Every now and then, we all like to host a little get together. Maybe it’s just to see some friends, or it’s an excuse to try out a new board game. It could be to celebrate a birthday or graduation. No matter the reasons you’re getting together, food is the shared experience. From full meals to simply hors d'oeuvres, everyone is drawn toward the food present at any part.
But as any great chef can tell you, there’s more to a meal than just the flavors. Presentation matters. That’s why it’s always a great idea to utilize functional and fashionable accessories like a personalized cheeseboard.
At Left Coast Originals, we’ve taken this timeless piece of serving ware and elevated it with our personalization and custom engraving services. Here’s everything you would ever need to know about cheeseboards!
What is a Cheeseboard?
At first glance, a cheeseboard might look like just a slab of wood with a nice finish on it. While you’re not wrong, there’s far more nuance behind your cheeseboard than that. Indeed, the history of the cheeseboard is a fairly unique one. In medieval times, tableware was simplistic, to say the least. In many cases, rather than using an actual plate or board as we do today, a flat round piece of stale bread was used as a sort of plate called a “trencher.” At the end of the meal, the plate would be consumed with sauce, not unlike feasting on a giant cracker. Over time, the trencher evolved and became a flat plate made from metal or wood.
Today, the trencher lives on in the form of the cheeseboard. You’ll find these pieces of specialty serving ware in restaurants, bars, and of course, homes. Cheeseboards are generally made from a lightweight wood or metal and are finished in a way to protect the wood without affecting the taste of the food on the plate. At Left Coast Originals, we use 100% renewable materials to make our cheeseboards. We use a premium cut of bamboo, then finish it in a homemade, all-organic cutting board butter, which makes it safe to cut on and serve food on.
When Should You Use One?
Really, there’s never a wrong time to use a cheeseboard, but not everyone is so liberal with their cheeses as we are. So if you’re looking for a good reason to use your new, personalized cheeseboard, here are a few ideas:
Board Game Nights
You might just be playing the same game you do every week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t class the night up a little bit with a personalized cheeseboard. In fact, if you’re really dedicated to a particular game, you could get the name engraved on the board!
For themed games with historical settings or that take place in a fancy time period, a custom cheeseboard may add to the ambiance. After all, how many RPG games have you played where it starts in a tavern? A cheeseboard is a natural fit.
When you break out the martini shakes, long-stemmed wine glasses, and the nice beers, it’s time to get the cheeseboard out too. Alcohol and cheese pairings have been a popular pastime at cocktail parties and mixers since the moment someone took a bite of cheese right after a sip of wine who knows how long ago. A cheeseboard adds that refined touch to any already dressy evening.
You can match the cheeses to the wines you’re serving, or take a specialty cocktail from a certain region and pair it with a cheese from the same place.
Setting Up Your Cheeseboard
In some ways, the cheeseboard is your culinary canvas. It’s quite literally, a blank slate, waiting for you to artfully arrange a complement of cheeses upon it. There’s no real defined way to set up your cheeseboard. Simply select an assortment of cheeses and arrange them on the board in a tasteful manner. Leave room for accessories like knives, and additions like bread and fruit slices. But if you’re looking to present your cheeseboard in a masterful manner, you’ll need to dive into the world of the cheese course.
The Art of the Cheese Course
A cheeseboard used for appetizers or as a way to pair with drinks is good and fine, but to truly get the most out of your personalized cheeseboard, you must master the art of the cheese course.
Yes, there is room in everyone’s life and in every meal for a course dedicated entirely to cheese, and it’s not at the beginning of the meal. In fact, it’s after dinner. We’ve all experienced that lull after your main meal and before dessert. As people sip the last of their drinks, the conversation seems to dry up with it. But imagine, the delight in the eyes of your friends and family as they see you ushering in the cheeseboard. Suddenly that pre-dessert tension breaks and the conversation flows as readily as that second drink.
The cheese course is a regular part of most meals in Europe. Each board is ladened with a myriad of cheeses, complementary crackers and breads, and select sauces. Indeed, in some cases, the cheeseboard even stands in for dessert, with the cheeses being served alongside dried fruits, nuts, and other naturally sweet offerings.
When serving the cheese course, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Be daring with your cheese choices. Don’t disgrace your personalized board with something as banal as American cheese, with its plastic-like body and chemical after-taste. No, adorn your board with a bold camembert from France. Its mild aroma is reminiscent of mushrooms, and it spreads easily. Chevre uses goat milk and is a moist cheese with bright, acidic flavors. Emmental is a heightened form of classic Swiss cheese. This cheese has a certain sweetness that’s hard to put your finger on, but easy to enjoy. Not sure what to serve? Stop by your local cheese shop or grocery store and meet with the cheesemonger to get suggestions.
