Cheese platter 101 (how to make a cheese platter) - ROYAL CRAFT WOOD

Making a stunning cheese board is easier than you think! Whether you are hosting a few friends, planning appetizers for a big meal, or just want an easy supper, a cheese board offers something for everyone without major hassle for you – the host. We have some ideas for a cheese board that will impress everyone!

The best tips for making cheese platter

An easy and delicious cheese plate appetizer is perfect for a party, holiday entertaining, and any occasion! In this step-by-step tutorial, we’ll show you how to make an amazing cheese plate every time for any budget. Let’s start with cheese board ideas for the party.

Choosing a cheese board

The perfect cheese board for you
The perfect cheese board for you

The first step in making cheese boards is choosing the right board for this. If visiting a cheese shop is regular and normal for you, then offering your curated delicacies on the best cheese board is a must. Cheese boards are typically assembled on a slate or wooden tray, which may be square, rectangular, or round. If you want to create something fancy and special, you definitely need a good cheese board. This product is for those who love both stylish and convenient things. Picking the right cheese board can mean the difference between a ho-hum appetizer platter and a wow-factor party pleaser that guests won’t soon forget. We will help you to make the right choice. 

Bamboo wood board

The most common choice for serving cheese which is reliable, easy to clean, and economical, a wooden cheese or serving board can help you with any cooking task. Presentation matters just as much as the provenance of the said cheese. When choosing a wooden cheese board, it’s important you pick a species that will not absorb flavors easily. The bamboo is the best choice for those who love the unique styles, organic products and want to be safe.

Marble boards

A marble board offers a beautiful and cool surface on which to store cheese and will not absorb smells, though marble is still porous and requires care. Unfortunately, marble is porous, as are some types of granite, so it is very possible for your beloved cheese board to emit foul odors if not properly taken care of. A food-safe sealer or cleaner is highly recommended, as most typical sealers are not made for marble that will not be touching food.

Stone boards

Stone cheese boards will provide the best temperature zone for your cheese platter. These are dense materials and retain a large amount of heat mass for their size. 

Slate boards

A stylish slate board
A stylish slate board

Slate is a relatively new material in the kitchen world, but has become rapidly popular for use as servers and … you guessed it, cheese boards. Why?  For one, kitchen slate is non-porous and does not absorb flavors or smells from the surrounding environment. Unlike marble, which is prone to etching from acids (wine, tomato sauce), slate is not as reactive as less prone to discoloration.

Glass boards

Last but not least, glass cheese boards. Glass is almost a perfect material for cheese because it is non-porous, dishwasher safe (and thus, easy to clean), requires no maintenance, and can make for a clean presentation piece. Glass doesn’t have the thermal mass of marble, so it won’t help cool cheese down on a warm day, however (think about how fast a hot cup of coffee will get in a glass cup).

Choosing a great accessory

Mini bowls for olives, nuts, jam, and honeycomb will add your cheese platter a Sharm and awesome style. Cheese knives, accessories for honey, and jam are also the must for a stylish cheese platter to impress your guests. Add small spoons or spreaders to bowls of jam, place toothpicks out for snatching up fruit and olives, and don’t forget the cheese knives! Serve each cheese with its own knife to keep flavors separate from one another. You don’t want your Brie tasting like blue cheese!

  1. Spade or spear-tipped knife: hard, semi-hard, and semi-soft cheeses
  2. Spreader or plane knife: semisoft, soft and fresh, creamy cheeses
  3. Flat knife: crumbly cheese (like blue cheese) and for shaving hard cheese
  4. Cheese fork: Use to hold hard cheeses in place while slicing. Can also be used on crumbly cheese or for placing cheese.

What to put on a cheese board

Having some variety–both for your tastebuds and for your eyes–is half the fun! So, you’ll want to include a good mix of items. Don’t worry too much about having a huge amount of any one thing for a simple cheese platter–if it goes fast, well, you know it was well-liked!

Cheese

Different types of cheese
Different types of cheese

For a cheese board, it seems reasonable to think first about the types of cheese you choose, right? Aim for some variety along these two spectrums:

  • – mild vs. medium vs. strong
  • – hard vs. soft

The terms mild, medium, or strong refer to the flavor strength of the cheese, which is determined in large part by the length of time a cheese matures. In general, the longer a cheese matures, the stronger its flavor will be.

Benefits of cheese

Just saying the word makes you smile—and not because photographers ask us to say it when we pose. Cheese contains a host of nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. Cheese’s proven health benefits include supporting healthy bones, supporting healthy heart, and strong teeth. It’s also a great source of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Cheese can help prevent cancer, and reduce stress. Other benefits include promoting brain functionimmunity, and supporting gut health.

