“Cheese is disgusting and tastes horrible.” – Said no one ever.
I love cheese. Cheese. Cheese. Cheese. Here it goes down, down into my belly. (If you don’t get the Ron Burgundy reference, just ignore me.)
When entertaining, there is almost nothing easier and more appealing to serve than a gorgeous cheese platter. All you have to do is buy cheese and other items for the platter and beautifully arrange them. It’s so simple.
But after years of hosting get togethers – and assembling many, many cheese platters – I have found that there are some great tips to keep in mind when serving a cheese platter.
Size. Don’t make a huge platter for a small gathering. I’m quite guilty of this, which results in way too much leftover cheese (if there is such a thing) when everyone has gone home. Likewise, don’t make too small of a platter, leaving all the guests wanting more. A good rule of thumb is one to two ounces of cheese per person.
How many cheeses. Sometimes one really amazing cheese is enough, but I usually prefer two or three. Unless, of course, cheese is the centerpiece of the party. In which case: (1) you are a marvel for hosting a cheese-focused party; and (2) you’ll need five or six types of cheese.
Selecting cheeses. Ahhh! So many amazing options. Think texture and taste. And then try to achieve the perfect combination of both.
For texture, serving a creamy cheese (like, a triple-crème brie), next to a semi-hard, aged cheese (like, an Irish cheddar or Beecher’s Flagship) is perfection.
For taste, a variety of mild to sharp cheeses can satisfy all types of taste buds. One person’s stinky Limburger is another person’s buttery Gouda.
Items other than cheese. Although you can absolutely serve a simple platter with cheese and crackers, you will make a real impression with other accompaniments.
Some of my favorites: different types of nuts (hello, pistachios and rosemary marcona almonds!), fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit spread, olives or olive tapenade, and dry-cured meats (like salami, prosciutto or, my all-time fav, mortadella).
You can also fill a ramekin with honey, or even better, put a piece of honeycomb right on the platter, which never fails to fascinate and start a conversation.
Mixing up the bread and crackers is also a good idea. Cheese wafers, flatbread, bread sticks. The possibilities are as simple as selecting a few boxes in the cracker aisle.
Arranging the platter. Arrange by item in piles. Keep the plate colorful and organized, so that people are drawn to the plate, but can easily identify what they are eating. If you have them, adorn the cheese with a cheese marker, so people know what kind of delicious cheese they are devouring.
* Image source: What’s Gaby Cooking