The cheeses should be served at room temperature. This might surprise some of you, as most Americans store their cheese in their fridge. But once you’ve selected your palette of cheeses, you should allow them to warm to room temperature. The colder the cheese, the lesser the taste. To get the full experience of each cheese, it needs to be room temperature.
Your cheese may require slicing. The focus of the cheese course should be the camaraderie and cheerfulness, not the individual trying to hack off a chunk of cheese. Make sure you serve your cheeses with the right tools for the job. You might need a sharp knife to cut through hard cheeses, but usually, a small paring knife is more than enough. That said, there are soft cheeses that will need to be cut and served. In moments like this, something as simple as a butter knife is sufficient.
Serve bread instead of crackers. While everyone loves cheese and crackers, a nice loaf of bread is an excellent complement to any cheese. In many cases, the yeasty flavors of a dense, fresh bread slice pair nicely with the particular funk of cheese. We like cheeses that have bits of fruit or nuts in them to offer some naturally sweet flavors as well.
Add personal choices to your cheeseboard. Your board won’t wither away if you serve something other than cheese on it. In fact, you might consider reserving part of the board for your own additions. We think options like olives, chutneys, butter, jams, and even mustard makes a fine addition to any cheeseboard. A nice mix of acidic and fatty flavors allows your palette to experience a wide variety of tastes and aromas.
How Do You Take Care of a Cheeseboard?
Through dinner parties, get-togethers, mixers, and those tough Monday nights, your cheeseboard has been your constant companion. But now it’s starting to look a little worse for wear. Fear not. Your cheeseboard can return to its former glory with just a little bit of effort on your part.
Of course, it’s important that you never put your cheeseboard in your dishwasher. It will strip away the finish and warp the board, rendering it suitable only for use in your nearest woodstove.
Instead, gently wash your board with hot water and a dash of dish soap. Using a soft sponge, wipe down its surface using delicate circular motions. You can disinfect the surface of your cheeseboard using a 2:1 mixture of water and vinegar. Rinse both sides in the solution, but do not submerge the board. Once it's disinfected, you can rinse the board in water, and begin to deodorize the board. We make a paste with 1 cup of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of water. We let the paste sit for a few minutes, then clear it away with white vinegar. Rinse one final time with water, wipe it down with a clean cloth and leave it to dry.
Getting a Custom Cheeseboard
By now, the customs and culture of the cheeseboard have left you tantalized. Visions of endless arrays of brie, manchego, and asiago cheeses fill your head. When a simple wooden platter simply will not do, the only option is to order a personalized cheeseboard.
Left Coast Original understands. Few things incite such strong passion as a cabal of cheese connoisseurs, so we offer the cheeseboards you’ve been looking for. Using time-tested crafting skills, ethically sourced wood, and organic finishes, our cheeseboards are some of the finest ever made.
Each board can be customized and personalized with features like woodcut images, monograms, and important dates. As you and your guests enjoy your cheese course, the images underneath will slowly reveal themselves, sparking nuanced dialogue about your spectacular sense of style and design.
Themes, Events, and Special Occasions
At Left Coast Originals, we believe that bespoke boards shouldn’t command bespoke prices. We’ve made it easy and affordable to enjoy a high-quality cheeseboard at a great price. That’s because we use renewable materials from FSC Certified forests. This makes our work eco-friendly and friendly to your wallet too.
Our cheeseboards are the ideal gift for any occasion — birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and graduations. When personalized with features like initials or important dates, your recipient will have a lasting way to celebrate a moment or event. More than just the unique engravings and carvings, each board is made from natural cut bamboo. This means that each piece will have an appearance that is totally unique to that particular board. Finally, we finish all of our boards in a way that makes them not just an attractive serving space, but a practical cutting board as well.
Each board is 8”x4” and is ¾” thick. This makes them large enough to serve a number of different cheeses and other foods, but not so large that it commands undue space in the kitchen.
Order Your Personalized Cheeseboard from Left Coast Originals Today
Add something unique to your next dinner party, or get together and order a personalized cheeseboard from Left Coast Originals. Our work can be found in some of the finest wineries, in the meeting rooms of major companies, and in homes across the United States.
Whether it’s a gift for a friend or loved one, or simply something for yourself, we can accommodate most design requests. You can get started by finding a pattern or design that appeals to you and then filling in your custom design requests. Our work is done by hand, but our turnaround times are very reasonable. Of course, we also offer a variety of other personalized gifts and goods for you to enjoy as well. Contact Left Coast Originals today if you have a custom piece in mind!