Essential Guide: What Is a Cheese Board?

On 1 February 2024 - In 

At The Hideaway Store, we believe that cheese boards are the centrepiece of any South African gathering. Whether you're hosting a braai or a sophisticated wine tasting, a well-crafted cheese board brings people together with its irresistible array of flavours and textures.

Our collection of Cheese boards offers the perfect foundation for your cheese display. From rustic wooden platters to elegant slate, we've got the ideal backdrop for your Brie, Gouda, or Boerenkaas.

What is a Cheese Board

When we invite friends and family over for a meal or a relaxed get-together, there are few starters that can match the communal appeal and aesthetic pleasure of cheese boards. Cheese boards are essentially arrangements of select cheeses complemented by a choice of accompaniments, carefully curated and displayed for both visual appeal and taste. Typically served as an appetizer, they can set the tone for a memorable dining experience.

In South Africa, we take pleasure in coming together, and cheese boards serve as a perfect hub around delicious bites and hearty conversations. The variety of textures and flavours, from salty to sweet and from crunchy to creamy, all come together on a single platform. They are versatile too: depending on the occasion, you can opt for anything from a simple domestic gathering to an elegant party platter.

At The Hideaway store, we appreciate that the right base makes all the difference. That is why we provide an extensive selection of boards which form the foundation for your cheese display. Our collection includes wooden cheese boards, which add a rustic charm, as well as sophisticated slate options for a more polished look. Explore our collection of cheese boards at to find that perfect board that’ll enhance your cheese presentation.

Choosing the right board from our collection can transform your platter into a centrepiece. While wooden cheese boards are perennial favourites, we ensure that each board in our range boasts quality craftsmanship and durability, key characteristics that you should look for. Whether you prefer the warm patina of wood or the cool elegance of slate, a board from The Hideaway store can elevate the simplest arrangement of cheeses and accompaniments into an artisanal experience.

What sets a cheese board apart is not just the variety of cheese but also the way it’s presented. It's important to consider the size and material of the board, ensuring that it complements the selections present. For example, the size of the board should be ample enough to allow each cheese and accompaniment to be showcased without crowding, providing an inviting spread for guests to enjoy at their leisure.

Aristata - Large Round Board

Choosing the Right Cheese

Different Types of Cheese

In creating the quintessential cheese board, it's critical we select an array of cheeses that will delight and surprise our guests. The beauty of cheese boards is that there's a rich tapestry of textures and flavours just waiting to be explored. Diversity is key — from creamy, soft cheeses to firm, aged varieties, the right selection will elevate the overall experience.

We find that harmonising a variety of milk types — cow, goat, and sheep's milk cheese — adds a fascinating dynamic to the palate. We suggest including:

  • Soft cheeses: like luscious Burrata, tangy Goat's cheese, and the beloved Brie, which oozes sophistication and melts delightfully in the mouth.
  • Semi-soft cheeses: such as Roquefort or Gorgonzola, bring a delectable creaminess balanced with bold, blue-veined flavours.
  • Semi-Hard cheeses: where the nutty profiles of Manchego or the smooth, subtle taste of Provolone shine.
  • Hard cheeses: which provide a robust texture and depth of flavour — Parmesan and mature Cheddar are excellent choices here.

Pairing Cheese with Accompaniments

Pairing cheeses on our boards is akin to composing a symphony; each element must harmonise with the others. We believe that accompaniments are the unsung heroes that can make or break the cheese board experience.

When selecting pairings, we aim for contrasts in flavours and textures that will complement each cheese's unique character. Here's how we do it at The Hideaway Store:

  • Salty and Sweet: Ours is a land rich in fruits — add figs, grapes, or slices of pear to balance the saltiness of the harder cheeses.
  • Crunchy and Smooth: Nuts offer an earthy crunch that pairs well with the creamy consistency of soft cheeses.
  • Crusty and Soft: Freshly baked bread from local South African bakeries, like a baguette or ciabatta, provides a heavenly base for spreading soft cheeses.

Remember, the right boards can be just as important as the cheese itself. At The Hideaway Store, we've curated a selection of wooden cheese boards that not only showcase our passion for presentation but also highlight the artistry of cheese board assembly. Each board, crafted from quality materials, serves as a canvas for your cheese adventure.

