There are few things at a gathering that I love more than a good holiday cheeseboard. While I normally keep things pretty simple during the year, the holidays call for a gorgeous and festive spread of bites that elevate any cheeseboard to the center of attention. A few fall and winter favorites, some cheeseboard classics, and a festively decorated baked brie will have everyone gathered around for a great night.
Sure, this cheese board looks fancy, but by taking a few simple shortcuts and rummaging through your own pantry, you’ll be able to whip this up in no time, and no one will realize how easy it was for you to do!
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What do you put on a holiday cheese board?
While it may sound counterintuitive, when it comes to crafting the perfect holiday cheese board, I like to go simple. Include an abundance of ingredients and your cheese board will look like a mess (or, as Ina Garten says, a dog’s breakfast). Instead, select no more than of the ingredients listed below. We like to ensure there are at least a few of the following:
- 1-2 cheeses (cheddar, goat cheese, parmesan slivers, swiss, or any blue cheese like gorgonzola)
- Fresh and dried fruit (I love grapes, apples, pears, dried apricots, persimmons, and pomegranate seeds)
- Toasted nuts (pistachios, marcona almonds, walnuts, pecans, or cashews)
- Honey for drizzling
- Crackers or sliced baguette
- Chocolate squares
- Dried meats (prosciutto, mozzarella, salami,
To Make a Holiday Cheese Board a Meal
The good news is that when you start with a substantial cheese board, you can keep the rest of the meal simple. Want to keep the board theme consistent? Follow up with a Pita and Kebab Board for dinner, and our Cookie and Candy Board for dessert! Here are a few other options to complete the meal:
- Whole Roasted Gochujang Cauliflower with Smashed Roasted Butter Beans
- One Pot Garlicky Mushroom Pasta with Sausage & Arugula
- Spicy Pesto Pasta Alla Vodka
- Roasted Chicken & Vegetable Confit
- Sweet & Spicy Braised Short Ribs
How do you decorate a holiday cheese board?
In the spirit of less is more, I like keeping the focus on the food itself. You can bring color to the board through a variety of edible extras. Pickles, cranberries, and rosemary for garnish bring accents of jewel tones to the forefront. I also love creating height and varied depth by using vessels, jars, and small, low plates. If you’re going for both flavor and aesthetics, this spin on the classic charcuterie board is the perfect appetizer.
Are you making this cheese board for your holiday gatherings? Let us know in the comments or tag us in your post on Instagram!
This post was originally published on November 26, 2019, and has since been updated.
- Baked Brie
- Red Grapes
- Toasted Nuts
- Citrus, dried slices or clementines
- Green Olives
- Jam or Chutney
- Dried Fruit
- Assorted Cheese
- Assortment of crackers and/or a sliced baguette
- Herbs for garnish
- First things first, check your pantry and fridge. You probably already have some of the components of this board hanging out! (hello leftover pecans from making pecan pie at Thanksgiving!)
- To add extra flavor to nuts like pecans and almonds, toast them in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 5-10 minutes.
- For items like the dried fruit and olives, check out the bulk section and salad bar at your grocery store. It's much easier to buy just the small amount you need for the board than purchasing a whole bag of dried apricots or a giant jar of olives for one board.
- Obviously for any cheeseboard, you need a good selection of cheeses. My tricks here are either checking the leftovers baskets that some stores have for odds and ends of more adventurous cheeses, and then asking for the exact size I need on other varieties so that I get exactly the right amount. I like having a hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano, something with a little tang like a marinated goat cheese, and then something soft, enter: your baked brie!
To assemble the baked brie:
- Take a roll of cold puff pastry and place a wheel of brie cheese in the middle of it.
- Wrap the puff pastry around the brie neatly and place fold side down on a parchment lined sheet tray.
- Bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 30 - 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked all around.
- To keep the board from getting messy when the brie is cut into, place the baked brie on a plate of about the same size so that any oozing cheese stays on the plate and makes for easier clean up.
- Of course feel free to play around with flavors and bites based on your crowd. Cheese boards should be a fun way to get everyone's favorite treats on one tray.
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