It's a lot easier to choose the cheeses once you've already chosen the meats, since they narrow down your pairing options. Think of the meat's most prominent notes and what sort of flavor profile would complement it best. For instance, if you choose to use sweet-and-spicy salami, gouda would be a solid pairing option, since it's creamy, nutty and smooth. If you went with buttery prosciutto, you might opt for an aged, salty cheese like Parmesan or pecorino Romano instead. Soppressata or pepperoni, which are bursting with notes of herbs and spices, would pair great with buttery, rich, fatty cheeses like cheddar or Havarti. You can also play with flavored cheeses, like those infused with wine or truffles, if they fit the rest of the spread or an overall theme.
Soft cheeses are also popular to include in charcuterie boards. They tend to pair best with fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, jams and nuts, as well as crackers and bread. Velvety soft cheeses like Brie go beautifully with sweet or acidic sides, like honeycomb, green apple slices, onion jam or grapes, while mild soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella pair best with fresh produce, herbs and tangy dressings or dips, like balsamic glaze. For salty, soft cheeses like feta or chèvre, add mild or sweet ingredients like roasted almonds or pine nuts, figs, sliced melon or dried apricots to the board. Sweet soft cheeses, like mascarpone, shine brightest alongside berries, cherries or chocolate.
Our Pick: Spring Koe Red Wax Creamy Gouda