Celebrate National Cheese Day By Learning How To Make The Perfect Cheese Board

You know what’s awesome? Cheese. All kinds of cheese. The more cheese, the better. According to vegans, cheese is the HARDEST food to give up because it’s completely addictive. It’s so good that it’s routinely stolen (remember the French cheese heist?), and faked — prompting new parmesan-detecting tech innovations.

Unfortunately, those of us who grew up with processed cheese have a pretty sharp (heh) learning curve before we can appreciate this most glorious of food groups the fancy way. Like, for instance, spread across a cheese board. If your idea of “good” cheese is Sargento instead of Kraft, it’s hard to know where to begin.

To help you along, we spoke to two experts: Brent, The Cheese Guy, an artisan cheese maker, and Sonya Coté, an Austin chef who heads up Coté Catering. Here’s what they taught us:

Sonya Coté, Coté Catering

Are all of the cheeses on your cheese board made in Texas?

Not all of them, but all of the components I used to accompany them are. I do tend to get Texas cheeses, but I am a sucker for trying other domestic cheeses. I do stick to domestic because I think they go better with our local jams and pickles.

What kind of cheeses should you put on a cheese board in preparation for a party?

I usually call it “man cheese.” I go for cheddar, something really sharp. And in Texas we have Redneck Cheddar from Veldhuizen Cheese Shop and a ten-year aged cheddar as well. Older cheddars are good like that. In Texas, we get a lot of goat cheese and we have a lot of goat farmers, so we do a lot of goat cheeses. I would do a mild goat cheese for someone who doesn’t have a developed palette.

Your specialty is cheese pairings, right? What is your favorite cheese pairing?

I always go for a blue cheese/honey combo with a nut or a pecan.

How is a ‘Texas cheese board different from a regular cheese board?

I do smoke chili flavor, smoke chili flake and add that to a honey. What’s growing now is pickled carrots and fresh shaved radishes. I like doing a lot of fresh and preserved and pickled things to go along with the cheeses. You could do a fresh strawberry and a strawberry jam to accent the berry.