Is A Cheese Board A Starter Or Dessert?

If you are planning on hosting an extravagant dinner party, a cheese board is an easy addition to a meal that makes a big impact. But you may be wondering if a cheese board is supposed to be served as an appetizer or as a dessert. Fortunately, we have done thorough research on this topic and have the answer here for you.

Because cheese is very high in calories and rich in flavor, it can ruin one's appetite if served as a starter. Traditionally, the French serve the cheese course after the main course but before dessert, whereas the British serve it after dessert. Here in the States, we have no cheese course etiquette to follow; therefore, you could reasonably serve your cheese course as an entree or even as dessert.

We encourage you to continue to read the rest of this article to understand why a cheese board is served during a certain course in the meal. We'll suggest what to serve with a cheese board, and how to transform your cheese board into either a main course or dessert. We even included a few tips on how to serve Brie cheese properly. Read on to learn more about the intricacies of a cheese board.

A variety of cheeses on marble serving board, Is A Cheese Board A Starter Or Dessert?

When to serve a cheese course?

In America, we consume cheese as an appetizer, snack, or even as a grilled sandwich. Europeans do not have the same eating habits as us, and therefore have a different perspective on cheese.

Since most French cheeses are quite rich, eating them before a meal could spoil your appetite. Instead, the cheese course is served after dinner and can aid in digestion.

If you want to stick to the French method of serving cheese, it should be offered after the main course but before dessert. You could also serve the cheese course at the end of your meal.

What comes first cheese or dessert?

In France, the food follows the wine. What this means is that wines are paired with certain foods to elevate the flavors of both. Most main courses will be served with red wine, and cheese is then served with the leftover wine. It's all washed down with a dessert course paired with sweet wine.

Meanwhile, the British serve cheese after dessert. This practice stems from ladies historically experiencing a three-course meal, culminating with dessert. They would then withdraw to the drawing-room, and the men would continue with cheese, cigars, and fortified wine. Eventually, the cheese course transformed into the final course of a four-course meal.

Since America broke away from British traditions when we declared our independence in 1776, there are no rules to follow when serving the cheese course. If you want to serve a cheese board as an appetizer, main course, or dessert, there are no cheese police to stop you.

Is a cheese board an entree?

By itself, a cheese board could not be considered a main course. Typically, most cheese boards are comprised of three to five different types of cheese and a small spattering of accompaniments, such as crackers and jams. However, if you want to make your cheese platter an entree, it is possible with the addition of several food groups.

So that the cheese board is filling, you’ll want to add ingredients that contain protein, such as salami or prosciutto. The addition of carbohydrates such as assorted crackers or baguette slices will also help your guests feel more full. Round it out with several fruits and vegetables such as grapes, apples, carrots, and sugar snap peas.

Female hands preparing snacks and appetizers in a set full of assorted cured ham and cheese on rustic wood

What else goes with a cheese board?

Cheese boards can typically stand alone with a nice variety of different types of cheese. However, there are plenty of other foods that will pair well with any cheese board. These include:

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