What should you look for in a cheese board? It should be beautiful, durable, easy to clean, and long-lasting—but not all boards are created equal. Here’s a rundown of the best types of cheese board you can buy, including cheese board gift sets, black cheese boards, and large cheese boards.
How to Select a Charcuterie Board
There are a few different criteria you’ll want to keep in mind as you shop for cheese and charcuterie boards: the size of the board, how it looks, and durability.
Think about how you’ll use your board. Do you want to throw parties, host intimate dinners, or serve yourself a little cheese plate? How much space do you have for storage? Consider size based on these criteria.
A cheese board should look beautiful even before you’ve put anything on it. Natural materials offer attractive neutral tones and rustic textures that can make foods really pop, but glass, metal, and ceramic boards and platters come in a wider variety of colors and designs.
Finally, you want a board that’s durable, sturdy, and easy to clean. Some cheese boards are virtually unbreakable, while others can chip, scratch, or crack. It’s recommended to wash certain types of cheese boards by hand, while others are dishwasher safe, and some should be treated regularly with mineral oil. Choose a board that fits your kitchen and your needs.
The Best Materials for Cheese Boards
Our favorite materials for cheese boards offer some combination of aesthetics, durability, and ease of cleaning and can be purchased in a range of sizes and shapes.
Wood is sturdy and relatively easy to clean. Different types of wood offer a ton of different grains and color options, from pale ash to deep, dark walnut. The downside is that wood can be scratched or damaged by knives and isn’t dishwasher safe, and wood boards should be maintained with regular applications of mineral oil.
But charcuterie boards don’t have to be wooden. Bamboo offers wood’s warm, natural look minus the issues with warping and cracking—it’s what we use to make the Cheese Grotto, too. The large bamboo cheese board and other bamboo boards in our online store are three times stronger than solid oak. However, bamboo boards can still be scratched by knives, and they should be washed by hand and treated with mineral oil just like wood.
Slate has been used as tableware for centuries, and many high-end restaurants serve their cheese boards on slate. It’s pretty durable but can chip or crack. Some slate charcuterie board models are dishwasher safe, but slate cheese boards should be treated with mineral oil to keep them in good shape. Our Circular Slate Serving Set comes with a bamboo knife and soapstone chalk for writing cheese names right on the surface.
Man-made composite materials like PaperStone® or Richlite® may be your best option if you love the dramatic look of slate but want something lighter, more affordable, and more durable. They’re certified sustainable, easy to handle, and are dishwasher safe. They benefit from an occasional application of mineral oil as well.
How to Label a Cheese Board
A cheese board isn't finished until the cheeses are labeled so that everyone knows what they’re eating. You can label a cheese board with reusable markers, disposable signs or flags, or create a map or menu to share this information with your guests.
Our favorite way to label a cheese board is to use a writable cheese board. Black cheese boards are best for this because their color allows chalk to show up really well. When you’re done, simply wash the board and the labels disappear.
The Best Black Cheese Boards
With their dark color, black cheese boards lend drama to any tablescape. They highlight the colorful appearance of cheeses and accompaniments well against a light-colored background, offering opportunities to get creative with your presentation.
The best black cheese boards are made from slate or sustainable, virtually indestructible composite materials. Cheese Grotto’s Sustainable Black Cheese Board and Knife Gift Set is made from PaperStone®, a sustainable, food-grade material made from 100% recycled paper, food-safe resin, and natural pigments.
PaperStone® is unbreakable, dishwasher safe, and comes with a beautiful piece of long-lasting soapstone chalk so you can label each cheese right on the board. For a full rundown of our favorite black boards, check out our guide to the best black cheese boards.
What’s the difference between a cheese board and a charcuterie board?
The terms “cheese board” and “charcuterie board” are often used interchangeably, but they mean different things. Cured meats are the focus of a charcuterie board (although the term is often incorrectly used to describe any food served on a board).
On the other hand, cheese is the star of a cheese board, with accompaniments—which can include charcuterie—selected to best highlight the cheeses. A good serving board can be used interchangeably to serve cheese or charcuterie.
Is slate good for cheese boards?
Yes, slate is a great material for building cheese boards. It’s beautiful, natural, and has been used for centuries to serve cheese and charcuterie.
Can a charcuterie board be used as a cutting board?
We don’t recommend it. Cut marks and stains from food prep can damage a nice board, and it’s best to avoid preparing raw meat on a board used for ready-to-eat food like cheese. We recommend using your cheese and charcuterie boards for serving only and using separate cutting boards for preparing food.
What’s your favorite cheese board made of? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know!