How to Build the Ultimate Cheese Platter
You're starting to preparing for your holiday party and you're trying to figure out what to feed your guests. Then it comes to you...a cheese plate! It's an appetizer that everyone likes and provides a nice variety that your guests will definitely enjoy. But where do you start? What kinds of cheese do you buy? Well, there's a beautiful art that goes into making a cheese plate and I'm here to help!
All you need to remember are these 5 steps and you're all set. Let's dive in, shall we?
Step 1: Picking the Right Cheese
With such a huge selection of cheese at your grocery store, how do you know what the right one is for your platter? The best way to start off is understanding that you need a variety of different textures and flavors to make the best plate. I personally like picking a cheese from each of the following categories:
- Aged: Aged Cheddar, Comte, Gouda
- Soft: Constant Bliss, Brie, Camembert, Brillat-Savarin
- Firm: Manchego, Mimolette, Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Blue: Gorgonzola Dolce, Stilton, Valdeón
The exact cheese you pick is based on personal preference. I generally like going with Old Amsterdam Aged Gouda, Triple Creme Brie from France, Manchego, and Point Reyes Original Blue.
When plating your cheese it's really up to you how you do it. I always prefer having my hard cheeses on one board and then my brie and blue cheese together on a second board. That way if your aged cheese smells it's not directly next to the smelly blue cheese which can make the aroma a little too heavy for some.
Step 2: Building the Charcuterie Plate
You can't have cheese without a stellar charcuterie plate to go alongside with it! Don't overthink the meat you pick for your platter. I generally like going for ones that you know everyone likes: Prosciutto, Salami, Mortadella, Coppa, Chorizo, etc.
Just like the cheese, it's nice having a variety of different meats. So if you have 4 cheeses, I would recommend 3-4 different types of meats to go along with your cheese plate. I love setting up the meats right next to the cheese that I think it goes best with. For example, I love having goat cheese or brie with prosciutto, so I always pair them together on a plate.
You can lay your meats out flat, or what I like to do sometimes is bundle them up, so they look folded giving your platter a 3D look.
Step 3: The Fixings
Now that you have your selection of cheeses and meats it's time to figure out what else you serve alongside them. Everything else you add to your table is really a personal choice, but here are some options I've found to be very successful at parties:
- Olives, mini pickles, pickled artichoke hearts
- Sweet peppers, celery, cucumbers carrots
- French bread, Rosemary & Raisin crackers, assortment crackers
- Honey, fig jam (or any other kind of jam)
- Blueberries, grapes, apples, dried apricots, raisins
- Walnuts, pecans, almonds
- Dark chocolate
- Hummus, spinach and kale dip
Having a lot of sides to choose from means that everyone at your party will be happy with at least one item you're serving. And if you have any guests that are gluten free make sure you purchase 1 pack of gluten free crackers, or you can serve the cucumbers and small pieces of lettuce to use with their cheese. Both are crunchy so it has the same effect as a cracker while being a little more on the healthy side ;)
Step 4: The Wine
No cheese platter is complete without some wine! You can really serve any kind of wine you like. Based on your own favorites or your guests it's always good to serve at least one bottle of red and one bottle of white (depending on your party size, of course). I always like to go with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Both are safe wine options when serving a large group of guests.
Step 5: Enjoy!
You've spent the last few days dreaming of your cheese plate and the last few hours putting it together, so now it's time for you to enjoy it with some good company! The most important thing to remember when you're putting your platter together is to have fun, be creative and don't be afraid to try out some new cheeses you haven't before! I promise you and your guests won't be disappointed. Happy cheesing!