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Appetizers & Sides, Food

How to Make a Cheese Platter

Cheese platters are the ultimate hors d’oeuvres for parties and gatherings. They also make great snacks and meals. Assembling a mouthwatering platter requires some basic knowledge on what makes one fabulous.

Here are some steps and tips for creating your cheese platter:

Cheese

Photo: Star Market

Photo: Star Market

The first and most important step is to select the cheese. When serving a group, three to four different cheeses are best since it gives the guests some options without overwhelming them with choices. Cheese comes in wide varieties, from different textures to different milks, which creates many flavors. Picking out the cheeses for your platter can be a fun and creative endeavor.

For an ultimate cheese platter, it is important to choose a variety of textured and flavored cheeses. This allows the guests to experiment and sample different cheeses. For example, you can serve a firm sharp cheddar cheese, a soft herbed goat cheese, and a nutty aged gouda. Serve at least one familiar cheese, and the rest can be as exotic or familiar as desired. After assembling a few cheese platters with different cheeses, you are on your way to becoming a cheese connoisseur.

Tip: Cheese is more flavorful at a room temperature. Take the cheeses out of the refrigerator an hour before serving.

Bread and Crackers

Photo: The Urban Baker

Photo: The Urban Baker

A cheese platter without crackers or bread is like cereal without milk. It’s incomplete. Cheese platters are more delightful when there are a variety of crackers to sample such as thick and thin, white and wheat. Bread, such as baguettes, adds a nice texture for the cheese tasting experience. Use bakery bread since store bought bread doesn’t have the same fresh quality.

Tip: Often, it is best to opt for plain bread and crackers since flavored ones may not go well with the cheese pairings. The exception is if you’re serving a cheese you absolutely know will taste better with a specific flavored cracker/bread.

Condiments

Photo: Castello Cheese

Photo: Castello Cheese

While a platter containing only cheese and crackers is fine, it’s not as exciting as one jazzed up with condiments. Traditionally olives, toasted nuts, prosciutto, salami, jams, dried fruits, fresh fruits, and honey are crowd pleasers. You’ll want to make sure the condiment pairs nicely with at least one cheese. For example, ricotta goes well with a sweet condiment like honey, whereas prosciutto pairs nicely with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Arrangement

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Plate

A wooden cutting board is an attractive option for serving the cheeses. Using a large platter may provide enough space to fit cheeses, breads/crackers, and condiments. If you’re having trouble finding room for everything, use separate dishes for the crackers, breads, and condiments.

Spacing

If the cheeses are too closely aligned, it will be difficult for guests to easily serve themselves.  Allow enough room for individuals to cut the cheeses without accidently coming into contact with any other cheese.

Knives

Mini knives will enhance the platter’s appearance, causing it to appear more appealing. It’s best to provide a knife for each cheese as to avoid mixing the cheese flavors. (If the cheeses are too hard and may be a struggle for your guests to cut, feel free to slice the cheese beforehand. )

Label

Sometimes cheeses look alike. Guest will want to know what flavor of cheese they are selecting.

Once you’ve assembled your cheese plate, it’s time to serve. Enjoy! Let us know which cheeses you put on your platter!

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