Be big, bold and audacious

Present yours as an appetizer before dinner or serve for afters. It can even be a constant as people like the idea of just being able to pick when it suits. Consider simplicity with understated flair. Remember a cheeseboard can be a talking point, even a way to educate others. Aim to excite the senses. Give your guests a visual feast, as well as one rooted in balanced textures and flavours. Focus on three to four cheese selections, like a soft cheese such as Kapiti Cracked Pepper Triple Cream Cheese, a Kapiti Awa Blue, a Portwine Cheddar and an Aorangi Brie  are an ideal basis to work from.

Dare to deviate

People usually have a standard of expectations for a cheeseboard – you know the basic staples. Surprise them with the unexpected. Cheese is obviously the focal point but it doesn’t just have to be pieces and wedges. Equal measures of sweet and savoury can work wonders.

Try luscious sweet tasting figs roasted with blue cheese wrapped in prosciutto. A sophisticated flavour combination. Figs and cheese with bruschetta are a simple mix and will find favour on the palette.

To instil a summery vibe into your board pair your cheeses with unsalted crackers, crusty breads, walnuts and a mixture of fresh pear, melon, mango and strawberry pieces. As an alternative thinly sliced dry fruits provide a nice flavour contrast.

Creamy cheeses will also work well with the tartness of gherkins, pickles or chutneys and even fresh cut avocado.

You’ll want to try this – it could be your new favourite – a flowing honeycomb drizzled over an earthy Kapiti Ramara – the taste is just sensational.

Whereas lashings of plum chutney and crumbly cheddar is a perfect combo of flavours.

The Summer flavours

Blackberry, cheese and rosemary Hors d’oeuvres are great for a Summer party.

Cranberry brie bites work perfectly with an outdoor meal on the deck.

Try adding succulent roasted grapes to your cheeseboard, the roasting enhances their flavour.

Bacon wrapped dates with cream cheese are easy to prepare and deliver on taste.

Baked mozzarella cheese sticks can round out a cheese board nicely for that bridge between cracker and cheese.

Cheese truffles can be made from a variety of cheeses, select a recipe that befits the theme of the board. Can be made with ingredients like cayenne pepper or pesto that colours that reflect brightness and good times.

This one’s out of the box – but will certainly please many, a baked fontina garlic cheese dip bursting with a bold strong taste.

Serving

Think about the cheeseboard itself when serving, don’t always follow convention. Pick a board with an interesting shape or dimension to it. The board doesn’t have to be wooden either, a stone or slate can add a rustic beauty and element of class to your presentation. And remember to select the right cutting tools for serving, it’s best to keep it clean and have a different knife for each cheese.