Choosing the right cheese board comes down to a few different factors: size, appearance, and of course, material. Wooden charcuterie boards can create a beautiful presentation, but they’re not the only serving boards out there.
In fact, there are plenty of beautiful black cheese boards made from natural and sustainable materials to choose from. Here’s why the material your board is made from matters, and our picks for the best alternatives to wooden cheese boards.
Do Charcuterie Boards Have to Be Wooden?
A beautiful wooden cheese board lends a warm, natural look to your presentation, but it’s not the only material for cheese boards out there.
The benefits of wooden charcuterie boards include their attractive appearance and durability. They can also last for years and wear beautifully with the right kind of regular maintenance.
However, wooden cheese boards have their drawbacks, too. If they sit in water, they can warp, split, or break, so it’s important to wash them quickly and let them air dry completely before seasoning with mineral oil. If your guests are using sharp knives on a wooden charcuterie board, they can scratch and damage the surface.
Some people choose not to use wooden cheese boards because they’re porous, which means they can be difficult to fully sanitize. (We recommend washing with hot water, mild dish soap, and wiping down with white vinegar to clean wooden cheese boards.
The Best Cheese Board Materials That Aren’t Wood
There are plenty of great cheese boards out there made from non-wooden materials that are beautiful, durable, and sustainable.
On the plus side, glass cheese boards aren’t porous, so they’re easy to clean and sanitize. Cons of using a glass cheese board include dulling your knives against the hard surface and the risk of breaking or chipping, as glass is very fragile.
Slate is a classic option for a black cheese board. It looks beautiful, it’s easy to clean, and you can often find reclaimed black slate cheese boards made from upcycled material. However, like glass, they’re very delicate and can chip or shatter if not handled properly.
Bamboo cheese boards can be a sustainable alternative to wood because they’re sustainable, durable, and also offer a natural look. Bamboo is a grass, and it grows quickly and easily, making it more environmentally friendly. We chose bamboo for our Cheese Grottos and cheese boards because it’s sustainable, and the three-ply construction of our boards makes them strong and less susceptible to warping. Bamboo performs better in humid conditions than wood, and because it’s porous, it's great for aging cheese.
However, bamboo requires additional maintenance similar to wood. It should be washed by hand with soap and water or white vinegar, air dried, and buffed with mineral oil after use. Knives and utensils can leave scratches on bamboo just like they can on regular wooden cheese boards.
Some man-made materials hit that sweet spot between durability, appearance, and sustainability. Made of composite materials like PaperStone®, a combination of 100% recycled paper, food-safe resin, and natural pigment, they’re incredibly strong. These boards offer the same dramatic black serving board experience as slate combined with the durability and sustainability of bamboo.
Our Favorite Non-Wooden Cheese Boards
For a long-lasting, sustainably produced non-wooden charcuterie board, you can’t go wrong with our Sustainable Black Cheese Board and Knife Gift Set. It’s basically impossible to break, easy to clean and sanitize, and offers a dramatic black backdrop that highlights your cheeses and accompaniments beautifully.
Each of our sustainable black cheese boards doubles as a shelf in the Cheese Grotto Classico. Each set comes with a matching knife for cutting soft or firm cheeses and a piece of soapstone chalk for labeling each cheese right on the board (and the knife that goes with it). Simply wash the board to erase the labels, then use again and again.
Our new Piatto Black Cheese Board offers the same durable, attractive, writeable material in a smaller size that also serves as a shelf for the Cheese Grotto Piatto—or use it as a cute yet elegant mini cheese board. For any size Grotto, there’s a black board to match. Check out our Fresco and Mezzo black boards here.
What’s your favorite cheese board made of? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know!