I'm sharing all my secrets for how to create an epic cheese board for £20. We're gonna shop smart, raid the fridge and pantry, and make it super awesome. We've got meat, cheese, crackers, and lots of extras. It's a feast all its own.
Cheese is one of my main food groups, and even if we're not entertaining, we'll often make up a cheese board for just the two of us. A truly epic cheese board is perfect for entertaining, especially if you don't feel confident in the kitchen. It's all about shopping smart, arranging beautifully, and filling all the space.
A cheese board can get expensive, though. I'm going to teach you my tips for putting this all together on the cheap. I spent about £20 to buy everything I needed for these photos, and it created a cheese board that could very easily serve four hungry people.
Pro tip - To make your board look truly abundant, opt for a board or surface that's slightly on the small side. Especially if you're trying to save money by having a smaller selection, crowding the board will give the impression of a plentiful feast.
Choosing your cheese
For a party, I like to have at least three cheeses. I always go for something creamy like a brie or camembert, a blue cheese, and something more traditional like a nice sharp cheddar. My grocery store makes it really easy by selling a cheese selection of five small cheese that also includes a fruity cheese and a regional cheese. They're smaller blocks as well, so you can try a few different things.
You could also include a smoked cheese or cheese made from different types of milk. Once the cheese is out of the package, most people won't be able to tell if it's a fancy brand or not, so don't feel like you have to buy the most expensive thing. Get the smallest portion available. Just decide how much you want to spend, have a look around, and follow your instincts toward deliciousness.
Unwrap each portion of cheese you want to offer and arrange it on your board so you can build around it.
Pro tip - If I'm entertaining, I like to slice at least some of each cheese ahead of time. This makes it much easier for each person to take at least a little bit of what they want without having to awkwardly try to slice a piece and touch things they're not going to eat.
A bit of charcuterie
What's better than some spicy cured meats? Again, my grocery store sells pre-packaged selections, so check for that. It will give you some variety and save you money. You could choose a couple of good salamies or go for a delish summer sausage that you slice and arrange. Even some pepperoni would be awesome. Check and see if you have any sandwich meat or pizza toppings you could pass off as charcuterie to save some money and use up leftovers.
To serve it, just fan it out around the board in the big empty spaces. If you have prosciutto, you can arrange each slice into a pretty little bunch. I think it looks nicer that way than laid flat.
Crackers are critical
You have to have a vehicle for your cheese, and for my money, a good selection of crackers is the way to go. Again, I bought a multipack which just makes things so easy. You could just use a classic plain cracker, but I like something with a bit of texture and more some herbs or other fun flavorings for an epic cheese board.
Just keep filling in the empty spaces with stacks of different kinds of crackers. And if you're the "chef," you get to eat all the broken crackers while you're constructing.
If crackers aren't your favorite, you could go with some fancy toast, oatcakes, or even some torn or sliced bread. If you feel bad about not cooking anything yourself, you could make your own crackers. Here's a few recipes for you.
A little something sweet
To me, what takes it from just cheese and crackers to a truly epic cheese board is toppings. I like to add in some honey to go with the blue cheese. Use whatever is in your pantry, but if you happen to have a honey made from herb flowers, that's extra awesome. I used eucalyptus honey this time.
I also like to have some cranberry jam or another type of jam to go with the brie. A good spicy chutney is always deliciuos as well. Some apple butter would be great with a sharp cheddar.
Again, raid your fridge and pantry. Do you have jars of stuff leftover from other recipes? Now's the time to use it up. Spoon it into little condiment bowls, and don't forget to put a spoon in them to make it easy for your guests.
Fill it out with fruit and veg
Hopefully, your epic cheese board is groaning by now, but you can fill out the rest of the space with some fruit and veg. I love grapes on a cheese board. In fact, it's pretty much the only time I eat grapes. I know olives are also popular. I found some roasted red peppers in my fridge, so I used them as well. If you happen to have any fancy nuts in the cupboard, add a dish of those in, too.
Just fill up any extra spaces and let the bowls and dishes spill off onto the table to give the appearance of an absolutely sumptuous feast. It will be completely irresistible.
An epic cheese board is a party
Now that we're finally able to gather together again, I hope everyone will be doing a little more at-home entertaining. All you really need for a party is a few bottles of wine and an epic cheese board. You don't need to spend a ton of money to make it. You could even ask each guest to contribute something if you like.
If you budget £5 each for cheese, charcuterie, and crackers, then raid your fridge and pantry for lots of accompaniments, you'll have £5 leftover to buy some awesome accompaniments. It's totally doable to host an amazing party without any cooking.
Feast with friends, kids. It's gonna be awesome!
Looking for more awesome party food? Bake up some Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels or bust out the Whipped Ricotta.
What are your best tips for an awesome cheese board? Leave a comment and let me know.
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