Whether you're organising a casual gathering or a formal soirée, a thoughtfully composed cheese board will set the stage for a memorable event. With the right cheese and the perfect pairings, we're crafting experiences that linger longer on the palate and in the heart.

Aristata - Kirsty Board

Assembling a Cheese Board

Selecting the Board

Choosing the right base for your cheese board is an essential first step and can enhance the overall experience. We believe in the power of presentation, and that's why wooden cheese boards make such a striking impact. When selecting a board from our collection at The Hideaway Store, consider the size of your gathering. Our wooden cheese boards offer a rustic charm and are available in various sizes to cater to different occasions. The durability and natural patterns of wood make each cheese board a unique piece of tabletop art. Whether you're hosting a close-knit friends' night or a large family reunion, we've got a board that’s just perfect for your needs.

Arranging the Cheeses

Once you’ve got your ideal wooden cheese board from The Hideaway Store, it's time to create a delectable spread. Start by taking a selection of cheeses out of the fridge at least an hour before serving, allowing them to reach room temperature, which can enrich their flavours. Begin your arrangement by placing larger cheese blocks or wedges on the board. As South Africans, we have an exquisite variety of local and international cheeses at our fingertips, so mix them up! Consider a well-aged Cheddar, a creamy Camembert, or a tangy Blue Cheese to cater to all taste buds. Slice some cheeses, while leaving others in their whole form for visual variety. Space them out for easy access and to avoid the flavours mingling too much.

Adding Accompaniments

No cheese board is complete without accompaniments. They not only complement the cheeses but also provide colour and texture, turning your cheese boards into an irresistible attraction. 

Fresh, seasonal fruits are a staple. Think sweet grapes, ripe figs, or crisp apples, which are particularly enjoyable when sourced locally from South African growers. Dried fruits, like apricots and cranberries, introduce a chewy contrast and can be especially delightful with our local biltong. Nuts like candied pecans and toasted almonds add crunch and a nutty dimension that goes well with the creamy profiles of the cheese. Savoury spreads add another layer, so consider including a dollop of fig jam or olive tapenade. And, naturally, no cheese board from

The Hideaway Store would be complete without a variety of artisanal breads and crackers nestled amongst the morsels, offering a satisfying crunch with every bite.

When curating accompaniments, contrast is key. Balancing sweet with salty and crunchy with creamy ensures there's a delightful combination for all. This curated approach to your selection truly elevates the simple act of enjoying cheese into a communal gourmet experience.

Large Round Oak Board

Cheese Board Presentation Tips

When we're arranging cheese boards for our socially-distanced gatherings or intimate family dinners, presentation is just as important as the selection of cheeses and accompaniments themselves. Mastering the visual appeal of our boards not only makes the experience more enjoyable but can also be a conversation starter. Here at The Hideaway Store, we understand that a well-presented cheese board is a centrepiece that can elevate any occasion.

Place Large Items First

The key to creating an inviting cheese board is to begin with the larger items. Our beautiful collection of wooden cheese boards provides the perfect canvas for your cheese spread. When we place our larger items first, especially those served in bowls or dishes, such as dips or olives, it guides the arrangement of the rest of the cheese board. Our diverse range of Cheese boards offers the perfect starting point for any gourmet presentation.

Slice Your Cheese to Maximise Texture

Cheese is undoubtedly the star of any cheese board, which is why it's crucial to slice your cheese thoughtfully to reveal its texture and facilitate easy enjoyment. Our selection includes cuts perfect for highlighting the rich textures of cheeses—soft, semi-soft, semi-hard, and hard. To enhance the tactile appeal, we mix and match slices, from the creaminess of brie to the firmness of aged cheddar, ensuring a varied mouthfeel for our guests.

Fill Up the Space

An abundant look is what we're going for, so filling up the space is essential. After the cheeses, we begin to add smaller items, such as an assortment of nuts, fruits, and charcuterie, tucking them into the nooks and crannies of our boards. This technique not only creates a sense of plenty but also adds to the sensory experience, inviting guests to explore different flavours and textures.

