The Handbook
The Handbook

Long gone are the days of lunchables and soggy cheese sandwiches. Enter the cheese board, the dish that was once only brought out over the Christmas season or special occasions, has since transformed into a foodie phenomenon. 

Whether you’re celebrating a lockdown birthday or you just fancy a way to posh up your weekend date night, crafting the perfect cheese board takes time, effort and imagination. Treat yourself and go all out on the condiments, cheeses and extras and really woo over your followers as you post the perfect grid photo on the ‘gram. 

Of course taking a photo for the gram isn’t the only reason to whip up a cheese board midweek, they can be really simple too and require little to no cooking or heating up, depending on whether you want an oozing camembert to go alongside your selection. Step up your lockdown date night and read on to find out our five top tips on creating the perfect cheese board selection…

Arm yourself with the right equipment 

As with any Instagram or TikTok trend, the humble cheese board is all in the added details. It’s no longer as simple as whacking out a few hunks of cheddar, a half-empty jar of chutney leftover from Christmas and a box of underwhelming stale crackers. You’re going to want to go all out on the finer details, starting with the right platter or board. 

Whether you go for a wooden, slate or marble style board is totally up to you and your preferences. For a more rustic, farmhouse style, we’d recommend opting for a big wooden chopping board – we love this olive wood board from John Lewis thanks to its defined lines and natural colour. While this heart one from Marks and Spencer is totally adorable and is perfect for a date night or anniversary celebration. 

For a more stylish and chic finish, try a marble or slate platter. We’re lusting over this pink marble design from Amara, which would look perfect as a table centrepiece for a dinner party post-lockdown. You’ll also want to bring out the cheese knives you’ve got knocking in the back of your kitchen cupboard – we love this fun set Ava Blossom set from Doing Goods.

Source only the finest cheeses 

Don’t just hit up your local supermarket for the cheapest and easiest buys. Do your research and source the best cheeses in your local area. 

Try your local deli and scour their local selections, from the strongest stilton around to the creamiest camembert. Delis are also great for condiments, chutneys and cracker selections too, and many are offering delivery right now too. It’s a great way to support local and help the businesses going during this difficult time. Find our favourite London delis here. 

If you’re looking for online alternatives, The Cheese Geek has great cheese box and charcuterie options. We love the classic Lionel, with a selection of the best British cheeses on offer. Of course Fortnum & Mason is also a great shout, with a healthy choice and option for real cheese lovers. 

For plant-based cheeses, we love I Am Nut Ok. The NeroMinded truffle is utterly moreish and you won’t even be able to tell the difference. Looking for other options? Check out our guide to the best vegan cheeses on the market.

Fortnum & MasonTriple Cream Cheese

Price: £11.95

The Cheese Geek The Lionel

Price: £35

Don’t skimp on the condiments and crackers 

Aside from the cheese, the condiments and crackers help to make a cheese board what it truly is. Assemble your board with a mixture of your favourites. If you love an antipasti style board, add on sundried tomatoes, olives and artichokes. Or, go traditional with an array of cheeses, crackers and chutneys.  

Go hearty with Fortnum & Mason’s selection of crackers, from these delicious Charcoal & Cumin crackers that have a lovely subtle smokiness to them, to these mouthwatering Welsh Rarebit Cheese Straws. Be warned though, because once you’ve opened these, you won’t be able to stop at just one.

Again, delis are great here for some local produce so make sure you check out your local one too.

Take inspiration from the cheese board influencers (yep, this is a real job!)

The influencing world has created a whole host of career opportunities that weren’t around less than a decade ago, and in this instance, cheese board influencing is one of them. As bizarre as it sounds – I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t want to be a cheese board influencer? – one scroll through the cheese board hashtags and a whole host of possibility opens up.

As well as her main platform, Marissa has also crafted the @CheeseByNumbers page, a platform that guides you step-by-step through the cheese plating process with extra illustrated guides for ideas and brainstorming methods. Plus she hosts workshops too – she’s really cracked this cheese-scaping business. 

For more gouda artistry, check out @CheeseBoardQueen. The Chicago based creator, Emily has curated a page dedicated to the humble cheese board, reinventing it into a colourful space to get artistic and creative. Expect bright designs, how-to guides and holiday themed editions too. Her Christmas content was just breathtaking. 

If you’re crafting your own and don’t know where to start with placing, constructing and embellishing, let the experts lead you through the whole process. Marissa Mullen of @ThatCheesePlate boasts almost 300k followers on Instagram alone and provides a wealth of inspiration, from colourful boards to themed cheeses. Marissa has even created her own take on the popular hashtag, #CharcuterieChalet – scroll through here for even more inspo.

If you can’t make it, fake it 

If you’ve read this and scrolled through the cheese board hashtags all over Instagram in awe but know you wouldn’t ever be able to create such a beautiful version at home yourself, fear not because there are companies out there that can help you.

Enter GRAPE & Fig, the UK’s first and finest grazing company founded by Toria Smith. The idea came about after she’d seen the trend blowing up in Australia and she wanted to create her own grazing style design at her wedding. After much success and social spotlight, GRAPE & Fig was born and is now run by Toria and her sister, Catherine. 

From bespoke events to corporate and brand designs, the sisters together create edible art through fresh, locally sourced ‘grazing products’. They also offer individual products too for smaller events or just to enjoy for yourself at home. Choose from cheese platters to sharing plates, and don’t forget to snap up a photo for the ‘gram to show off your beautiful art.

BERRY and Brie are another great London business who offer their grazing services to you at home. You can pick and choose what you want your box to be bursting with, from cheeses to fruits, antipasti to charcuterie. 

Available for nationwide delivery, the family owned business also offers their services at corporate events, weddings and celebrations. It could be the perfect addition to your intimate summer wedding. 

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