the french cheese board – my latest video

by Sharon Santoni

We are all about to embark on the holiday season:  lots of entertaining, good food, pretty tables …..

And I thought you would like to see something of a French dinner, namely the cheese board, and the etiquette and customs around it.

A cheese selection is an essential part of any good meal here.   A good hostess will put together a varied board,  rich in flavours and specialities from all over France.    Cheese is served after the main course and before dessert.   On a plate or a wooden board,  passed around the table, once but not twice.   Sometimes a salad is served at the same time but not always, and in dinners with friends, the cheese course does not always come with a clean plate ….. sometimes the dinner plate is left in place, (unless it was a fish course), wiped a little with a piece of bread and then used for the salad and cheese.

In the same way, the cutlery or flatware for the cheese may or may not be changed.   If you keep the same plate, then the same knife and fork is used for the cheese and salad.    If there is no salad, but just cheese with bread, then guests are generally provided with a cheese plate and a clean knife.

And then comes the question of serving yourself with cheese… which to choose, how many pieces and how to cut each cheese, all these are potential hurdles for the uninitiated, and that is why we have made this little video.   In case you one day find yourself at a French table, or in case you wish to serve a typical French cheese board at your own table.

I had some amazing help in making this video.   First of all from our local cheese monger, La Cremerie Normande, and then from Amaury de Tilly, owner of one of our best local B&B Les Hautes Sources.    Amaury is from a wonderful French family where traditions are respected, they are important, and eating well is part of everyday family life.   I couldn’t find a better expert or more charming host.

I hope you like this little video, and that you are enjoying this pre-holiday season.  Come back soon for some more holiday entertaining inspiration.

Les Hautes Sources, Normandy

27 comments

Kathy December 9, 2016 - 11:33 pm

Thank you for that tutorial!

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Mina December 13, 2016 - 7:09 pm

Wow loved it! ( The cheese board video ). Thank you for showing your beautiful house and family as well!

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Geraldine Wise December 9, 2016 - 11:38 pm

Sharon: Thank you for this wonderful video. It is so nice to hear your voice. Have a wonderful Christmas.
All the best,
Geraldine

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Mary Crozier December 9, 2016 - 11:48 pm

Sharon,

Just spent a few minutes watching your video! It was wonderful and I’ve asked my husband to pick up some lovely cheeses on his way home so we can replicate your cheese board. Have a wonderful Christmas!

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Terry December 10, 2016 - 12:04 am

Charming!

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Delaine December 10, 2016 - 12:33 am

What a coincidence…I’m having a small holiday gathering for friends tomorrow and I came so close to doing a cheese board. I love them. I wish now I had gotten a variety of cheeses and done one. This was a wonderful video! I will use the information to make my next cheese board more authentically French. Thank you for sharing! Merry Christmas, Sharon!

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Blanca M. December 10, 2016 - 2:28 am

Wow Sharon, that was lovely.
I love cheese, so elegant and beautifully presented.
Merry Christmas!

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Samantha Parker December 10, 2016 - 1:34 am

Your voice is very lovely. Thank you and Amaury for the cheese information.

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Carole December 10, 2016 - 1:48 am

Sharon, I just have to say you have a perfect narrators voice (clear and calm)in the French Cheese Board video which was delightful with Amaury as he spoke beautifully as well. Thank you for sharing this and also Merci Beaucoup to Amaury de Tilly for demonstrating the proper cutting of the cheese selections and the technique. Merry Christmas!

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Lin December 10, 2016 - 2:17 am

Wow Sharon thanks for the cheese platter tuitorial. Most informative particularly about only passing the platter once and using the dinner plate also. I love a cheese course and you have made it easy to pull off properly.
Merci!!

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Blanca M. December 10, 2016 - 2:32 am

Wow Sharon, that was lovely.
Elegant and beautifully arranged.
I love cheese.
Merry Christmas,
Blanca

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Debra Sams December 10, 2016 - 3:16 am

Thank you very much for sharing. I enjoyed the video. So many various types of cheese. How many would be acceptable to choose? I would enjoy the experience I am sure.

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Colleen Taylor December 10, 2016 - 4:28 am

Thank you for this lovely & charming video tutorial. A lovely house they have and Amaury is such an elegant gentleman. Sharon, I adore your voice & the hair color. Very becoming. X

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Suzanne Towles December 10, 2016 - 6:55 am

Lovely! And I agree, it was wonderful to hear your voice.

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Dottie Monta December 10, 2016 - 7:02 am

Beautiful inspiration, Sharon. Here in America we include cheeses among our cocktail party offerings. It will be our goal to present a cheese board such as yours at the end of dinner parties. I have loved this custom when in France and in Italy. Happy pre-Christmas times to you and your family!

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joie December 10, 2016 - 7:23 am

loved it. Depending upon my guests I will serve a
cheese board sometimes at the end of a meal. I have noticed in France, and most of Europe that cheeses are always wrapped in paper, even when being stored, and not with plastic wrap. Have also been told to make sure you bring the cheese to room temperature.

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Judi Hirst December 10, 2016 - 8:26 am

I loved your video on the cheese. So interesting, Thank you.

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Kat December 10, 2016 - 8:38 am

What a thoughtful, timely, video. Thank you so much. Beautifully done.

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Rié Moratto December 10, 2016 - 2:18 pm

Exquisite … The attention to detail, a truly lovely, but not staid, laid table … charming. I have so far viewed it several times, as I do all of your videos. i have just purchased a Laguiole cheese set, and the timing could not be more perfect as I was unsure how to lay a cheese plate … and I had not thought of how to cut each properly. Thank you. My you and your beautiful family have a blessed Christmas. xxRié

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Vicky from Athens December 10, 2016 - 3:07 pm

Sharon, that was truly a treat! I loved hearing the conversation between you and Amaury. I will be watching this video many times, I’m sure. I frequently have a cheese board but always before the meal. I will be changing that offering to the end of our meals. Thanks for such a fun post. Christmas blessings to you and yours.

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Masson December 10, 2016 - 7:11 pm

Non non non, no salty butter in Normandie !!! It is in Bretagne. Par pitié, don’t open a new war between Normands and Bretons.
(De la part d’un Normand qui prend cela très au sérieux).

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bonnie groves poppe December 10, 2016 - 9:08 pm

That was not only beautiful, but useful. As I live in France I knew some of it, but certainly not that subtlety about cutting the brie. I will watch it again, and keep it handy. His accent was adorable …..

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[email protected] Mothering December 11, 2016 - 3:27 am

Wonderful! Thank you for sharing. I did not know the subtleties of the etiquette, especially about passing the plate around and only serving from it once. I will make sure to show my children, as we all love a cheese platter in our home :).

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Taste of France December 11, 2016 - 12:36 pm

Beautiful photography. The house is stunning, and the autumn leaves make a pretty background for the cheeses.
Last night’s dinner party here had cheese served on a slab of slate–pretty and practical.

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Cameo December 12, 2016 - 4:04 pm

A divine video! A wonderful home, beautiful child, and such a gentleman explaining cheese etiquette.
Thank you for such visual deliciousness.

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Cindy December 12, 2016 - 10:49 pm

Thank you for sharing this with us. What a beautiful video and you both did a wonderful job explaining the cheeses and how to cut them. I am going to do a cheese plate for the holidays!

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Kitty Cavalier | Sassy Art & Sexy Cheese: A Summer’s End Swoon! August 27, 2018 - 7:04 pm

[…] Want to learn how to assemble a cheese board like a grown up? Not just any grown up, a French grown up? Sharon Santoni will show you how with grace and elegance! […]

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