddar. Place any scraps in the bowl of a food processor.

Add the softened cream cheese, lemon juice, garlic powder and hot sauce to the food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of chives and pulse to combine. Add salt and pepper and adjust the seasonings to taste. Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator until firmed up slightly, about 15 minutes.

Slice the semi-hard cheese into triangles and then cut off the bottom halves, creating two shapes: trapezoids with the rind attached and small, thin triangles. Set aside with the cheddar.

Remove the brie from the freezer. Press a cookie cutter slightly into the center of the top of the brie and use a butter knife to gently remove the portion of brie inside of the cookie cutter to create a cut-out snowflake.

Fill the Large Board

a brie wheel with a snowflake of jelly on top

Place the brie on the larger cheese board, toward the center.

Place half of the mixed nuts in a small bowl and place at the bottom of the large board. Finely chop the remaining nuts.

Using gloves or wet hands, form the refrigerated cream cheese mixture into small balls. Roll a third of them in the chopped nuts until covered. Roll another third of the cheese balls in the chopped cranberries. Roll the last third of the cheese balls in a mixture of the chopped parsley and the remaining chives. Set aside.

Position the white cheddar rectangles on the large board in an overlapping, S-shaped pattern surrounding the brie and the bowl of nuts. Top with another S-shaped, overlapping pattern of the semi-hard cheese trapezoids.

Fold the prosciutto slices in half, longways, and then roll up to create flower-like shapes. Fill the open area to the left of the bowl of nuts with the prosciutto, reserving some prosciutto for the top. Fill the area to the right of the bowl of nuts with the grapes. Use the mini cheese balls to fill any large gaps on the bottom half of the large board.

Pour the honey into a small bowl and place at the top of the board, just above the sliced cheeses. Fill the space on the left with cherries. Place the remaining prosciutto directly to the right of the cherries. Fill in any remaining open spaces with additional cheese balls. The large board should now be full and awaiting final touches.

Fill the Small Board

a reindeer and tree shaped piece of cheese on top of meats and breads for a cheese board

Place the mini toasts in an overlapping, slightly arched line that travels down the center of the small board. Do the same with the sausage slices to the left of the mini toasts. Fill the area to the left of the sausage slices with the fruit and nut crackers.

Place the remaining cheese balls in a line above the mini toasts. Then, stack and slightly fan out the small semi-hard triangles in a line above the cheese balls, at the top of the small board.

The Finishing Touches

our full holiday charcuterie spread

Use any additional cheese cut outs or triangles to decorate around the nut bowl. Decorate with the white cheddar cutouts.

Spoon a small amount of jam into the cut-out snowflake in the brie. Use a butter knife or toothpick to gently guide the jam towards the edges, making sure to fill in all of the details. Add more jam as necessary, a bit at a time, making careful not to overfill.

Serve at room temperature and enjoy!

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