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by Jared Delaney April 12, 2021 6 min read

Best Cheese for Charcuterie and How toMaximize Your Enjoyment

 best cheese for charcuterie

The power of cheese is something to truly behold. Arranged on a charcuterie board, it’s a great way to bring friends and family together.While there are endless possibilities, it helps to know which is the best cheese for charcuterie.


Ideally, setting up a contrasting lineup oftextures and flavors will give you an amazing charcuterie experience. Some are hard while others are soft and creamy. You also have aged, smoked, and other options to indulge in.


When creating a charcuterie board, you should select at least 3 different types of cheeses to display. These can each be paired with cured meats, jams, breads, crackers, olives, nuts, and fruits to round out the board, allowing you and your guests to experiment with the range of complementary and contrasting flavors.


Which is the best cheese for charcuterie? There is no one cheese that is best of all, but there are a number of them that you’ll find to suit your palate and put on your cheese board. This list of the best cheese for charcuterie will help you decide where to start.


- Gouda

Gouda is most often made with cow’s milk. It’s semi-hard texture gives way to an aromatic, almost caramel-like flavor. The texture is dense and springy while hints of nutsintermingle with sweet and creamy notes all at once. Depending on whether it’s aged or not, it can be anywhere from smooth to sharp. Gouda is a cheese that most people find appealing and is a good choiceif you’re trying to please everyone.


- Smoked Gouda

And then, there’s smoked gouda which is surely a best cheese for charcuterie. It emits a nuttier flavor than the non-smoked variety. It consists of almost half butterfat with a creamy, buttery, smooth mouthfeel that blends both sweet and salty notes.Let it sit out at room temperature first before serving and it will provide a divine melting experience. 


gouda cheese


- Cheddar

Cheddar is a can’t-miss best cheese for charcuterie. Most people adore this firm cheese. Made from cow’s milk, you can find it in varieties that range from mild to sharp. Some are a white color while others are bright orange.The cheddars that are orange are colored with a natural dye called annatto. While cheddar originated in a village by the same name in England, you’ll find it made in Canada as well. The ones from Canada

offer a smoother and creamier texture.


Aged cheddar is something to behold as well for a different experience. It becomes drier and crumblier as aging takes hold.You can experiment with your charcuterie board by choosing a young cheddar and one that has aged. For a truly indulgent treat, choose a cheddar that has been aged for 5 years.


- Gruyere

This Swiss style cheese offers a sweet yet salty flavor. Like cheddar, it changes with age. As a young cheese, Gruyere is quite nutty and creamy. As it matures though, it has a more earthy and complex flavor along with a slightly grainier texture.


- Brie

The best cheese for charcuterie that takes into account the soft side of cheeses is likely brie. Certainly, it’s one of the most popular. It’s a soft-ripened cheese with arind of white mold. The rind is completely edible, though some slice it away to simply eat at the cheese. Brie is buttery and fruity with a rich taste unlike anything else. Aged brie will have a more earthy taste.


- Burrata

Burrata is a very special Italian cheese. The exterior is solid curd that is made from fresh mozzarella. Inside though, it features a soft and creamy curd. It’s quite milky, buttery, and refreshing. While it is indulgent, it’s not overly so, making it a lovely soft cheese toenjoy on your charcuterie board.


- Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella

Most cheese enthusiasts would raise an eyebrow over including mozzarella as the best cheese for charcuterie. However, fresh buffalo mozzarella is completely different from themass-produced variety of mozzarella that you’d likely buy to make pizza and pasta dishes at home. Fresh buffalo mozzarella is creamier and softer with a slightly acidic taste. It’s the cheese used in caprese salads, one that pairs as well with cured meats as it does fruits.


- Goat Cheese

For a soft texture that can be spread upon crackers and hunks of French bread, goat cheese is one of the best cheeses for charcuterie. It’s different in flavor with a tart and tangy nuance. It’s a brilliant cheese board choice, for there are many varieties. You can even do a charcuterie board with just goat cheeses since there are plain and herbed

varieties that will add a lovely smear atop your chosen vessel.


