Cheeseboards and charcuterie boards always come into peak popularity in the fall.  This time of year, when people are more likely to stay in time and spend their evenings at gatherings with loved ones, is a great time to share food and stories.

A Touch of Acid Can Help Any Board

Pepper jelly is the star of the show here, so it makes sense to plan out around it. First, going for a more tart flavor, like cranberry pepper jelly, will inform how the other flavors around it need to behave. Second, ensure that you serve it in a container separate from the one it’s purchased from unless you intend to eat the entire jar of jelly in one go. Finally, you can decorate it with a sprig of mint or another fresh herb to brighten the dark and beautiful color of the jelly.

Varied Bread Textures and Flavors

The bread that goes with your cheese should be as varied as the cheese itself.  Offer at least two different types of carbs to ensure there’s a variety of options.  This can be done by offering crackers and soft bread or offering slices of toasted sourdough to go alongside a loaf of french bread.  These varied textures can allow the cheese and jelly to take on different flavor notes and identities and completely change how they taste.

Sharp and Mild Cheeses 

If you went with a sharp jelly flavor, like cranberry, having more mild cheeses like goat cheese or ricotta can be a nice combination.  Although you can still go with a slice of sharp cheese, like sharp cheddar or other strong and hard cheese, the flavors will be competing for dominance. So it’s a good idea to have at least two different types of cheeses on your board to drive home the taste and invite those trying the board to try new combinations and flavors.

A Little Vinegar to Freshen the Palette

A cheeseboard can become incredibly one-note if you don’t take the time to mix things up.  You can surprise and delight by adding something with vinegar flavor to refresh the palette.  Pickled foods like pickles, radishes, pearl onions, or other tasty savory treats can be a great addition.  Ensure they have a separate container and come with a small fork or another utensil that will allow for them to be easily consumed.

Fruit for Sweetness To Complete the Board

Fruit will add another dimension to your cheeseboard.  If you went with fruit-flavored pepper jelly, try to go with a fruit that can complement it.  For cranberry pepper jelly, you can serve cranberries or pomegranate to bring the flavor across.  If you don’t want that much tart flavor on your board, you can instead go for a classic like a sliced apple.  To ensure these slices stay light and pretty, toss a small amount of water mixed with lemon juice or lemon concentrate to stop them from oxidizing.  This will keep your display pretty for longer and ensure no fruit is avoided simply for appearances.