A wooden grazing board with various cheeses and ramekins
Photography, Andrew Burton

French Cheese Board

Food stylist Natalie Thomson shares her formula for a France-inspired cheese board.

There are rumoured to be 1,600 types of French cheese, so it will be tough to whittle down the selection for a French cheese board. Alternatively, you could make this board many times, using different cheeses every time. The suggestions here are some of my personal favourites. –Natalie Thomson

A wooden grazing board with various cheeses and ramekins

French Cheese Board

Food stylist Natalie Thomson's recipe for a France-inspired cheese board, with an easy baked Camembert as the centrepiece.
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine British, English, French
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Honey, Garlic & Rosemary Baked Camembert

  • 1 whole Camembert about 9 oz (250g)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove sliced
  • 1 tbsp honey

French Cheese Board

  • Honey, Garlic & Rosemary Baked Camembert
  • 7 oz (200 g) Tomme de Savoie or an aged Comté
  • 7 oz (200 g) Brie or Reblochon
  • 7 oz (200 g) Roquefort
  • 7 ozoz (200 g) P’tit Basque
  • 2-3 baguettes about 13 oz (400 g) each, sliced
  • honey
  • small bunches of red grapes
  • dried figs
  • walnut halves
  • 1 jar cornichons with sweet cocktail onions

Instructions
 

Honey, Garlic & Rosemary Baked Camembert

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C), Gas Mark 6. Unwrap the Camembert and place it in a traditional Camembert baker, or return it to the bottom half of its wooden box and wrap the bottom of the box with aluminum foil. Pick the little bunches of leaves from the sprig of rosemary. Make a series of shallow cuts in the top of the cheese in a diamond crosshatch pattern, then poke the garlic slices and rosemary leaves into the cheese, letting them protrude a little. Drizzle with the honey and bake for 20 minutes or until melted right through. Let cool slightly before serving.

French Cheese Board

  • To assemble, place the lid of the Camembert box on a heatproof platter or board to save space for the baked cheese when it comes out of the oven. Arrange the other cheeses on the board around it, slicing or crumbling them so that they are easy to pick up. Make small piles or fans of the baguette slices between the cheeses.
  • Place the honey in a small bowl with a honey dipper or spoon and place on the platter or board with the bunches of grapes. Fill the spaces with dried figs, walnuts, and a small dish of the cornichons and onions. When the Camembert comes out of the oven, remove the box lid, place the baked cheese in the reserved space and serve immediately.

A cookbook cover in a light frame

Recipes excerpted with permission from The Grazing Table by Natalie Thomson, Hamlyn. 2023. Adapted for ELLE Gourmet. Photography by Andrew Burton.
Share this article: