Nick Garcia is a reformed restaurant worker who found his calling in cheese behind the counter at Goat.Sheep.Cow in Charleston, South Carolina three years ago. 

We caught up with Nick to get his insight on building a classic cheeseboard; as Nick points out, nobody does it better than the French. 

To check out Nick's classic French Dessert cheeseboard, click here.  

This post is part of our Holiday Cheers to Cheesemongers series, for more monger spotlights, click here. For more holiday recipe and pairings inspiration, thumb through our recipe collection here.
Name:  Nick Garcia

Cheese shop:  goat.sheep.cow.
 
Cheeseboard: “French Dessert”

How long have you been a cheese monger?
Three years.
 
What brought you to the cheese counter?
A much needed change of pace from a restaurant.  
 
Let’s talk about cheese.
 
What’s the most common question you get asked behind the counter?
What's your favorite cheese?

What should a novice cheese buyer look for in a cheese? 
They should just try to find something that they like.  Don't worry about all the "rules.” Identify a few flavors you like and keep expanding upon them.   

What do you say to a customer who declares that they, “Don’t like goat cheese,” or are put off by an appearance or aroma of a cheese?
"Have you tried this one?" I try to get them to understand that not all cheeses are made equal and not to lump all cheese types together.  I also try to get them to identify the specific flavor profiles they are not a fan of so that I can choose cheeses that maybe have less of that flavor or none at all.  
 
What advice do you have for novice cheese buyers who are building their first cheeseboard? Are there rules?
There are rules, but don't worry about following them for your first board.  If you are going to follow one rule; just mix up the milks to create a nice variety.  Always try to have at least one goat, sheep and cows’ milk cheese.  Other than that just have fun with it!
 
What's one thing about cheese, cheesemaking or the cheese world that would surprise or excite an average cheese buyer?
I think that the sheer variety of cheeses would shock people, as well as the laws that govern cheeses. 

Describe your board and the inspiration behind it. Explain why your particular pairings work well.
To me, the most beautiful dessert is a cheese board with all of the classics.  Not only do you get to have all the little sweets that go along with the cheeses, adding to the "desserty" nature of the course, but it goes beautifully with after dinner cocktails as well.  No one does this better than the French.  

The particular pairings on my platter work well simply because they are classics.  They are tried and true pairings. The one outstanding pairing is the French Gingerbread, which is slightly more savory than the American version, with the Bonne Bouche and just a touch of honey.  It's just divine.