Hard cheese

Dense, complex, and often with strong notes of hazelnut and sautéed butter, hard cheeses bring depth wherever they go. The family of hard cheeses has members aged both in history and maturation. Their rounded and tangy nuances work wonders in dishes and salads, offering a wholesome experience when enjoyed on their own.

Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmesan is crowned the king of cheeses, this Italian pure-blood is sharp, intense, and full-bodied in taste. The texture is firm when young, becoming granular and crystallized as its ages. Aged for at least 12 months, the secret to its iconic flavor lies in its maturation. Pair with walnuts, zesty pear, and champagne or sparkling wine.

Pecorino

This Italian classic, made using fresh milk from sheep, has been produced in the same way for over two millennia. Slightly milder than Parmigiano-Reggiano, notes of spice and caramelized butter stretch its palate in the union, offering a savory and full-bodied profile. Pair with fresh figs, honey, and white wine.

Gorgonzola

Tastiest gorgonzola
Tastiest gorgonzola

It is sometimes referred to as “Italian blue cheese.” It’s firm, crumbly, salty and it also has blue veining. The blue veining is what gives it an extra bite. Enjoy it with your usual pasta and salad. In Italy, it is used to top short pasta; long pasta (spaghetti) is usually avoided. If you’re a pizza lover, you can also top your pizza with Gorgonzola crumbs.

Note: This list of hard cheeses discusses some of the more popular types of hard cheese available. Do keep in mind that it barely touches the tip of the iceberg though. There are many more delicious kinds of cheese out there to try.

Soft cheese

Soft cheeses offer a highly rich and unique taste, flavor, and aroma to every cheese connoisseur out there. These are known for their amazingly mild taste and creamy, moist, and buttery textures that just seem to melt in the mouth. Some of the most popular soft cheeses are mentioned below.

Cream cheese

It is a kind of fresh cheese that is made from cream and milk. Cream cheese is one of those cheeses that are used in both savory and sweet foods for example, many people use it as savory dips for snacks and also to make cheesecakes. 

Feta cheese

A soft feta cheese
A soft feta cheese

This has to be one of the most popular types of cheese that are featured in a variety of different foods and recipes. The most popular use of feta cheese is in a variety of salads since it crumbles up easily. Some people also prefer to use flatbreads and pizzas as an alternative to the typically used mozzarella cheese.

Goat Cheese

As the name suggests, this cheese is made from goat’s milk and is one of the most popular dairy products that is thoroughly enjoyed all across the globe. Goat cheese comes in a number of varieties with different flavors and textures. These include salty and crumbly aged cheese to super moist and creamy spreadable cheese.

Ricotta Cheese

This is a famous Italian whey cheese that is made from the leftovers of other cheeses that come from sheep’s milk, Italian water buffalo milk, or even goat’s milk. Common culinary uses of the ricotta cheese include Italian desserts like cheesecakes and cannoli. It may even be used in a variety of savory dishes like different pasta, pizza, calzones, lasagna, and ravioli. Some people even substitute it for mayonnaise and use it as a sauce thickener.

Camembert

The best feature of the Camembert cheese is its insides that are super moist and runny. So, when you cut into a slice of this cheese that has been kept at room temperature, you are likely to feast your eyes on a buttery, runny interior that will surely make you want to dive right into it. One of the best combinations of this cheese is pairing it with light red wine, or perhaps with cider, which is actually what it is traditionally paired with.

Brie cheese

It is a soft cow milk cheese. This cheese is named after Brie, the French region from which it originated. Brie may be produced from whole or semi-skimmed milk. This type of cheese is a good source of protein; a serving of Brie can provide 5 to 6 grams of protein. Brie contains a good amount of both vitamin B12 and vitamin B2.

Buffalo Mozzarella

This cheese belongs to the “pasta filata” family and has quite a fresh, moist, and semi-elastic texture. Unlike most cheeses, this one is rich in calcium and protein and is lower in cholesterol because it is made from buffalo milk.

Crumbly cheeses

Different crumbly cheeses
Different crumbly cheeses

This is a cheese that is moist but dense and firm. Crumbly cheeses will break into pieces when squeezed but will never become soft at room temperature. A crumbly cheese will weep as it warms but maintains its crumbly texture. It may have a bit of spring to it and can bounce back when pressed, but enough pressure will cause it to break along natural fault lines. A crumbly cheese will never be soft enough to spread.

