How to make an Italian cheese board: 7 steps to a perfect Italian cheese board.

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 – in the 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.). 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 the board 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 vehiclecrusted Italian bread, toasted.
  7. Finally, once you’ve selected the cheeses, ask your local winery for the best white or rosé wine to match your cheese board.

MATERA

The city of Sassi.

VENICE

The city of Opulence.

FLORENCE

The city of Renaissance.

a Christmas cheese board

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

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

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

It is not clear if eating one grape is enough or if you should eat at least twelve (one for each month of the new year) at each clock gong, as our Spanish cousins do. I guess depending on the 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, 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