We asked Mary Richter, longtime culinary director of Surdyk's Cheese Shop (303 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., surdyks.com), to compose an all-Minnesota cheese board. Her recommendations include:

Bent River Alemar Cheese Co.

"This Camembert-style cheese is produced just up the road at the Food Building in northeast Minneapolis. When this double-cream, bloomy rind cheese is perfectly ripe, there is nothing better. It's creamy and dreamy with a hint of mushroom and funk."

Big Woods Blue Shepherd's Way Farms

"Jodi Ohlsen Read, a stellar Minnesota cheesemaker, produces this 100% sheep's milk blue on the family farm in Nerstrand, Minn. Jodi's husband, Steven Read, is shepherd of their lovely flock. Big Woods Blue is dense, with a mineral finish."

Fresh chèvre Donnay Dairy

"Brad Donnay produces all of his cheese from his own herd right on his Kimball, Minn., farm. His fresh chèvre is tangy and creamy. I'd pair it with honey if serving after dinner, or try a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a few red pepper flakes for a before-dinner bite."

Turns out, Richter prefers to serve cheese at the end of the meal. "And then segue into something sweet, or not," she said. "For me, cheese is my favorite dessert."

But for a stress-free appetizer, a grazing board, served with condiments — mustards, preserves, pickled vegetables — bread and/or crackers, cheeses and meats, is a smart option."If you want some meat in the mix, Red Table Meat Company salami is the way to go," she said, referring to the premium, made-in-Minneapolis product. "I'd recommend Salami François, Chuck Fred and Extra Vecchio."