Asiago

This northern Italian cow’s milk cheese is a nice addition to pasta dishes and cheese plates. Older and more aged Asiago cheese loses moisture, making it harder and causing the sweetness to become less pronounced. Instead, its flavor is more savory, sharp, and tangy.

Roncal

Because this cheese is produced from raw whole milk of two unique breeds of sheep that graze in the mountain regions of northern Spain, it can be a challenge to find. Its aroma is intense and its flavor is strong, slightly piquant, and buttery.

Manchego

This cheese got its name because it originally was made from whole milk produced by Manchego sheep that grazed in the La Mancha area of Spain. Manchego-style cheeses are made to taste similar to true Manchego cheese, with a hint of bitterness and a warm, nutty flavor. Enjoy Manchego on its own or paired with olives, almonds, dried fruit, or crusty bread.

How much cheese per person

Cheese for a platter
Cheese for a platter

First, the quantity: If you’re serving the cheese as an hors d’oeuvre, plan on 1 to 2 ounces of each cheese per person. If you’re serving the cheese as an after-dinner cheese course, figure 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of each cheese per person. If you’re serving cheese after dinner, then you can go one of two ways — serve just one rich and creamy cheese such as the easy-to-find triple-crème cheese called St. Andre — or go for full-flavored cheeses like Manchego, cheddar, aged gouda, and/or blue cheeses.

Other ingredients for a cheese board

There are SO many choices when it comes to building your cheese plate – and there’s really no right or wrong way to do it! We will give you some variants to choose from.

Fruits and vegetables

Add fresh fruit or veggies to a cheese plate for a burst of color and flavor. Some of our favorites:

Fruits (choose 2-3 variants):

  • Fresh berries (pro tip: slice strawberries in half lengthwise THROUGH the stem and leave the greenery on for a fun presentation)
  • Grapes (leave the stems on!)
  • Apple or pear slices (put these out at the last minute and drizzle with a splash of lemon juice to keep them from browning!)
  • Fresh figs
  • Sliced Peaches or Plums
  • Cherry tomatoes

Veggies (1-2 variants):

  • Pickled veggies (carrots, cucumber, radishes, etc.)
  • Baby carrots
  • Radishes
  • Roasted red peppers 

Charcuterie

Several types of meat for the best platter
Several types of meat for the best platter

When choosing a few types of meat to complement the cheese, all the same principles apply! Especially if you’re feeding a variety of adults and kids, you might aim for one mild, kid-friendly option, like salami or even deli turkey, and then a somewhat more exciting option with a pepper or spice coating, for instance.

Bread, crackers, and more from the pantry

When it comes down to the crackers and bread, honestly most of the time we just use whatever we have in the pantry. If you’re planning and shopping explicitly for a party, or looking for pantry-stocking ideas, you can buy everything you want to add for your cheese platter. Crackers are a crucial part of the cheese platter. Add them around the platter. If you’re using a smaller board you can put these on the side, but we love them on the platter.

Nuts

Pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts all work well with various cheese pairings. Keep the nuts simple (salted or unsalted) and then consider adding one fun flavor. We recently tried toasted coconut almonds on a cheese board and they were a fun twist of flavors.

Add something sweet

You have all your favorite cheeses, crackers, fresh fruit, and dark chocolate. It is truly the perfect combo of sweet and savory, and it makes for a super impressive dessert spread for any special date-night or get-together.

Condiments

They are often underestimated and forgotten but if you want to have a good cheese platter, pay attention to the condiments you add.  

  • Mustard. Mustard goes well with strong-flavored cheeses like cheddar. 
  • Fruit bars. Fruit bars for a cheese platter? What? Turns out, it’s a really good condiment. Fruit bars are normally the size of a regular energy bar. 
  • Honey. It’s a delicious condiment for both strong and mild kinds of cheese. Try it with blue cheese like Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola, and with French goat cheeses.
  • Jams and Jellies. Try serving cheese with onion, tomato, and other vegetable jams. You can serve jams with Camembert, Brie, and Swiss cheeses. Sweet jellies like the ones made from apricot and grapes are also a way to go with cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, triple-creme cheeses, blue, and goat cheeses.

Top ideas for a cheese platter

Do you want to make a fancy and yummy cheese platter on a budget? Here are our top ideas for you.

Cut cheese differently

Stylish cheese platter
Stylish cheese platter

If you do want to stick to sliced cheese, you have to do it right. When we are talking about cutting cheese, the shape of the wedge is a factor. Here is how it works.

  • Rounds & Squares

It’s an easy way to slice cheese, but it can only be a fit for certain types of cheeses. Brie and Double Brie; Blue Brie; Camembert; Soft Washed Rinds; Fruit and Savory Cheese.

