The Secret to This Amazing Winter Cheese Board? So. Much. Cheddar.

Snack your way to a perfect evening.

November 22, 2020
Photo by James Ransom. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Lauren LaPenna.

We've partnered with Cabot Creamery Co-operative to show you how to create a showstopping cheese board with enough flavors and textures to keep you happily snacking all evening. Owned by a co-op of farm families, Cabot is the world’s first dairy co-op to be B-corp certified, so we feel even better about including it on our boards. Here, Marissa Mullen—Food52's Resident Cheese Plater—put together a cheddar-y winter spread starring Cabot’s Deli Bars and a few pitch-perfect additions.

In winter, as the sun sets earlier and the temperatures drop, we want to feel cozy as we huddle up indoors. And a savory, luxurious cheese board can provide that sense of comfort we’re yearning for.

Picture it: robust and creamy cheeses blending beautifully with aged charcuterie and delectable accoutrements. You grab a glass of wine, plop down next to a fireplace, and snack your way to a perfect evening. Though we won't be gathering together much (or at all) over the holidays, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the season, cheese-wise.

Enter: the ultimate cold-weather cheese plate, which I’ve dubbed the “Winter Roast.”

Photo by James Ransom. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Lauren LaPenna.

To start, I built my board around some of my favorite Cabot Creamery Co-operative Deli Bars: 1-Year Cheddar, 3-Year Cheddar, and Cracked Peppercorn. Though they’re all made in a cheddar style, their distinct nuances set them apart: The 1-Year Cheddar is mild and creamy—a perfect base to build upon—whereas the 3-Year Cheddar has a sharper and more complex profile, standing up to stronger flavors like salty green olives. The Cracked Peppercorn has distinct notes of black, green, pink, and white pepper, which add a smoky kick that mixes up the flavor profile. Plus, every batch of Cabot products is tested by a team of "cheese graders," which sounds like a job I made up in a dream. (That explains why their cheddars keep winning awards.)

Instead of crudités or an abundance of crackers, I went with two types of roasted veggies: Brussels sprouts and baby potatoes. I tossed the sprouts in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roasted them in the oven. Once they were crispy, I drizzled on maple syrup and pomegranate seeds for a sweet kick. The Brussels paired beautifully with the Cracked Peppercorn Cheddar and prosciutto, offering a smoky-and-savory experience with a touch of sweetness.

The baby potatoes—roasted with olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper—paired excellently with the 1-Year Cheddar and cornichons. The mild notes of the cheddar matched the mildness of the potatoes, while the garlic and cornichons added a piquant tang to each bite.

Assembling your own “Winter Roast” cheese board? Here are other great pairings to include:

  • 1-Year Cheddar with prosciutto and truffle honey: This was creamy with a hint of smoke and decadent sweetness.
  • 3-Year Cheddar with salami and green olives: This pairing was bold, with savory notes and briny undertones.
  • 3-Year Cheddar with peppadews on a slice of baguette: This bite was more complex, with sharpness meeting a vegetal sweetness.
  • Cracked Peppercorn with roasted baby potatoes and truffle honey: This bite was smoky, sweet, garlicky, and super decadent. Highly recommended!

Before you set it out, give your cheese board a finishing touch—I garnished mine with sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary for a wintry pop of color. When serving your board, make sure you have enough utensils to go around; I typically put out tongs, forks, spoons, and cheese knives. Small dessert plates are a perfect personal canvas for each snacker to build their own cheese-plate creation from the bigger board.

With warm roasted veggies, rich charcuterie, and a lineup of sharp and tangy cheeses, this board will definitely be one of my go-tos this winter. Who needs to go outside, anyway?

What’s on your go-to winter cheese board? Tell us in the comments!

In partnership with Cabot Creamery Co-operative, we’re sharing delicious ideas for using their Deli Bars as the base for a cheddar-filled winter cheese board. Alongside roasted veggies, charcuterie, and nuts, these cheeses are the just-right partner for a cozy night in. For this cheese board, we used Cabot’s 1-Year Cheddar, 3-Year Cheddar, and Cracked Peppercorn Deli Bars, but they’ve got a range of flavors to choose from—like Wildly Horseradish Cheddar, Smoky Bacon Cheddar, and Roasted Garlic Cheddar.

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Marissa Mullen is a Brooklyn-based food stylist, recipe developer, photographer and cheese lover. She is the founder of That Cheese Plate and creator of the Cheese By Numbers method. She is also the author of the best-selling cookbook, That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life, a step-by-step styling guide for crafting beautiful and delicious cheese plates as a form of creative expression. Featured on The Today Show, The Rachael Ray Show, Business Insider, Vox among others, Marissa is dedicated to bringing people together through creativity, food and entertainment.