How to make the perfect cheese board for New Year’s Eve parties

What better time to build a show-stopping cheese board than your upcoming NYE party? For Tenaya Darlington, having a curated board to pair with your bubbly is far more interesting than chips and dip — plus it gets conversations flowing.

“(A cheese board) invites grazing, questions, observations, and return visits,” Darlington, a Philly cheese expert who goes by Madame Fromage, said. “The most interesting people are always gathered around the cheese board, so it’s the best place in the room to meet someone new.”

Co-author of the book Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes, and Pairings, and in 2023 she’s releasing her second book, Madame Fromage’s Adventures in Cheese. Darlington knows a thing or two about what makes a good cheese board, so we tapped her for five tips on how to create your own at home.

» READ MORE: How to be the perfect host for your New Year’s Eve party

“Break out your loveliest platter or board, set out your hunks at least an hour before you plan to serve them, and leave them whole. Good cheeses should be the star of your show — the conversation starters of the evening. Label your cheeses so guests can discuss them. Lay out plenty of knives to encourage sparring. And don’t be afraid to tuck pine boughs or rosemary sprigs around the whole show.”

“This is high cheese season, and all the really good rare stuff is in stock. Go to Di Bruno Bros. or Downtown Cheese shop in Reading Terminal and ask what’s seasonal and what’s special. Many local cheesemakers will have special treats, too, and you can end the year by supporting the local food economy.”

“Prepare a dream feast with plenty of sensual soft cheeses, along with some aged cheeses loaded with tyrosine crystals (the white crunchy bites on the interior of aged cheese) — plus, sparkling wines pair beautifully with decadent cheeses.”

“This is a good night to have a fling with a wild blue, like Rogue River Blue. And I am never without a wedge…


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