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How to Assemble a Picture-Perfect Cheeseboard Like a Pro

Even if you’re a klutz in the kitchen, here’s a sure way to bring on the oohs and ahhhs from your house guests.
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For someone who’s as useful in the kitchen as a clock pendulum that doesn’t swing, having guests over is incredibly stressful. When it comes to culinary pursuits, the odds are just not ever in some of our favour. I completely empathise. I am that protagonist in comedies whose contents in a blender blows up in her face. True story. Not being able to cook is a pretty big hurdle to cross when you’re striving to be a hostest with the mostest.

The obvious way out would be take out from a restaurant but dang, those can burn a pretty big hole in your pocket. Also, where’s the sincerity in that? Now, even if you can’t dish out a multiple course meal, you can still impress your guests by at least whetting their appetites with a homemade lil sumthin’ sumthin’.

Here’s just the thing: cheeseboards. They never cease to impress a table. And all it really reqiures is food assembly, almost like putting together a flatlay – fairly child’s play once you have your ingredients on hand. Mininum effort, maximum effect, that’s how we approach our culinary endeavours and the cheese platter hits the nail on the head. Ready to bring on the oohs and the ahhs at a dinner party? Here, we employ the know-how from cheese and alcohol connoisseurs at Kiki’s Reserve to dive into exactly what you’d need to put together a cheese platter like the pros. Also, don’t you think these would be great to put together on a summer’s afternoon picnic? We can already sniff the photo opportunity from afar.

INGREDIENTS

2-3 soft artisanal cheese (cammembert, brie, mobier)
1-2 hard/semi hard artisanal cheese (cheddar, colby, gouda)
prosciutto
salami
hams
crackers
breadsticks
honeycomb
dried fruits
nuts
olives
pickles
fresh fruits (bright coloured fruits such as figs, strawberries, raspberries are preferable)
garnishes (dehydrated fruit, edible flowers, rosemary, gold flakes)
quince paste (fig jelly)
sauces and dips (beetroot hummus, pesto dip, avocado dip)

THE ASSEMBLY

1. Arrange the dishes/bowls with dips and cheeses first. You want to spread them out and generally fill up the board leaving gaps in between.
2. If you have a large flat cheese, you can consider cutting it into long triangles or cubes. If you have a round cheese, feel free to cut a wedge/slice out, just like a cake, to create a pretty visual.
3. Place the meats next to the cheese and look out for contrasting colours and textures. Feel free to fold the meats and fan out the rest flat on the board. For salami, we would suggest folding them into roses, half and half, standing up on its pointed edge. As for prosciutto, I would suggest rolling it up into a loose “rose” or folding them neatly. You can also consider creating a “meat river” running down directly through the board in a ‘S’ formation.
4. Start placing your crackers neatly. Put them at the side or edges of the board so that it does not take the attention away from the meats and cheese. Place them near the meats but away from the cheese  for a contrast in colours.
5. Place the breadsticks on the length of the board to create depth.
6. Add on loose pieces such as the nuts, olives, dried fruits, fresh fruits to fill up the gaps on the board.
7. Add garnishes on the cheese and meat. You would want to put contrasting colours on each other. For instance, add a rosemary sprig on a white cheese such as camembert. On beige crackers, place raspberries and a dehydrated orange wheel on the meats and jams/jelly/quince paste on cheeses.

THE PRO-TIPS

1. Choose your fav cheeses, meats, this is your board, it is really up to you!
2. Dipping bowls are a great addition to the board, as they create fun elements as well as visual interest to the board.
3. Sweets such as honeycomb, fruits, jams, pastes or even candied nuts are a must as they cut through the savoury notes of the cheese and meats.
4. Most importantly, have fun and get creative!
5. Alcohol pairing with the charcuterie board is perfect. Wines are great but cocktails actually pair even better with the board. As most cocktails are sweet, sour and refreshing, they tend to be able to balance the savoury notes from the cheese and meats better.

Recommended Kiki’s Cocktails to pair: Yuzu Osmanthus, Cucumber Raspberry Sake and White Sangria.

What To Read Next: This Shoestring Fries and Curry Ketchup Recipe Will Curb Your MacDonald’s CravingTwo Broth-Based Comfort Soup Recipes to Try Whether You’re A Culinary Pro or Not and A Fuss-Free Grilled Steak Recipe to Impress Daddy Dearest on Father’s Day Cover Image: Kiki’s Reserve.

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