We asked Amanda Anderson, wine and cheese director for The Hills Market Downtown, to help us build a cheese board that is sure to impress palates of all stripes. "The best cheese boards look kind of like they are a mess, but they really are not," Anderson said.

We asked Amanda Anderson, wine and cheese director for The Hills Market Downtown, to help us build a cheese board that is sure to impress palates of all stripes. "The best cheese boards look kind of like they are a mess, but they really are not," Anderson said.

Start with a theme

Anderson recommends starting the cheese board assembly process with a theme in mind. "Here in Ohio," she said, "a lot of people like to focus using as many local products as possible."

Types of cheeses

A hard cheese

Anderson is a fan of Kokoborrego cheese (from Mt. Gilead, OH), and recommends their Headwaters Tomme. The blue line that runs through the center of the cheese makes it particularly Instagram-able, as well as a perfect centerpiece on the board.

A semi-soft cheese

Semi-soft cheeses include Gouda, cheddar, pepper jack and the like. Anderson recommends Gallipolis, OH-based Laurel Valley Creamery's pepper jack cheese, because it is loaded with festive and flavorful Jalapeno peppers. "It's also really fresh and crunchy," Anderson said.

A soft cheese

Who doesn't love a super-soft cheese like brie? Anderson likes Fromager d'Affinois Brie for parties because "it's just a big, oozy, buttery cheese. It goes everywhere," she said with a laugh.

A goat or sheep's milk cheese

Lactose-intolerant guests often fare better with cheeses made from goat or sheep's milk. She recommends the Gouda or cheese curds from Wauseon, OH's Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery.

A sweet treat cheese

"It's always good to have a fruity cheese on the board," Anderson said. A go-to of hers is the British PUC (Pretty Unique Cheese)'s Creamy Cinnamon dessert cheese. "It has cinnamon, apples and raisons in it, and it's really nice heated up or just by itself," she explained.

Optional: A vegan cheese

Your vegan friends don't have to miss out on your fabulous cheese board because there are so many great plant-based options available right now. Kite Hill and Treeline cheeses are among the tastiest and can be purchased at Whole Foods.

Accoutrements

A handful of nuts

Any nuts will do, but Anderson is partial to the slow-roasted, caramelized peanuts made locally by My Dadz Nutz.

Fruit

Berries and grapes are universally popular on cheese boards, but Anderson loves decorating her boards with thin slices of tart green apple and a little bit of local honey. To keep the apple slices from browning, just soak them in lemon water prior to placing them on the board.

Fruit jam

New Albany's Black Radish Creamery makes jams specifically for pairing with cheese, in a variety of flavors (like concord grape and raspberry). The jams "are delicious on their own, good in cocktails, and good on cheese," Anderson said.

Dry salami or prosciutto

Dry meat that is easy to slice and serve adds extra depth to a cheese board.

Dark chocolate

A nice, dark chocolate with nuts or sea salt pairs well with harder cheeses. A Lindt Roasted Almond Excellence dark chocolate bar, broken into squares, will do the trick.

Carbs

A fresh-baked, sliced baguette or crackers of your choosing round out Anderson's cheese board.