Charcuterie boards are one of my favorite things of all time to order at a restaurant or prepare on my own for a gathering. There’s something so fun and exciting about mixing and matching various types of meat, fruits, crackers, veggies, jams, spreads, and — of course — cheese!
Having an array of high-quality cheese on your charcuterie board is the best way to ensure that you and anyone else snacking on it are pleased.
If you don’t have good cheese, enough cheese, or types of cheese that properly pair with the other items on the board, it can throw off the whole experience.
This article will explore some of the best cheeses for a charcuterie board so you can put your best foot forward the next opportunity you have to make one. And, surely, you can have the most enjoyable time eating it too!
If you’re new to creating cheese boards, start with these popular kinds of cheese!
Goat cheese is technically any cheese from a goat, and there are many different kinds of goat cheese, from labneh in the Middle East to feta in Greece.
While all goat cheeses are welcomed on a charcuterie board, the French style of goat cheese, called chèvre, is usually the best option.
Chèvre is undoubtedly my favorite type of cheese because of its creamy texture, slightly tangy flavor, and exceptional versatility. It pairs well with sweet and savory items, making it the perfect cheese for a charcuterie board.
More specifically, I like to pair this goat cheese with some type of cracker or bread, as well as honey and fresh fruit like berries.
The sweetness of the honey and fruit helps to balance out the tanginess of the cheese.
Like goat cheese, brie is another excellent choice for soft cheese for a charcuterie board.
This French cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a soft, creamy texture with a slightly nutty flavor. I eat brie with apples, grape jam, and crusty bread.
Brie also is lovely when rolled up in salty cured meat, such as prosciutto or salami.
But brie pairs well with almost everything, in my opinion, and it’s one of the most well-loved cheeses around.
So if you’re planning on putting some on a board for a party or event, make sure to get a lot; else, everyone will be fighting over the last bits of it!
Cheddar cheese — an English cow cheese — is one of the most popular cheeses in the world, and it’s also a great option for a charcuterie board.
There are various styles of cheddar, but my favorite by far is extra sharp cheddar, a bold yellow color.
Cheddar pairs well with many items, but I especially like it with apple slices, honey, and whole grain crackers.
The sweetness of the apple and honey helps cut through the cheese’s sharpness.
It also goes swimmingly with bolder flavors such as different mustards, salami, pickles, or any combination in which neither item has to fight for attention because they each stand out on their own.
But in all honesty, I can also eat this hard cheese all by itself!
Gouda is a Dutch cheese that’s made from cow’s milk. It has a yellowish color, a firm texture, and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
Gouda is one of my favorite cheeses to put on a charcuterie board because it pairs so well with both fruits and meats.
I usually try to only pair it with one or the other at a time because each type of pairing tastes so different from the other.
For example, gouda and salami together are a heavenly experience. The sweetness of the cheese helps to balance out the saltiness and spiciness of the salami.
But then, if you take that same gouda and pair it with, say, apricots or peaches, you get an entirely different flavor – but just as delicious.
Manchego is a Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk. Manchego goes great on a charcuterie board because of its firm texture and nutty, earthy flavor.
I like to pair manchego with quince paste, a sweet fruit spread from quince fruit. The sweetness of the quince paste helps to balance out the strong flavor of the cheese.
Manchego also pairs well with other types of cured meats, such as chorizo or Spanish ham. And like cheddar, this firm cheese is excellent to slice up and eat alone.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a mix-and-match break to enjoy delectable, aged manchego.
Next up is gruyère, a Swiss cheese made from cow’s milk. Similar to gouda, gruyère has a creamy texture and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
The difference is that gouda has more fruity notes, and gruyère has more nuttiness and saltiness.
Because of its nutty, salty aftertaste, I think it goes so well with other nuts, like pecans or almonds.
Additionally, if you find it a bit too nutty and salty, pairing it with fruits like grapes helps to balance out those flavors.
I love extra saltiness, so naturally, I also love eating gruyère with cured meats, as the meat’s saltiness complements the cheese so well.
Havarti is a Danish cheese that’s similar to gruyère but with a few key distinctions.
Havarti is made from cow’s milk and has a creamy texture, but it’s less nutty than gruyère and has a milder flavor.
Because of its more mellow taste, I think Havarti is the perfect cheese for those who are trying a charcuterie board for the first time.
It pairs well with many different fruits and meats, and it’s not too overwhelming if you’re not used to strong cheeses.
Havarti is also a great choice for an event; different people will have different tastes, so having a “safe cheese” is a smart idea.
I also like Havarti because it’s a good melting cheese, so if you have extra left over after the event, it’s perfect for making grilled cheese sandwiches (a personal favorite of mine).
Burrata is a soft Italian cow’s milk cheese. Its consistency is very soft but different than brie or goat cheese.
It’s creamier and wetter, likely because burrata is a combination of mozzarella and milk.
I don’t always include burrata on my charcuterie board, but when I do, I make sure to have lots of crackers and hard slices of bread to accompany it.
The combination of the soft cheese with the crunch of the crackers is heavenly, and it’s one of the best ways to eat burrata.
I also make sure to have Italian meats on the board, such as prosciutto, capicola, pancetta, and salami.
Another delicious Italian cow cheese is gorgonzola, a punchy blue cheese.
Gorgonzola is perhaps the most controversial cheese on this list because of the intense flavors from its blue veins.
It’s a full-flavored, salty, earthy cheese and is still a bit milder than other blue cheeses you might’ve tried in the past, so I still recommend giving it a try even if you’re not a fan of “stinky” cheese.
You can opt to put it on a cracker or bread to make the taste milder or eat it with figs, jams, or fresh fruit to complement the flavor.
There are several food items that might end up on an impressive charcuterie board. But right next to the meat, cheese is arguably the most important of them all.
Having the right cheeses can make or break your board. Fortunately, you have many options, and as long as you include various fruits, spreads, crackers, and meats that’ll go with them, you’ll be good to go!
Now that you know the best cheese for a charcuterie board, which ones will you pick up for your next event or look out for the next time you dine out at a nice restaurant?