  • Block cheese. Cheddar; Fetta; Cream Cheese Block; Haloumi.
  • Wedges. When cutting blue cheese, start from the bottom center to the thin. Gorgonzola Styles; Danish Blue; Blue Stilton; Roquefort. Hard and semi-hard cheeses can also be sliced in wedges.
  • Served in a bowl. Mascarpone; Cottage Cheese; Soft Cream Cheese.
  • Pyramid or Cone Shaped Cheese

  When you are cutting these, make sure you start slicing from the top center. The technique is used for cheeses like Goat’s cheese.

Keep your cheese plate fresh

If you know a cheese plate will sit out for a while, put the cheese out in waves. Also, if you have one board, put half the ingredients out at first, and then replenish after an hour. If you sometimes make two smaller, identical cheese boards, keep the second one in the fridge until the first one is close to running out. It’s also easy to toss some more crackers or nuts onto a cheese plate, so don’t worry about putting every single thing out at once!

Simplicity

Cheeseboards can be very simple and require very little day-of preparation. Plus, if you have a well-stocked pantry, it will be even easier! Just keep items like olives, raw nuts, and jam in your pantry. These items should be ready at all times to be added to a cheeseboard. These items are very good additions to any cheeseboard.

Luxurious looking

Cheese boards are really easy to make beautiful. Just include key ingredients, and then let the ingredients shine. The more you practice arranging cheeseboards, the more comfortable you will become with the art of piling-high. How to make a perfect and tasty cheese platter in 5 steps? They look so tantalizing and extraordinary, here’s your chance to make one of your own.

  1. Choosing cheese. Cheddar, blue cheese, feta, mozzarella or cottage cheese? Or everything together? 
  2.  Slicing cheese. You can slice cheese in 4 ways: rounds & squares, wedges, blocks, or just serve in a bowl.
  3. Add salty things. And adding salty stuff is an essential component if you want your guests to enjoy the platter. Charcuterie and dry-cured meat.
  4. Sweet things and crackers. The most popular sweet stuff for a cheese platter are apricots, apples, and pears. Crackers deserve a special place on your cheese platter too!
  5. Condiments. They are often underestimated and forgotten but if you want to have a good cheese platter, pay attention to the condiments you add. Yay! Now your cheese platter is awesome! Enjoy.

Helps cater to all dietary restrictions

Many of us have guests with dietary restrictions. In such cases, you can easily include a gluten-free option, a full-protein or high-fat products (like nuts), or other items that accommodate special dietary needs all on a cheese platter. A good host knows about the tastes and restrictions of his guests and tries to accommodate their needs. There’s nothing worse than putting out food, just to realize your guest isn’t able to enjoy any of it, right?

Everyone loves a delicious cheese board

Have you ever met someone who DOESN’T enjoys a beautifully styled cheese board with yummy cheese, crackers, nuts, and etc.? Really, it is very important to pair elements of your cheese platter smartly. This can create some of the most delicious flavor combinations guests have ever come across. Everybody loves cheeseboards!

Focus on what is important

Imagine that you are simply opening packages of cheese, crackers, and etc. You don’t have to worry about spending time on it before guests arrive. You can spend 20-30 minutes preparing a cool cheese board and still have free time for more important tasks. Like mixing cocktails, for example 🙂 A glass of wine, sliced cheese, and some crackers on the tray is just enough to impress your guests. The best healthy snack is definitely cheese. Save the best snack: tomato slices with buffalo cheese and olive oil. This combination contains fat and protein, and tomatoes are packed with antioxidants.

How to make a cheese plate on a budget

A perfect cheese board
A perfect cheese board

Cheese is DELICIOUS, but it can also get EXPENSIVE. Here are a few wallet-friendly shortcuts we like to take when building a cheese plate on a budget.

Choose the right number of ingredients

Pare down the number of items on the plate. It’s definitely FUN to have five different kinds of cheese on a plate, but it’s not NECESSARY. If you’re on a budget, choose just one or two cheeses. Cut them into pieces and put each cheese in multiple places on the board so that it still looks full and delicious! Look for cheeses on sale! The best budget cheeses are St. Andre, Irish Cheddar, Aged Gouda, Gruyere, Comte, and Manchego can be made (somewhat) cheaply without losing too much of its character in translation. Most of these block cheddars and generic swiss, havartis, and fontinas, etc. are excellent for cooking and make great melters. 

Skip the fancy stuff 

You don’t need a bunch of super-fancy (read: EXPENSIVE) cheeses on your plate for it to be a hit. There are plenty of cheeses that taste great and won’t break the bank. Aldi has a great, budget-friendly selection, and Vermont Creamery makes amazing goat cheeses at low price points.

