Select your board, then create an anchor point on the center with something you’d like to have the spotlight (a wheel of Brie works well).
Using bowls or cups of jams, mustards, cherries, and/or olives, create four more anchor points in the quadrants of your board.
Using your desired cheeses, fruits, and other ingredients, fill in the gaps from one corner to the center, then around the edges.
Repeat in all four quadrants. Layer and overlap when needed; step back to view the board from afar to spot any slim spots.
Fill in the gaps with crackers, toasted baguette slices, and nuts. Garnish with herbs, and tuck in forks, spreaders, tongs, and other utensils where needed.
Cheese: Three to five selections should cover your bases. I like to include at least one pick from each of the categories bulleted below. Cheesemongers often suggest highlighting “something old, something new, something stinky, and something blue." Feel free to use that as a guide, or vary the style of milk that’s used to make the cheese (a sheep's milk cheese, a cow's milk cheese, and a goat's milk cheese make a nice mix). The overall goal with your Cheese Board is to offer enough diversity that everyone can find something they enjoy; and perhaps discover a new favorite, too.
Jams, mustards, and other flavor-boosters: Any form of fruit preserves/jams/jellies, honey, mustards, nuts, olives, cornichons, chocolate, and fresh herbs can fill in any gaps on the board and team up to allow guests to build a unique bite each time.
Fruit and vegetables: Dried fruit, fresh berries, cherries, and grapes all work well. If you opt to layer in apple and pear slices, which I personally adore here, toss them with lemon juice before assembly to slow the oxidation process that causes the flesh to brown. Carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and mini bell pepper halves can act as vehicles for dips (or cheeses, for those who aren’t in the mood for carbs or are intolerant to wheat).
Carbs: Crackers, Toasted Baguette slices, Pita Chips, or pretzels are among my favorites. Stock up on plenty extra to replenish the board throughout the gathering.