How to Create an Epic Cheese Plate
A simple formula for an amazing cheese plate including meats, cheeses, breads, as well as some sweet and salty nibbles. It will become your go-to appetizer!
Fact: Cheese plates (or “cheese boards” or “cheese spreads”) are all the rage right now. They’re all over Instagram, and they’ve become standard fare on a lot of restaurant appetizer menus.
I jumped on the cheese plate train last summer after seeing some amazing creations on Jessica’s Instagram, and I’ve been totally smitten with them ever since. Some family came over to visit Joseph and instead of making traditional appetizers, I decided to create a cheese plate, and it was such a massive hit that I’ve continued to make them every chance I get.
The key to an amazing cheese plate? Lots of variety in textures and flavors guarantees that there is something for everyone.
I’ve made cheese plates of varying sizes and variety over the last year and a half and I’ve definitely honed my skills and have come up with some favorite combinations that are always a win. It’s important, too, to kind of “know your audience” if you can. For instance, after making two cheese plates that included a blue cheese (because it’s a pretty standard cheese plate go-to), I realized there was literally one single person in both of our families that actually ate blue cheese. Needless to say, there was a lot of waste. If you know the majority of people won’t eat a particular component, simply omit it. There’s no need to include it just for the sake of putting it there.
For me, an awesome cheese board includes a variety of cheeses, Italian meats, some carb-y things, a variety of spreads and mustards, something briny (like gerkins or assorted olives), something sweet like dried fruit, and something crunchy like nuts or seeds.
My Favorite Cheese Board
This is what my typical go-to cheese plate looks like:
- Aged cheddar
- Smoked gouda
- Goat cheese
- Fig jam
- Hot and sweet pepper jelly
- Coarse mustard
- Thin breadsticks
- Water crackers
- Mixed marinated olives
- Fresh grapes
- Dried apricots
- Marcona almonds
Whether you’re hosting a holiday dinner, having friends over for a movie or game night, or just enjoying a casual evening at home, there is literally no bad time to throw together a cheese board.
Q: If you do big cheese boards, what are your favorite inclusions?
How to Create an Epic Cheese Plate
For the Cheeses (Choose 3-5 and plan on 4 oz per person total)
- Semi-Hard Cheeses: Aged cheddar, smoked gouda
- Soft Cheeses: Brie, camembert, goat
- Blue Cheeses: Gorgonzola, stilton
For the Condiments (Choose 3)
- Sweet: Fig jam, honey, your favorite marmalade, apple butter, bacon jam
- Spicy: Onion and pepper relish, sweet habanero jam, mango jalapeno chutney
- Mustards: Coarse grain, spicy brown, Dijon, honey mustard
For the Meats (Choose 2-3)
- Summer sausage
For the Carbs (Choose 2-3)
- Breadsticks, plain, thin-style
- Crackers, plain, neutral-flavored is best, like water crackers
For the Extra Nibbles (Choose 3-5)
- Dried fruit, apricots, figs, dates
- Fresh fruit, grapes, figs, strawberries, pears
- Nuts and seeds, marcona almonds, mixed nuts, pistachios, pepitas
- Brined snacks, mixed olives, artichoke hearts, balsamic glaze
- Choose a large wood cutting board, a slate cheese board, or a marble slab to arrange your cheese platter.
- Place the cheeses on the corners and in the middle, then arrange the rest of the accompaniments spaced out evenly around the cheeses.