Cheese boards are ideal for all sorts of occasions. Learn how to assemble a beautiful and elegant cheese platter garnished with nuts, crackers, jams
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but it seems appropriate for this post – I love cheese. LOVE IT, LOVE IT! A cheese platter is one of my most favorite appetizers (or maybe even dinner sometimes) and they a great for cocktail parties and just about any type of entertaining. I’ve pulled together my tips for creating a beautiful cheese board that can be customized for any occasion or season in just a few simple steps.
Pick your Cheeses
First, you need to decide on the cheese. I typically choose four or five different types of cheeses. Usually something aged, something soft, something firm and maybe if the mood strikes you, something blue. You want to pick a variety of colors, textures and tastes.
Plan on 1-2 ounces of cheese per guest. That’s total so if you have 8 guests you’ll want about 10 – 12 ounces of cheese. If you’ve picked a sharp cheddar, a brie, a blue cheese
It can be a nice touch to label each cheese so your guests know what they are tasting.
Some of my favorite cheeses include Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery, Prairie Breeze Cheddar from Milton Creamery, Truffle Tremor and Midnight Moon, both from Cypress Grove. Your local farmer’s market or cheese shop are great places to find unique cheeses.
Add Meat & Bread
Next, you’ll want to add some meats and bread or crackers. I love to serve up my cheeses with some artisanal crackers. My favorite crackers are Lesley Stowe Fig & Olive Raincoast Crisps.
I usually add some toasted sourdough or french bread too. Some people prefer bread to crackers.
I always throw on a few different meats. Prosciutto and salami are good choices here. Pick your favorites or experiment with something new. About half an ounce per guest is a good guideline.
Finish with a few Extras
Adding some accompaniments really makes your cheese board shine. Some savory additions like olives and roasted nuts add a nice balance. A little bit of honey or a nice fig jam adds a hint of sweetness.
A bit of fresh, seasonal fruit is a nice finishing touch. Apples, pears and grapes always work well.
Putting it all Together
Now that you’ve got all of your ingredients it’s time to assemble your cheese board. Grab a large wood cutting board, a slate cheese tray or a big platter. I start by placing my cheeses since they are the highlight of the board. Then add crackers, bread and meats. Fill in the gaps with small dishes of olives, nuts, honey and jam. Arrange your fruit and finish it up with some seasonal decorations like edible flowers for spring and summer or dried leaves and herbs for winter and fall. Don’t forget a few cheese knives to make serving easy.
Meat and cheese boards are incredibly easy to put together and really, anything goes. They are a great way to show your creativity at any time of year!