First of all, never be afraid to ask for help. When you visit a gourmet market or cheese shop, there are experts for a reason. The cheesemongers know what they are talking about, and since we’re guessing that you don’t, you might as well ask for some assistance. Tell them what kind of flavors and textures you prefer, tell them the occasion and number of guests, what else you plan to serve, what you want to drink etc. They can take all of that information and guide you in the right direction, and sometimes even let you have a taste. We make it a rule to never say no to free samples; plus it’s a great way to make sure you will actually enjoy the cheese you buy.

When plotting your cheese board, you gotta mix it up. You shouldn’t only stick to one kind of cheese and one texture. Even if you tend to prefer a mild cheese or you know you like specific types of cheese, don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t assume your guests share your taste. Cheese generally falls into four basic categories: aged, soft, firm, or blue. Try to serve a selection of cheese from each category to make sure you offer a variety of flavors, textures, and options for you and your guests.