As far as I’m concerned, any cheese board is perfect. In fact, it’s basically all I want to eat…like ever. But a cheese board that shows off all the gorgeous Mexican cheeses is truly something special.
Heading into the fall/winter season, it’s the perfect appetizer for countless celebrations, holiday parties, and (safe) gatherings. Keep reading for my all the details on my favorite Mexican cheeses and what to pair them with for an epic Mexican cheese board.
first things first….let’s talk boards
What you build your board on does not have to be a dedicated platter, but there are lots of beautiful, unique wooden, marble, and ceramic trays that really show off your favorite cheese.
Here are a few I love:
If you don’t have a special board, don’t let that stop you. You can always use a cutting board, large plate, or even a baking sheet.
Now what about serving utensils? If you plan on making a cheese board a regular thing (which I highly recommend), then purchasing a set of cheese knives might be a good idea. These are the ones I use, plus a couple more suggestions:
kinds of mexican cheese for your cheese board
Unless you’re really familiar with Mexican food, you might not be too sure about which types of cheese come from Mexico.
A quick trip to your local Latin market will prove there is so much variety when it comes to Mexican cheese.
From the strong flavor of queso añejo to fresh cheese like queso blanco there is something for everyone.
Let’s take a closer look at some of my favorites:
- Cotija Cheese. Cotija is a dry, hard cheese made from cow’s milk. It may seem like an odd choice for a cheese board because it’s usually crumbled very fine and sprinkled over Mexican dishes as a finishing touch. Instead of crumbling for a cheese board, I like to serve it in paper-thin slices for a salty kick.
- Panela Cheese. Panela is a Mexican cottage cheese made from cow’s milk that is molded into a basket shape, which is where it’s other name, queso canasta, or basket cheese comes from.
- Oaxacan Cheese. This cheese gets it’s name from the Mexican state of Oaxaca and is similar to string cheese in texture. Its beautiful rope shape makes a stunning presentation on the board.
- Chihuahua Cheese. Also known as Queso Menonita. This is another Cow’s milk cheese that has a fresh grassy flavor and is delicious with a glass of red wine.
- Queso Enchilado. This is a firm aged cheese or queso añejo, typically made from goat’s milk that has been covered in a chili pepper paste. It ranges from mild to spicy, depending on who the cheesemaker is.
- Manchego. Manchego is most commonly thought of as a Spanish sheep milk cheese from the Spanish region of La Mancha. Mexican Manchego is a bit different, it is made from a mixture of goat and cow’s milk and has a less salty profile.
- Habanero Jack Cheese. So this last one is not really Mexican but I love having it’s spicy touch to round out my Mexican cheese board.
go crazy with the extras
Classic accompaniments like Prosciutto di Parma and dried apricots would go equally well with these cheeses, but if you really want to celebrate all Mexico has to offer, let’s explore all the Mexican snacks you can fill your cheese board with!
A stroll through the Latin market will offer up lots of cheese board ideas. The produce section has lots of fresh vegetables and fresh fruits to choose from.
For my board I chose fresh figs, Honeycrisp apples, red grapes and fuyu persimmons.
For the dried fruits I chose dried mangoes enchilados, or dried mangoes that are coated in chili powder.
I also chose a couple of different seed and nut brittles that I’m totally addicted to. There are several to chose from, my favorite is Palanqueta.
Last, I filled in the gaps with some homemade Chipotle-Fig jam and a few other snacks like fried plantain chips and mini toasts.
mexican wines and beers to pair with the cheese
Now that we’ve got all the Mexican cheese and snacks it seems only logical to pair it Mexican beer and wine!
Luckily more and more Mexican beers are coming to this side of the border. A few I think would be great with this selection of cheeses would be:
Unfortunately, many gorgeous Mexican wines are not available in much of the United States but you can find a few online. Here are three I think would be perfect for this Mexican cheese board.
- Monte Xanic Valle de Guadalupe Chenin Colombard 2018
- Vena Cava Valle de Guadalupe Cabernet 2017
- Santo Tomas Ensenada Mexico Grenache Rose 2017
Yay For Mexican Cheese!
If you make this Mexican Cheese Board, I want to hear about it! Snap a photo of your gorgeous spread and tell me which cheese was your favorite. Tag me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno. ¡Buen Provecho!
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