By Julie Hartigan of Cooking w/Julie

May 22, 2018

Top Tips for Beautiful Spring and Summer Cheeseboards

As the weather turns warmer and the days are longer it’s the perfect time for get-togethers with family and friends on the deck, by the pool, at picnics, outdoor movies…you name it! A gorgeous and bright spring or summer themed cheeseboard is an easy (and always appreciated) addition to any party spread. They’re also a wonderful impromptu, “no-cooking-required” happy hour nosh to quickly throw together when you’re away on vacation. You can even serve your warm-weather cheeseboard as a classy European-style dessert or brunch board. And since they can be prepped ahead you get to relax and enjoy with your friends and family too!

Here are some of my top tips to help you create a beautiful cheeseboard that’s perfect for warm weather entertaining:

♥ Keep things seasonal. Whether it’s spring berries, weekend farmer’s market finds, or quick pickled veggies; stick to summer produce to keep things light.   Easy ideas include blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, fresh figs, asparagus spears, melon wedges, peach slices, quartered radishes, halved cherry tomatoes or colorful mini carrots. Fresh herbs make beautiful garnishes too, or try topping soft cheeses with chopped herbs like tarragon, basil, parsley, or mint for a pretty and flavorful touch.

♥ Add bright condiments. Serve your cheeses with a few delicious little dishes for drizzling. Part of the appeal of cheeseboards is how interactive they are as you create delectable little nibbles for yourself! Some of my favorite warm-weather toppings include honey infused with fresh thyme leaves, sweet-tart cherry or berry jam, or grainy mustard.

♥ Try some grilled elements. Since you may have the grill fired up nearby it can be fun to add that delicious charred flavor to your cheeseboard too. Easy ideas include grilled baguette slices, pita, peach halves, zucchini wedges, or asparagus spears. Just be sure to let them cool before adding them to your platter.

♥ Choose a mix of imported cheeses. As with all cheeseboards, it’s always a great idea to offer a mix of types of cheese with some cow’s milk, some sheep, some goat as well as some soft and spreadable, medium textured, and aged or hard cheeses. I also love to leave some rounds whole, cut others into wedges, and others into cubes for an eye-catching arrangement. Some favorites that pair well with summer produce and bright condiments include wheels of Brie, Triple Crème, or Camembert, all Goat Cheeses, Edam, Gouda, Swiss, Mahon, Muenster, Aged Cheddars, Manchego, Gorgonzola Dolce, Grana Padana or Parmesan. To keep with the warm-weather vibe you can also feature cheeses with herbs and fruits like Havarti with Dill, Herbed Goat Cheese, Stilton with Dried Fruit, Tomme with Elderflower, Sage Derby, and others.

Explore our cheese search for a list of imported cheeses to try on your next cheeseboard. It includes a helpful flavor profile and tasty serving and pairing suggestions for each cheese.

While cheese is best enjoyed at room temperature –it’s always a good idea to serve your cheeseboard in a shaded area so it doesn’t overheat. And if summer pests will be a problem, just top your board with a rounded mesh insect screen (useful for all your outdoor summer dishes!) Enjoy!

Also, check out An International Cheeseboard to Love for even more great cheeseboard ideas.