- Parmigiano Reggiano

3This hard and dry cheese is made usingpartially or fully skimmed cow’s milk. It has an incredibly rich and sharp flavor. Don’t mistake it for parmesan though. Parmesan isthe most sincerest form of flattery when it comes to Parmigiano Reggiano, butit falls short. Parmigiano Reggiano is the real deal, always made in Italy with flavors that whisk your palate away from the first bite.


- Manchego

Not allof the best cheese for charcuterie comes from Italy or France though. Manchegofrom Spainisaprime example of asimply divine cheese to put on your cheese board. It’s a semi-hard cheese that has a very unique rind in a herringbone pattern. The flavor is unmistakably sweet with hints of nuts and fruit bound together with a piquant zest.


Unlike brie, the rind is not edible, but the interior of the cheese is purely sensational. As it ages, it sharpens in taste and texture. Injust a year’s time, the body of this cheeseturns more granular and flaky and the flavors deepen for a toastier experience.Manchego bodes best with sweetness on your charcuterie plate with things like almonds, honey, or even hunks of the honeycomb itself.


- Colby Jack

When you’re not sure of everyone’s taste, another easy-to-approach cheese is Colby Jack. It has a semi-soft texture and that beautiful marbling of white and orange adds plenty of color.Depending on where it’s from, it can be mild and smooth or sharp and tangy. Some varieties of Colby Jack come across as lightly sweet.


- Pepper Jack

Want something with a little more zing? The best cheese for charcuterie that adds a nice spice is Pepper Jack.Like Colby, it has a semi-soft texture with spice embedded into each bite. This spice is added from chili peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, sweet peppers, garlic, and rosemary. In addition to adding it to your cheese board, you’ll love this cheese melted on sandwiches and burgers.


- Provolone

Hailing from Southern Italy, provolone is made from cow’s milk. Most provolone production today takes place inLombardy and Veneto. It’s a cheese that is classified into 2 different types. There’s provolone dolce that is aged for several months which has a

sweet taste while provolone piccante ages for over 4 months and delivers a sharper taste. Provolone will taste different depending on where it’s made, though that’s the great fun of discovering this cheese.


- Blue

Blue cheese uses cultures of Penicillium, a mold that gives it that distinctive blue veining throughout. It varies in color with shades of blue and green. Like jade, no two hunks of blue cheese ever look the same. But their sharp and salty flavors are abold contrast against sweet offerings on your board.


- Muenster

This mild cheese has a pale color with a contrasting edible orange rind. The texture is smooth while the taste is quite mild. There are aged varieties that lend it a strong flavor and pungent aroma. These aged options could be great fun for the best cheese for charcuterie, especially if you pair them with the non-aged versions for comparison.


- Asiago

Another Italian cheese from cow’s milk is Asiago. It’s similar to Parmigiano Reggiano though it is nuttier in taste and creamier in texture. If you find fresh asiago, it will have a semi-soft texture and mild flavor. But aged varieties abound and after 9 months, that asiago will become sharper in flavor.


What to Pair with the Best Cheese for Charcuterie?

There is nothing wrong with simply taking the best cheese for charcuterie and leaving it at that. Cheese boards are quite popular, though it helps to have contrast to further enhance your enjoyment.Layering these cheeses with the other accoutrements on yourcharcuterie board create new flavor and texture sensations. Pairing it all with wineis an even better way to indulge all the tastes on your palate.


The whole idea of the best cheese for charcuterie is to play around with the flavors. Choose meats, nuts, spreads, cornichons, jams, honey, and other gourmet goodies. As for the wine, it never hurts to choose aCabernet Sauvignon for red, a Chardonnay for white, and if you simply can’t decide, always remember that sparkling wine works with everything.

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