The perfect spread isn’t just about the flavors; presentation and serving tools are key! If you’re going through the trouble of entertaining, you should consider how your food is going to be served and how guests will help themselves. With cheese boards the goal is to display the food on a flat surface with a set of serving tools useful for different cheeses and snacks. Below are some of our favorite cheese board and knife sets that include everything you need to build an instagram-worthy display!
There are a few advantages to slate boards for serving cheese. One is the color contrast. The darkness of the slate will offset the lighter colors of cheese and make it stand out. You can also use chalk to write directly on the board, which allows you to label cheeses without cumbersome little signs (and is plain fun!). Slate cheese boards also have a natural, rocky edge to them which adds an organic feel to the presentation.
At the link below you can choose between three sizes of slate cheese trays. You can also get coasters, which would not only match a slate board, but can be written on with chalk. This is a great way of keeping track of guests’ drinks.
If you’re hosting a lot of people at once and need some serious real estate for your cheese platter, consider this 20” X 14” extra large slate board. Knife set and chalk are included!
If you look around you may see some boards that are a mix of slate and cheese - often half and half, or there is a slate piece stuck into a wood board. We recommend avoiding these combination boards. While some of them are ok, we find that they are generally harder to clean. It’s very common for a bit of food to get stuck between the slate piece and the wood, which means you’ll have to get out your q-tips to clean it thoroughly. Besides, the slate and wood tend to clash visually.
Wood boards are a little more durable and sturdy. Your slate board might not survive a bad fall, but a wood board will! It’s also easy to wash, and can be used for a variety of other purposes in the kitchen. And, unlike slate, wood comes in a variety of hues and cuts, so you have more aesthetic options that will match your home.
Cheese tends to be sticky and smelly, so it’s important to buy a board that is non-porous and easy to clean. You don’t want small chunks of brie to get stuck in your serving board and stain it with mold! One of the best woods for this is Bamboo. We especially love this Bamboo board from Bambusi:
The grooved edges are perfect for your cheese accompaniments - crackers, fruits, sliced breads - and the flat surface in the center is spacious enough for your cheese. This one also comes with solidly-built cheese knives. We love how the knife drawer is hidden too!
Want to keep things simpler? Consider this smaller, more understated bamboo board from Royal Craft Wood. This is absolutely a solid board, but its not as chunky as the Bambusi one above. It also doesn’t come with its own serving tools, so if you want to skip those this is a great buy:
Want something distinctive? VonShref makes some really cool unique cheese boards. SOme have multiple drawers, while some are stripped down and basic. The “jigsaw” model gives you 4 triangular mini-boards that connect together to create a variety of shapes. They are also 100% bamboo. Be sure to check the measurements of the different designs so you understand how big the board is (some are much smaller than others).
Some boards will come with their own cheese knives, but many won’t! Luckily decent quality cheese knife sets are pretty darn affordable. If you’re going with a wood board you might want to get a set with wood handles to match. If you do have a wood board, it’s probably bamboo. In that case you should think about these bamboo-handled cheese knives:
We find that slate tends to clash with wood coloring, so for slate boards we recommend a stainless steel set. This 4-piece BlizeTec set is hard to fault and reasonably priced:
The cheese knives mentioned above are both basic 4-piece sets, but if you want something a bit more eye-catching, or a larger set to serve more people, we have good options for those also:
This set comes with speckled handles and a sleek magnetic block! This 3-piece set from Kuhn Rikon can be ordered in a number of fun colors, and the quality is great. This 4-piece set comes in a number of metallic finishes. ICOSA living makes two great 6-piece sets - wood handles or all steel.
Hopefully this gives you some direction in choosing a cheese board and knife set. If you want more great advice on how to throw the ultimate cheese and wine party, check out our guide here. And be sure to take our quiz, which will help you select the right cheeses for your awesome party!