How to make an Italian cheese board: 7 steps to a perfect Italian cheese board. Learn how to make a Christmas cheese board with Italian specialties.

wooden cheese board with Italian cheeses, olives, pistachios, grapes, and Italian bread
a slice of cheese, grapes and pistachios on a white and golden fine china plate

There are seven fundamental steps to make an Italian cheese board. From choosing three (or more) different kinds of cheese to the accompaniments, from the fruits, to the bread.

 

how to make an Italian cheese board

To make a perfect Italian cheese board you should follow these 7 rules/indications:

 

  1. You need at least, and in order of how you should taste them, a fresh (ricotta, burrata, goat cheese, etc), a soft (mozzarella, brie, etc) and a hard cheese (asiago, pecorino, parmigiano, etc), and you can add a flavored (smoked, spicy, etc) and a blue cheese (roquefort, gorgonzola, etc).
  2. You should add a sweet accompaniment: fruit or other jams, chutneys, mostarda or honey.
  3. And a savory one: olives, preserved vegetables, or cold meats (salami, prosciutto crudo, prosciutto cotto, etc).
  4. You should place on it seasonal fruits, fresh or dried (figs, apples, pears, walnuts, dates, etc). Avoid tropical (but a big yes to dried mangoes) or citrus fruits.
  5. Include something crunchy: nuts, fundamentally (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios…)
  6. Don’t forget the vehicle: crusted Italian bread, toasted.
  7. Finally, once you’ve selected cheeses, ask your local winery for the best white or rosé wine to match your cheese board.

a seasonal Italian magazine and slow travel journal

The Gourmet Mag is an independent magazine about Italy. It aims to narrate Italy, the authentic one, describing it through its cuisine, places, lifestyle, and culture.

Each issue relates to an Italian city or region, to capture its essence and immense socio-cultural heritage.

a Christmas cheese board

One of Italy’s New Year’s Eve tradition is to have grapes at the stroke of midnight.

In the Italian New Year’s table, grapes symbolize prosperity, because, if you have grapes at this time of the year, it means your harvest has been rich and abundant.

A saying accompanies them: “Chi mangia l’uva a Capodanno conta quattrini tutto l’anno” = the one that eats grapes on New Years Day will count money all year long.

It is not clear if one is enough or if you should eat at least 12 grapes (one for each month of the new year), at each clock gong, as our Spanish cousins do. I guess depending on vicinity and ancient Spanish dominations, each place has its own interpretation.

soft cheese and pistachios on a wooden cheese board
cheeses, grapes, olives, and pistachios on a wood cheese board

an Italian Christmas cheeseboard

For all of the above said, the starting point of my Christmas cheese board was grapes.

  • Then I added cheeses: it’s winter, so I skipped the fresh cheese and went for a soft one (tomino, a brie-like Piedmont cheese), a hard one (36 months aged parmesan) and a flavored one (truffle hard cheese).
  • On the sweet side, I added my homemade, Sicilian style lemon jam (another recipe from the Yellow Issue) and a persimmon jam.
  • On the savory side, I added taggiasche olives (my favorites).
  • For the crunch, I opted for delicious pistachios.
  • Finally, a traditional crusty Italian bread was the perfect vehicle to create explosive bites of Italian goodness.

If you are mouthwatering and ready to go for some groceries… don’t forget a good bottle of Prosecco!

 

Enjoy your Italian cheese board!

Claudia

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