Cheese platters are one of the mainstays of a party whether it is a casual party or a dinner party. This is an easy how to make a cheese platter that will elevate a traditional party favorite.
You’re hosting a party and planning the details but you want something a little more special, a little wow-worthy to grace the table without spending a lot of time on that classic cheese platter. Today I’m sharing my tips for how to make a cheese platter that will add to the beauty of your food table without spending hours making it. In fact, you may find it’s even easier than cutting and setting rows of cheddar and crackers out on an oval or square plate. **Please note there are affiliate links in this post. You pay nothing extra for shopping through these links.**
First, choose the serving platter.
My secret? A simple cutting board or piece of slate. You likely have a wooden cutting board right in your cabinet so no need to buy anything. However, if you need to update your cutting board situation, John Boos and CuttingBoard.com are currently holding a contest that I’m entering this gorgeous cheese platter into. See how you can enter through 9/30.
Second, choose the cheese.
This is the complicated part. Blue cheese, brie, extra sharp or mild cheddar, gouda, goat’s cheese, fresh mozzarella, feta, triple cream, pepper jack, swiss cheese, spicy cheese like the mango habanero cheese on my cheese plate…decisions, decisions. Keep it simple! Choose 4 of your favorite cheeses with various shapes, textures, and flavors. Remember, we’re talking about how to make a cheese platter in under 10 minutes, not how to spend forever figuring out the cheese!
Third, choose your charcuterie.
Choose 2 or 3. We are loving this herb de provence salami and prosciutto but if you must have pepperoni, go for it. Just buy a stick of something a little higher quality and cut it into nice thick rounds or cubes. No need to get fancy. All I did with the prosciutto is make a loose accordian fold as I set it on the tray.
Fourth, find some fresh and dried fruits to pile into the “white” spaces.
We chose blackberries, dried mango, and apricots but you can use grapes, cantaloupe, figs, pears, peaches, strawberries, pineapple, or pretty much any other fruit you wish. Google comes in handy when you are looking for fruit and cheese pairings. May I say that blackberries and goat’s cheese are fantastic with a dab of honey?
Fifth, add some nuts or seeds.
If there are allergy concerns, honey roasted sunflower seeds and salted pepitas work nicely. We love adding lightly salted roasted peanuts but another great option for this cheese platter would be walnuts, almonds, and pistachios.
Sixth, add a sweet.
I always add some type of honey, jam , or chutney to the cheese platter. My go-to is Honey Ridge spiced honey creme.
Create an elegant arrangement.
One of the most important keys for elegance is how to make a cheese platter that looks well put together but doesn’t look too arranged.
- Start with the base, which is your cheese. Place the cheese on the tray in an asymmetrical style. Don’t have everything facing the same direction. See my picture for an idea of what I am talking about. If you have several round cheeses set them diagonally from each other so one side of your cheese platter doesn’t look unbalanced.
- Next, place your “sweet” in the center of the platter.
- Arrange your fruit in some of the larger spaces, leaving room to add any charcuterie.
- Arrange your charcuterie on the plate. Again, keep in mind you don’t want your charcuterie to be precisely set across from each other or in little squares. Also keep in mind that it is flattering to add dimensional with different shapes – like salami rounds next to a rectangular piece of cheese and prosciutto next to round cheese.
- Finally, fill in holes with seeds and nuts.
- Tuck your cheese knives, honey dipper and/or spoons in where there is space and you are set.
Again, one of the most important things I can stress is not to overthink how you arrange your cheese platter. I keep things that taste good together in the vicinity of each other. Blackberries piled beside the goat’s cheese is both for aesthetic and the fact they taste divine together. Don’t think it through too much and don’t set your components in compartmentalized order. You want it to look “thrown” on there with some thought to order.
Ready to make your own cheese platter? Follow these tips then find details on how to enter a photo of your cheese platter at cuttingboard.com. Contest ends 9/30/17.
Want my tips for creating an easy photo op?
- Start with a black tablecloth and take your setup outside.
- Find a spot that isn’t heavily shaded but has indirect light as bright sunshine or heavy shadows will make getting the proper lighting more work.
- Gray cloudy days that are still bright give the perfect lighting.
- KISS – Keep It Simple (SILLY)! You don’t need a lot of props. Let your cheese platter be the focus.
- Grab my printable checklist that makes planning a cheese platter easy here or by clicking on the printable checklist image below.
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