Add Your Finishing Touches

Lastly, we add the finishing touches to our cheese board masterpiece. This is where we let our creativity shine, garnishing with fresh herbs, edible flowers, or a drizzle of honey for a hint of sweetness. The final presentation on one of our boards from The Hideaway Store will have your guests reaching for their cameras before they reach for the cheese knife. With our cheese boards, every detail contributes to an unforgettable culinary display.

Baguette Board with Handle - Small

Serving and Enjoying

Temperature and Storage

When we indulge in the experience of savouring cheese boards, the right temperature plays a crucial role in unlocking the full potential of the cheeses' flavours and textures. Cheeses should be served at room temperature, ideally being removed from the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before they're introduced to the board. This allows the cheeses to breathe, enhancing their rich aromas and creaminess. To ensure optimal freshness and prevent any drying, it's advisable to keep them covered, perhaps with beeswax wrap, until just before they're placed among the other components.

Storage is just as key, particularly for those occasions when we prepare our boards ahead of time. The assembled board can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours prior to serving. We simply cover everything tightly with plastic wrap, safeguarding the integrity and flavour of the board's artisanal selections. When it's time, we let it transition gently to room temperature, offering an invitation for the true character of the cheeses to shine.

Cutting and Presentation

The art of a cheese board doesn't just lie in its components but also in the aesthetics of its presentation. Cutting each piece of cheese in an attractive and even manner ensures not only ease of consumption but also visual appeal for our guests. We know a beautifully crafted board when we see one, with every wedge and slice laid out invitingly.

At The Hideaway store, we've noticed that wooden cheese boards serve as the perfect canvas for these culinary creations. The warmth of the wood complements the organic shapes and colours of the cheeses, fruits, and nuts. Logs, wheels, pyramids, wedges, bars, and blocks — each form requires its own technique to cut, and we have the right tools to achieve this. From soft cheese knives to chefs' knives, every incision is deliberate, clean, and suited to the cheese's texture.

For a truly South African savouring experience, we suggest arranging your sliced cheeses with an assortment of local dried fruits, nuts, and homemade spreads on our wooden boards. Not only does this present a feast for the eyes, but it also supports the delectable journey from palate to soul. Those interested in creating their own boards can browse the selection at The Hideaway store, which showcases a range of exquisite wooden cheese boards that provide the ideal foundation for any gastronomic gathering.


We've shared the secrets to creating an enticing cheese board that's not only a feast for the eyes but also a hub for socialising. Remember to let your cheeses come to room temperature for the full flavour experience and don't be afraid to get creative with your pairings. Whether you're a seasoned host or trying your hand at this culinary art for the first time, a well-assembled cheese board can be the centrepiece of any gathering. For those eager to start their cheese board journey, The Hideaway Store's collection of wooden cheese boards awaits to be the canvas for your edible masterpiece. Let's embrace the joy of cheese boards and make every occasion a memorable one.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you arrange crackers on a cheese board?

To display crackers attractively, arrange them around the central items on your board such as cheese wheels or small bowls of dips. Create a fan-like shape for visual appeal, which can be a half circle or complete circle depending on space.

What are the accompaniments for a cheese board?

Accompaniments can include a selection of the following pairings: mango chutney with aged gouda; tomato jam with aged cheddar; fig jam with blue cheese; apple butter with havarti; raspberry preserves with mascarpone; and sour cherry jam with another blue cheese variety.

What is the 3 3 3 3 rule for charcuterie board?

The 3-3-3-3 rule helps to create a balanced charcuterie board, which should consist of three types of meats, cheeses, starches (like bread or crackers), and additional items such as fruits, nuts, or vegetables.

What is the difference between a cheese board and a cheese platter?

A cheese platter features a selection of handcrafted cheeses from around the world, typically prioritising unique flavours and traditional methods. A cheese board is curated with a balance of cheese varieties, considering texture, taste and firmness to create a harmonious ensemble.

How long should cheese sit out for a cheese board?

Cheese should be removed from the refrigerator and allowed to sit at room temperature no more than 2 hours before consumption. In hot conditions (above 90°F), reduce this to 1 hour. To maintain hygiene, provide serving utensils for guests to use.

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