Upgrade Your Charcuterie Board With Flavorful Marinated Cheese

Charcuterie boards are a popular appetizer for parties and get-togethers of all shapes and sizes. They marry the convenience of a snack spread with the elevated appearance and sophisticated flavors of fine meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. When serving such a timeless classic, however, it can be challenging to find a way to make your charcuterie board special or original. That's why we recommend giving your next board an appetizing twist by adding marinated cheese.

Much like meats and vegetables, cheese can be soaked in any kind of marinade to infuse it with additional flavor. This allows the cheese to become a stand-out element on your charcuterie board, as the zingy, rich, herby, or spicy flavors in any given marinade will amplify the existing flavors of the cheese in a unique dining experience. Marinating cheese has the added benefit of giving the cheese a softer, more moist texture, which can create an extra creamy and luxurious mouthfeel — perfect for enhancing a night of entertaining.

How to make marinated cheese

While some grocery stores sell marinated cheese, they are not likely to carry many varieties, and they can be priced on the high side. In most cases, you will find that there is much more affordability, flexibility, and creativity when you choose to marinate cheese at home. The basic method is easy: Simply place your cheese of choice into your preferred marinade for a few hours at minimum, and then enjoy. Softer cheeses like feta, mozzarella, or goat cheese work well, but firmer cheeses such as paneer and manchego are good for marinating, too. The ingredients you use in the marinade can be as gourmet as herby aromatics-infused olive oil, or a chili and garlic-rich oil, or as simple as marinating cheese in pickle juice that you have left over in your fridge to give it a salty tang.

Making your own marinated cheese grants you the freedom to customize how you pair cheeses and marinades to create the ideal flavor combination. Cubes of feta are an ideal match for Greek herbs and aromatics like red pepper and oregano. Goat cheese with thyme and lemon zest is another match made in heaven, or for a spicy kick try soaking brie or paneer in an oil-rich mix of crunchy, savory chili crisp.