Exclusive Mashed Poll Uncovers Fans' Favorite Cheese For Charcuterie Boards

The art of cheesemaking began over 4,000 years ago, meaning the favorite cheese debate probably goes back centuries. With options only proliferating over time, there are more cheeses to choose from than ever, so how is someone supposed to choose the best cheeses for a cheese board? Everyone seems to have a solid preference for soft versus hard and mild versus sharp, so hosting guests usually means guessing which crowd-pleasing cheeses deserve to make the cut. Our exclusive Mashed poll attempts to settle the matter. Since it went live on July 6, over 26,000 people voted. 

The survey gave participants a choice between five kinds of cheese to determine the must-have favorite on their charcuterie board — and the results were resounding. There were write-in favorites like Manchego, Gruyère, and Fontina from the comments section, but most of the attention fell on the two soft cheeses with somewhat controversial flavors occupying the poll's bottom slots. In last place, goat cheese grabbed only 8% of the vote; Blue cheese edged it out, coming in at 9%. In third place, with 20% of the vote, was a beloved French cheese, Brie.  

In second was the yellow Dutch favorite, Gouda, capturing the hearts of 21% of Mashed voters. As for the winner, think of a crowd-pleasing semi-hard cheese that ranges from mild to extra sharp. That's right, cheddar won the lion's share of votes, with 42% of participants agreeing that they wanted it on their cheese boards before any other options. 

Cheddar is crowned winner

Originally from England, cheddar is beloved for its flavor and texture, especially in the United States, where, according to the USDA, it ranks as the second-most popular overall cheese behind mozzarella. One commenter on Mashed's poll elaborated on their vote: "So many things are sold as Cheddar, but the better aged ones are still my favorites." But what's the secret to cheddar's success?

According to Katy Fenwick, a specialist in cheese education from the U.K., cheddar is always "conforming itself to consumer needs" (via Cheese Professor). With wide production and availability in North America and so many different flavor profiles and varieties (mild, medium, sharp, New York-style, Wisconsin, Vermont, Colby, etc.), cheddar is an exceptionally versatile cheese that fits perfectly on your charcuterie board.

Cheddar has the most variety, working exceptionally well with fruits, nuts, cured meats, crackers, or as a standalone offering. For example, Cabot suggests pairing their cheddar with an earthy salami. However, cheddar's a great cheese for just about anything, which makes it great for cheese boards. After all, a perfect charcuterie board is a balancing act between flavors, and cheddar seems to bring the best of all worlds, able to boldly steal the show or complement other flavors with its creamy and mild varieties.