Strut your stuff with holiday cheese boards

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's website is bursting with ideas - complete with mouth-watering photos - on how to assemble a cheese board for any occasion. And with the holiday season upon us, it's easy to put together a stunning board comprised of Wisconsin products.

Wisconsin produces 600 varieties of cheese of all different textures, flavors and colors, so there is plenty of scope for your imagination. Add some Wisconsin meats, fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits and you've assembled an eye-catching, tasty offering for any holiday gathering.

Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese Board

Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese Board

Widmer’s One Year Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

Arena SpringGreen™ Gouda cheese or Arena SpringGreen™ Smoked Gouda cheese, thinly sliced

Cedar Grove Havarti cheese, thinly sliced

Red Anjou pear

Thinly sliced prosciutto

Thinly sliced bresaola sausage or prosciutto

Mini cucumbers, halved lengthwise

Sweet mini bell peppers, stems removed, halved lengthwise and seeded

Pita crackers

Pitted green olives

Dried apricots

Fresh sage leaves

Black peppercorns

Seedless purple or red grapes

Cut the cheddar, gouda and havarti into triangles. Set aside two gouda slices.

Place pear on a serving board. Arrange prosciutto around pear. Fill in board with cheddar, bresaola, cucumbers, gouda, havarti, bell peppers and crackers. Tuck in olives, dried apricots and sage.

Cut reserved gouda slices into eyes, beak and feet. Attach peppercorns for pupils. Place eyes and beak on pear; arrange feet.

Garnish board with grapes, prosciutto flowers and sage. Serves 6-8.

Harvest Pumpkin Cheese Board

Harvest Pumpkin Cheese Board

Carr Valley Apple Smoked Fontina or Fontina cheese

Saxon Saxony Alpine Style cheese

Deppeler’s Baby Swiss cheese

Parmesan-Roasted Pumpkin Seed Snack Mix (recipe on website) or snack mix of choice

Landjaegers or meat snack sticks of choice

Thinly sliced salami

Pumpkin butter

Pumpkin seed crisps

Thinly sliced capicola

Pirouette cookies, pumpkin spice or flavor of choice

Toffee or candied pecans

Fresh sage leaves

Arrange the fontina, alpine style and baby swiss on a serving board. Fill in board with snack mix, landjaegers, salami, pumpkin butter, pumpkin seed crisps, capicola, cookies, pecans and sage.

Thanksgiving Cheese Board

Thanksgiving Cheese Board

CORNUCOPIA:

3 tubes (11 ounces each) refrigerated French bread dough, chilled

1 large egg, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons butter, cubed and melted

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 ounce Cello® Parmesan cheese, grated (1/3 cup)

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

CHEESE BOARD:

Fresh pears

Seedless red and purple grapes

Fresh figs or small apples

Widmer’s Two Year Cheddar cheese

Cello® Parmesan cheese

Cedar Grove Organic Muenster cheese

Candied or honey-roasted almonds

Candied pecans

Whole cashews

Bay leaves

Fresh rosemary sprigs

Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 15 x 10-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Fold a 36 x 18-inches piece heavy-duty aluminum foil in half widthwise. Roll up foil for cornucopia, loose cone shape, starting at a corner with opening about 8 x 6 inches. Fold extra foil inside cone. Stuff cone inside with additional foil. Bend tail end up into desired shape.

Place cone on prepared pan. Coat foil with cooking spray. Unroll one tube bread dough on a lightly floured cutting board. Cut dough widthwise into six strips, each 1 1/2-inches wide. Keep remaining dough refrigerated.

Wrap one strip around tail end of foil; pinch ends to seal. Wrap strips around foil, overlapping and stretching dough to cover. Repeat cutting and wrapping remaining dough; set aside two strips.

Twist reserved strips; pinch ends. Place on cornucopia opening, stretching to fit if necessary. Pinch dough at seams. Brush dough with egg wash.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. (Pan will be hot!) Combine butter and garlic powder. Brush butter mixture on bread. Sprinkle with parmesan and rosemary. Bake for 10-15 minutes longer or until deep golden brown, covering loosely with foil if necessary. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Cheese Board: Carefully loosen and remove foil from cornucopia; place on a serving board. Add the pears, grapes and figs. Arrange the cheddar, parmesan and muenster on the board. Fill in board with almonds, pecans, cashews, bay leaves and rosemary.

Holiday Spirits Cheese Board

Holiday Spirits Cheese Board

Carr Valley Beer Cheddar cheese

Deer Creek® The Rattlesnake cheese

Kaukauna® Spreadable Cheddar Port Wine Cold Pack cheese

La Bottega di BelGioioso Artigiano® Vino Rosso cheese

Red Apple Hickory Smoked Bourbon Gouda cheese

Persimmon or fresh pear slices

Blood orange segments

Orange slices

Fresh citrus leaves

Golden berries or seedless grapes

Pomegranate seeds

Candied crab apples or fresh apple slices

Bourbon-soaked cherries or cherry preserves

Mixed nuts

Rosemary flatbread crackers

Breadsticks

Arrange the beer cheddar, The Rattlesnake, port wine cheese, Artigiano® Vino Rosso and gouda on a serving board. Fill in board with persimmon, oranges, citrus leaves, berries, pomegranate seeds, crab apples, cherries, nuts, crackers and breadsticks.

Cheesemonger Tip:The Rattlesnake cheese is a unique and true flavor experience—spicy, sweet, tropical and HOT. Creamy medium aged cheddar infused with the warmth and sweetness of premium gold tequila and habanero peppers, giving this cheese a spicy flavor bite on the finish.

Holiday Garland Cheese Board

Holiday Garland Cheese Board

Widmer's Six Year Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

Shullsburg Creamery Muenster cheese, thinly sliced

Pine River Aged Asiago Cold Pack cheese, softened

Peppadew® peppers, drained or cherry tomatoes, scooped out and pulp discarded

Fresh rosemary sprigs

Whole Sweety Drop miniature peppers, drained or chopped sweet red bell pepper

Green olives

Candied walnuts

Sugared cranberries

Oat crackers

Cut cheddar and muenster with a holly leaf-shaped cookie cutter. Pipe or spoon asiago cheese into Peppadew® peppers.

Arrange rosemary in a garland shape on a serving board. Place the cheddar, muenster and stuffed Peppadew® peppers. Fill in board with miniature peppers, olives, walnuts, cranberries and crackers.