The dark color of slate contrasts beautifully with the vibrant colors of cheeses, veggies, and meats. What isn’t so eye-catching is the oil slick that can remain on your cheese board after all of your tasty treats have been consumed.
The small challenges of hosting the perfect party are seemingly unending, but cleaning your slate doesn’t have to be one of them. However, this doesn’t mean you should give up and go straight for a plastic cheese board.
In fact, plastic cheese boards and cutting boards could be a significant source of microplastics, according to a 2023 study published in Environmental Science & Technology. Furthermore, slate boards (especially upcycled slate) are more eco-friendly and have a high-end aesthetic that will help you impress your family and friends with your culinary prowess.
Whether you need help with preparation or presentation, we’ve put together the ultimate guide for how to clean your slate cheese board, as well as other helpful tips and tricks.
Writing on your Slate Cheese Board
To take it up a notch, help your guests chew over what’s included on your charcuterie board by writing out complicated cheese and meat names with edible or non-toxic chalk. This will help your guests differentiate one stinky cheese from the next, and it carries the added bonus of making your food arrangement look stunning.
Some people like to use regular sidewalk chalk or classroom chalk. However, traditional chalk can leave behind some dust you wouldn’t want flying around on your food.
We recommend using soapstone, which is made primarily of magnesium. Unlike regular chalk, it doesn’t create any dust and is safe to consume. Plus, whether writing in chicken scratch or curly calligraphy, it’s easy to erase any spelling errors with the swipe of a damp towel.
Cutting on Your Slate Cheese Board
There are a lot of rumors that slate isn’t the healthiest cutting board for the life of your knife. Since slate is stone, which is substantially harder and denser than wood or plastic, you risk the chance of dulling your knife, or worse, chipping or scratching your cheese board.
To be on the safe side, consider cutting softer foods like cheese, meats, or cooked veggies (versus hard carrots or tough meats) on your board, as it will lessen the chance of harming your slate’s surface. If you’ve already done some damage to your knives, be sure to invest in a high-quality sharpener.
Temperature and Your Slate Cheese Board
Being made from volcanic ash, it’s safe to say slate can handle the heat, but surprisingly, it thrives in polar temperatures too. A big bonus to using slate is its ability to hold in temperature.
Store your slate in the fridge or freezer prior to serving to keep your fruit chilled and your prosciutto cold before the party begins and through the entire evening. You can also place hot food or pots on your slate for a steady tray of warmth throughout the night.
While slate is a conductor of heat and is essentially fireproof, we recommend not cooking food on it. Thicker slates may be able to take the heat from a backyard BBQ, but thinner cuts used for cheeseboards can crack or break under intense heat. Similarly, large fluctuations in temperature could also permanently damage your slate by creating large flakes or cracks. If you plan on heating or chilling your slate, make sure it has a chance to come back to room temperature before washing or using it again.
Eating on Your Slate Cheese Board
Unlike wood, slate is a non-porous material. This attribute makes it perfect for platters touting stinky cheeses and intensely flavored meats. More specifically, slate doesn’t hold on to bacteria, flavors, or smells the way wooden cutting boards do. So, load up on the Limburger and Brie and get the wine party started!
Most slate boards are sealed with an FDA-approved sealant coat that is food-safe and keeps your slate in proper condition. Some slate cheese board makers use a one-time coat that is meant to last a lifetime, so you don’t have to worry about it. Other boards, however, may need reapplication after an extended period of use. You can find a food-safe mineral oil online and apply it to your slate after it has been washed and dried to help maintain its polished look.
Cleaning Your Slate Cheese Board
Removing cheesy oil residue and bread crumbs can be done without filling your kitchen sink with soapy water. In fact, we recommend that you don’t submerge your board. Water that is too hot or too cold could harm the slate, while rough movements from the dishwasher could crack it or cause flakes.
To clean your slate, use a nonabrasive sponge or washcloth and gently scrub soapy warm water against the board. Take a separate cloth and wet it with cool water to wipe away any soapy suds. You could also rinse the board under cold water—so long as you trust yourself not to drop it.
If you find an oily stain that won’t go away, you can make a natural cleaning solution of lemon juice and baking soda, or even a mixture of vinegar and water to help remove it. We suggest not using bleach or other harsh chemicals on your slate as it can deteriorate any sealants that protect the stone.
Storing Your Slate Cheese Board
Store your cheeseboard in a cool, dry location where you know it won’t fall to its demise. While placing it protectively in a kitchen cabinet can assure it’ll last until your next party, don’t be afraid to showcase your slate on your dining room table. After all, seeing your slate board out in the open might tempt you to use it a little more.