by Afrim Pristine, Ontario Cheese Ambassador

Build Your Own Ontario Cheese Board

Cheese boards are more than the centrepiece of a gathering, they are a story of contrasting landscapes, creativity and craftsmanship. Each cheese should be selected with appreciation for the effort, time and care that went into every step of the cheesemaking process, because each batch represents a moment in an evolving tradition.

I chose these five Ontario cheeses because I feel they represent the Ontario terroir and cheese industry very well. Not only are they local, but these are all world class cheeses. The different flavours and textures showcase the vast landscape and cheesemaking techniques of this great province.

Here are a few tips I always use when creating a cheese board: 

  • When selecting cheese for a custom cheese board, variety is key. There are so many different varieties of cheese—and that’s the best part—make sure you showcase that. 
  • Instead of complementing each cheese with the next, you actually want to have contrasting cheeses so you can present a fuller, richer story through your selections. 
  • Remember that the cheese is the star of the show, always. Breads, crackers and fruit are great, but start off with great cheese and your cheese board will always come out on top. 
  • You don’t have to overthink it. Don’t get too technical about creating a cheese board. Trust your local cheese monger, try and taste before you buy anything and most of all, have fun with the whole process. Cheese is such a celebratory and social food; embrace the stink.
  • Cheese is naturally beautiful, so try and keep it in its natural state. Whole wedges look great; try not to cut them into cubes. Firmer cheeses can be chipped off the block for that rough, rustic look. Investing in proper cheese knives is a great idea as well. The cheese on the board should look natural, raw with a good balance of organization.


LIST OF CHEESES:

Albert’s Leap Bel Haven Brie
Quality Cheese
Woodbridge, ON

Celtic Blue
Glengarry Fine Cheese
Lancaster, ON

Black Truffle Gouda
Mountainoak Cheese
New Hamburg, ON

Niagara Gold
Upper Canada Cheese Company
Jordan Station, ON

5 Brothers Smoked
Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese
Woodstock, ON