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A cheeseboard is the perfect thing to help kick-off a party.

As a diversified work of art, it’s not only a collection of tasty nibbles for wine pairings, but also serves as a wonderful icebreaker!

My dream cheeseboard components:


At least 3 please, but honestly, the more the merrier! A variety of hard, semi-hard, and soft, as well as a combination of cow’s milk and goat’s milk cheeses, will offer something for every palate. In addition to varying the textures, I also consider color. Buttery yellows, creamy whites, warm oranges . . .all just so beautiful. Admittedly, cheese selection is where I can quickly lose my focus, because I want it ALL!


At least 2 varieties of crackers are a must. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding a tried and true flaky, buttery cracker, think outside the box! There are so many wonderful kinds to choose from: simple water crackers, the button down Oxford shirt of the cracker world, nubby multi-grain flatbreads, even locally crafted herbed artisanal crackers make a great conversation starting addition. Don’t be shy. Mix it up!

Cured Meats

Prosciutto, pepperoni, summer sausage and, if I really love the people I’m sharing my cheeseboard with, thin slices of Hungarian Pick salami. Flippin’ delicious!


I always include big, beautiful, clusters of seedless grapes. In addition to adding color, mass and structure to the foundation, they’re a great sweet finger food for nibbling. Pears and apples, either left whole or sliced, are another great addition, just be sure to dip slices into acidulated water to retard browning. When available, I can’t resist the gorgeous color of halved fresh figs, and bursts of color from a scattering of ripe berries.


I love adding nuts. They add texture and small scale to the board, and make a wonderful salty, crunchy addition. Out of the jar is fine, but fresh out of the oven is sublime! Try this savory version of Rosemary Roasted Pecans from our Holiday 2014 issue of Nora Murphy Country House, https://noramurphycountryhouse.com/magazine/holiday-2014/country-house-kitchen/roasted-pecan/#.VoSFhlIzTtB

Spreads and Olives

Other nice, additional touches would be the addition of an herb spread, or some assorted olives.

Last, but not least, create a little holiday hub, by setting up your wine bar close to your cheeseboard!

Cheers and Happy New Year dear friends!

Love, Nora

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