French Country Cottage. Powered by Blogger.

21 essentials for a decadent and delicious cheese board

It is Inspired Entertaining week over here... 
so can we talk about decadent and delicious wine country inspired
cheese boards for a second?

cheese board with fresh fruit, cheese and bread

Ahh... the wine country.
If you are just driving through-  or staying for a bit-
 the rolling hills covered in gnarly grapes and pretty blooms
will charm you as will the picturesque wineries and restaurants.
And if you stop for a bite to eat or to taste wine-  you will find a most amazing selection 
of artisan cheeses, olive oils, fruits and nuts to enjoy while there.

I was planning to save this post until next week-
 but so many of you asked for it sooner rather than later
I decided to go ahead and share today.
My previously planned Wednesday post- will be up on Friday.

So today it is all about entertaining.... and about putting together a simple cheese board
that you can serve for an everyday family get together 
or your next party.
The key with a cheese board?
Keep it simple.

And  remember that variety is the spice of life- 
so don't be afraid to add more or less of any of the cheese board elements here and bring in your favorites 
to create your own version.
Note: Some folks like to add meat (aka charcuterie) but we are vegetarians
so keep it to cheese and fruits.
You can always add in what you like.
fresh grapes and parmesan cheese

I started with 3 chunky wood serving platters (from HomeGoods) 
and stacked up up with nibbles and treats.
And the best cheese boards in my opinion
 have cheeses, fruits and nuts with a dash of sweetness.

Here are the elements I used for todays wine country inspired 
decadent cheese board.

1. Cheeses (4 or 5) 

Brie Cheese
Blue Cheese
Parmesan Wedge
Goat Cheese
Dubliner Cheese

cheese board with cheese, chocolate and grapes

A cheese board is about cheeses- so bring in a variety.
I tend to 'over- cheese' because I do like to have several to choose from- 
but a good general suggestion is 3-5 cheeses to nibble on.
My favorites here?
Dubliner Cheese- which is incredible... seriously-
and goat cheese- with or without cranberries works perfectly,
Or if you want to get a wild hair-serve them both.

2. Fresh Fruit (4 or 5)

red grapes and cheese with walnuts on cheese board

Apricots- fresh and dried

I chose red grapes for this styling
and they are favorites- but you can mix and mingle red, green and even champagne grapes
for a fun and delicious style.

Bring in dried apricots, dried cranberries, dates and figs-
and simply stack them up for guests to enjoy.
I also like to include a couple fresh, whole fruits- apricots or plums 
for enjoying and for pretty presentation.

fresh fruit on cheese board

3. Nuts (2 or 3)

Marcona Almonds

I may be a little bit nuts for nuts....
and my absolute favorites are  Marcona Almonds. 
The best variety for wine tasting are simple sea salt sprinkled marcona almonds
which let the flavor come through and doesn't interfere with the flavors of the wine.

I also like to include a handful of fresh walnuts or pecans for snacking.

4. Crackers (3 )

Whole wheat
 Stone ground
Multi seed 
Black pepper

I like to have a board dedicated to crackers and bread slices-
 and the more the merrier as far as cracker choices go.

crackers olive oil bread for cheese board

5. Fresh bread &  olive oil

Fresh seeded bread
olive oil

Okay... seriously. 
When in the wine country- you taste wine, nibble on cheese
and dip fresh bread in fresh olive oil
and it is amazing.
It is also so simple to set up and serve at home.
I will share a few favorite recipes- but think garlic and herbs and a whole lot of goodness.
Olive oil, fresh garlic, rosemary, basil, red pepper, sea salt
 = YUM.

6. Fresh Honey

Another favorite for enjoying on bread or crackers
especially with a bit of brie... fresh honey.

I like to use a local variety - but any kind will do.

honey and bread on cheese board

And it is perfect for those who want just a bit of natural 
sweetness mixed with their cheeses.

7.  Mediterranean Olives 
And on the olive train... a jar of delicious mediterranean olives will do wonders for rounding out
the board.
I chose an olive marinated jar- with a variety of olives and delicious flavors.
Perfect for snacking and enjoying with a cracker- or by themselves.

8. Chocolate and almond bark

Because, every good cheese board deserves a smooth decadent finish.
Pick up a chunky dark chocolate and almond bar
and break into nibble size pieces for the board.

brie cheese and chocolate on cheese board

And a tip? Have extras. 
Those bites of chocolatey goodness are fast favorites.

So there you have over 21 favorite cheeses, fruits, nuts and sweets for 
a simple and delicious cheese board that will keep your guests nibbling
and enjoying at your next get together.

Up next in the inspired entertaining series  - desserts, first plates and 
another cheese board styling that is about
 something a little more on the decadent side-
coming your way next week.

cheeses and breads on a board

Happy Wednesday everyone.


  1. Great suggestions and it all looks so delicious! Have a great day!

  2. Among my French friends, the variety is hard and soft cow's milk cheese (often a Cantal or Comté or--most likely--both for the the hard and Brie or Camembert for the soft), a goat's milk cheese or two (especially little palettes covered with herbs or crushed pepper or dried fruit), and one or two sheep's milk cheeses. They sometime also bring out grapes or clementines (depending on the season). But usually the cheese stands alone, with the best wine of the evening.

    1. Variety is perfection! I love brie and goat cheese and hard cheeses together! And yes indeed to the wine included! :)

  3. what do you use on a board to serve these items?????????? I am always stumped. Do you expect folks to use their fingers on nuts, crackers, dried fruits, chocolate, etc? So glad you are sharing this topic! Please get me in the know!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I provide utensils to serve each item and for each guests- but when I have been to a winery, they usually do put it out without many utensils and folks use their hands.

  5. I'm loving all of these ideas! I've always needed a little help with my cheese boards on wine nights. Thank you for sharing!

  6. This looks delicious, Courtney! You've set a beautiful setting with that wonderful California sunshine! Kathy

  7. I love a cheeseboard and yours looks perfect! Thanks for all the tips, Courtney!

  8. I've been intimidated to do such an affair, but you take the guess work out of it. Thanks for all of your suggestions. If I were one of your guests, I would feel so welcomed and honored. Thanks for sharing!