Get the cheap crackers

If you’re going to spend money on anything for a cheese plate, it should be the cheese. Don’t worry about $4-a-box packs of 20 crackers if you’re on a budget – grab some Ritz or Wheat Thins and call it a day. (I promise no one will mind!) If you can find a cheap baguette at your grocery store (we can usually get them for $2-$4) grab one of those and slice it into thin pieces to stretch it out.

Skip the nuts if needed

Nuts and a cheese platter
Nuts and a cheese platter

Nuts can get pricey. Around here, peanuts are the cheapest variety to buy but shave some money off your bill by skipping the nuts altogether and filling those spaces with extra arugula or in-season fruit.

Shop in seasons and go light on the charcuterie

It’s almost always cheaper to buy fruits and veggies when they’re in season! Aside from cheese, meat can be one of the most expensive parts of a cheese and charcuterie plate. If I’m on a budget but want some extra protein, I’ll hit the deli counter and get some simple deli salami and sliced ham or turkey. I’m also usually happy to skip the meat entirely and add some extra fruit or crackers to round out the plate.

How to make a cheese board look attractive

Cheese platters can be pricey, but there are ways to save money. Truly it’s just about spending less money on items. We will help you to get maximum with these tips!

Packaged cheese

Use packaged cheese like cheddar and cut it into cubes. Not all of the cheese has to be fancy imported cheese. Add a little bit of both. Trader Joe’s has a wonderful selection of cheese and crackers for good prices. You can find almost everything on this platter there.

Buy items on sale

Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables

Buy fruits and nuts on sale and it’s a great way to save money on the end total.

Fill empty spaces

This is what will help make your cheese board look really amazing—fill in all the empty spaces. I like to do this with little clusters of grapes. They fill in all the nooks and crannies nicely, and they’re the perfect size for someone to grab and just eat a few grapes. Another good option: cherry tomatoes. Both grapes and tomatoes help add some really beautiful colors!

No overloading

Arrange sliced crusty bread or crackers near the cheese. Try not to go overboard since these can take up a lot of real estate on your fruit and cheese platter. Sometimes it is better to serve these in a separate bowl or plate next to the fruit and cheese platter instead. 

Don’t be afraid

Don’t be intimidated by fancy platters. Creating your own best cheese platter is really all about choosing a small variety of quality ingredients and then having some fun displaying them all together on a platter.

When to serve a cheese board

Tasty, stylish, and simple cheese platter
Tasty, stylish, and simple cheese platter

Putting a cheese board together is done in just a few minutes, but if you want to do some work ahead of time, you absolutely can! Just leave off any crunchy items—like crackers or nuts—or they’ll get soggy. Other than that, you can have the entire cheese board assembled up to a day in advance. Just wrap the whole thing well in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.

Wine and cheese

With the right information, you can create amazing wine and cheese pairings on your own. Let’s talk about some classic wine and cheese pairings. 

Champagne and soft cheese

Why it works: The softer texture of triple-cream cheeses like Brie demands something sharp and acidic to cut through the fat. The high acid and pleasantly stinging bubbles of Champagne combine with Brie’s thick creaminess in a contrast that is very satisfying. Plus, that brioche flavor you get in traditional method sparklers adds a tasty bit of toastiness.

Also try: Chardonnay and Camembert, Cava and Délice de Bourgogne, or Crémant and Époisses.

Moscato d’Asti and hard cheese

Why it works: As we’ve said, funkier cheeses call for a sweeter wine, but the lightness of Moscato and other sweet whites can be a terrific chance if you’ve only ever matched pungent cheese with heavy, fortified wines. The fresh, acidic fruit of a Moscato d’Asti cleans your mouth of heavier cheeses like Gorgonzola, leaving you nice and refreshed.

Also try: Gewürztraminer and Munster or Prosecco and Asiago.

Cabernet Sauvignon and crumbly cheese

A tasty wine for a cheese platter
A tasty wine for a cheese platter

Why it works: A bigger, bolder cheese needs a wine that can lift it up, spin it around, and not get winded in the process. An aged Cheddar has a fattiness that matches up wonderfully with the mouth-drying tannins you’ll find in many Cabernet Sauvignons. Plus, their respectively bold flavors will match, instead of one drowning out the other.

Also try: Carménère and Smoked Gouda, Montepulciano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Nero d’Avola and Asiago.

Final words

Now you’ll easily be able to assemble your own beautiful cheese board to serve at parties and holiday events! Wow your friends at your next gathering with a show-stopping cheese platter.

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