Anyone can grab a block of cheese, chop it up, and call it a cheese plate.
Whether it's any good or not is a whole other story.
To help lovers of all things in the aged dairy department, all Whole Foods Market locations are starting up a quarterly series of free Cheese Nights starting this week.
We took the opportunity to chat with regional specialty buyer and cheese professional Kari Foley of Whole Foods about compiling the perfect cheese board for the holidays.
The first event of the series takes place on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at all South Florida Whole Foods Market locations.
For the premier event, experts will be instructing customers on how to create the ideal board with the right accoutrements and even suggested wine pairings for each selection.
According to Foley, the secret to pleasing guests is offering plenty of options.
"My best tips for creating the best cheese board is to keep it simple and interactive! said Foley. "Pick cheeses that are different in contrasts: such as creamy, firm, sweet and pungent. Creating a theme for your cheese board will also engage your guests."
Aside from the actual cheeses, Foley suggests assimilating different textures and flavors into the presentation.
"Some of my favorite parings that can be incorporated on a cheese board are simple olive mixtures, dried fruits, microgreens, thinly sliced dry-cured salami, chutney, and crackers," said Foley. "Great rule of thumb is approximately two ounces of cheese per person and remember that you can create a cheese board without spending a lot of money."
While choosing the right items is an important part of the process, presentation is an essential part of the equation.
"To serve, use a butcher board or slate for a fun, rustic look," said Foley. "Remember not to crowd your cheeses as they need room to breathe too."
For individual locations, visit wholefoodsmarket.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.