One of the easiest appetizers to prepare is a cheeseboard. I love cheese, in all its glorious forms. For holidays or parties, I love to cover my coffee table with a large wooden cutting board I own and place yummy cheeses on them, surrounded by crackers. I don't like to buy cheeses that are too, too crazy because everyone's tastes are different, but I almost always include the following:
1. Stilton with Cranberries
This creamy cheese is loaded with bursts of tartness thanks to the dried cranberries loaded into the delicious, sharp cheese. The cranberries are a nice holiday flavor addition, though you can also find flavors such as apricot and blueberry. This is one of my favorite cheeses and I love how it crumbles. Leftovers are delicious on a salad!
If you're more adventurous: Try Roquefort, a French sheep's milk cheese that is probably one of the best known blue cheeses. It's strong smell and pungent flavor is distinctive to the blue cheese family, but if you're a blue cheese lover, this is one of the best!
This old French standby is always a crowd pleaser. It's slight pungency and creamy center with the delicious, moldy rind pairs well with a crisp, nutty cracker or a nice toast point. If you've ever been so lucky as to eat real, French Brie, you know there's a huge difference in terms of flavor. Still, I'll take what I can get my hands on.
If you're more adventurous: Try Saint-André, a creamy cow's milk cheese that's basically a more intense version of Brie.
Dubliner is hard cheese that is somewhat akin to a sharp cheddar, thought it has hints of other flavors (Swiss comes to mind). It's so good and for anyone who isn't too adventurous but wants to try something new, this is usually a good bet.
If you're more adventurous: Try Manchego, a Spanish sheep's milk cheese that is firm in texture with a distinctive, somewhat nutty flavor.
4. Herbed Goat Cheese
Herbed goat cheese is super simple to make, but you can also typically buy it already prepared. Goat cheese in general is another cheese that, in my opinion, should always be on a cheese platter. It's lovely, compact flavor is always a delight and I love, love, love the creamy texture. If you can't get your hands on herbed goat cheese, a good substitute is Boursin, which is delicious in its own right (and super yummy on sandwiches!). I can eat a small loaf of bread and a thing of Boursin for dinner. No joke.
If you're more adventurous, try Selles Sur Cher, a member of the goat cheese family with an ashy rind that is firmer than you'd expect, but eventually melts in your mouth.
And of course every good cheeseboard needs the right accoutrement. My two favorite crackers to pair with any good cheese board? Easy!
Stoned Wheat Thins
Carr's Water Crackers
And of course, don't forget the various jams, honey, and nuts that always accompany a good cheeseboard.
Do you like cheeseboards? What are your favorites to include?