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How to Build a Holiday Cheese Board

If you’re like us, you’re already planning your holiday cheese board—and you’re looking for ways to make it extra special this year. We’ve got the holiday cheese recipes, tips, and recommendations to help you do just that. 

You can follow our general guidelines for sourcing, prepping, and arranging that we’ve laid out in our cheese board how-to. But here are a few specific tips to make your holiday cheese board a beautiful and delicious success. 

Seek Out Seasonal Holiday Cheeses

rush creek reserve with white wine and accompaniments

Photo by Grace Wilkey

Cheese is a year-round food, but some cheesemakers save their best and most sought-after wheels for the holiday season. A festive meal or celebration is the perfect time to highlight some rare seasonal cheeses—or at least a good excuse to treat yourself to your very favorite varieties. 

Certain renowned, award-winning cheeses are only sold during the lead-up to the winter holidays. We’re so excited to be carrying one of these limited-edition wheels, Rush Creek Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin, for the first time this year. We can’t wait to share its decadent, gooey texture and nutty, smoky, and meaty flavors with you! 

If you missed out on this year’s batch of Rush Creek Reserve, don’t worry. You can still celebrate with lush, bark-wrapped beauties like Merry Goat Round Spruce Reserve from Firefly Farms and Harbison from the Cellars at Jasper Hill. 

This style of cheese originated in the Alps: When the cows came back down from their high mountain pastures in fall, milk supplies dropped. Cheesemakers didn’t have enough milk to keep making the big, hard wheels they did in summer, so they produced small, soft-ripened cheeses instead. 

Fall and winter milk is also higher in fat, meaning these little cheeses were so rich when ripe that they needed structural support—hence the bark strap wrapped around the edge to keep everything contained. The result is uniquely flavored, particularly luscious cheese that’s so smooth and gooey when ripe that you can simply remove the top rind and dig in with a hunk of bread, a potato chip, or a spoon. 

Break Out the Extra-Special Servingware and Accompaniments

holiday cheese board

Photo by Kerry Jerred

If you’re like me, you have several cheese boards in your kitchen—some for everyday use, some for special occasions. The holidays are the perfect time to bust out your most beautiful cheese gear—handmade wooden boards, vintage platters, whatever you’ve got—and your favorite cheese knives

If you’ve been meaning to invest in a cheese board or knives of your own, now is the perfect excuse to give yourself a little pre-holiday gift that you can use to celebrate the season for years to come. 

The same goes for accompaniments. Maybe you’ve been saving a rare French mustard, homemade fig jam, or high-end chocolate bar for the right occasion. Now’s the time to enjoy it.

If gourmet accompaniments are on your holiday shopping list, here’s an easy way to save time: Pick up one of our artisan cheese tasting boxes. You can choose from a variety of accompaniments to go with your cheese and gourmet crackers, or go for the full cheese tasting in a box to get charcuterie, preserves, nuts, crackers, olives, chocolate, and cheese all in one. 

Consider Including Cheese Balls, Baked Brie, or Other Holiday Cheese Recipes

pecan bacon rosemary cheese ball

One of our favorite things about cheese boards is that they require almost no prep, making them ideal for entertaining. But if you want to go all out for the holidays, featuring a holiday cheese recipe on your board is the way to go. 

In addition to standalone cheeses and delicious pairings, you can incorporate prepared items like cheese balls, cheese dips, and even baked cranberry brie into your cheese board or holiday menu. Just be sure to give yourself time to mix, shape, or bake your creation so everything is ready when your guests arrive. Happy holiday entertaining! 

Are you planning to serve a festive cheese board for the holidays this year? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and let us know! 

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Hardware

If you have purchased cheese hardware from our Grotto collection, it usually takes us 1 to 3 business days to ship your order, unless otherwise listed on the respective product page.

Cheese Orders

As the cheeses are a fresh product, we want to ensure the quickest transit time as possible, so your order arrives in the best possible condition.  Express shipping costs range from $25 - $55 depending on the package size, delivery window, location and carrier. We ship Mondays only each week, and orders must be placed by Thursday the week prior to be included in Monday's shipments.  If you purchased a cheese subscription with a set shipping schedule (Meet the Makers or any Gift Subscription), please refer to the respective product page for the fixed shipping schedule.

Please note: cheese ships from our cheese warehouse and hardware ships from our hardware warehouse. If you are purchasing both hardware and cheese, there will be a shipping charge for the cheese portion of your order.

International Orders

We are sorry, but we aren't legally allowed to ship cheese across the US border!  We can, however, ship our hardware from our Grotto collection worldwide.  Please note that the shipping costs options you see at checkout do not include customs, duties, and taxes which will be billed to you upon reaching the border, and will be an additional expense.  Those costs vary from country to country, but we recommend calculating at an additional 20% charge. If you refuse the package due to these additional fees and the hardware is returned to us, we will be able to issue a refund minus the outbound and return shipping costs.