HAPPENINGS

How To: The Perfect Cheese Platter

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A cheese platter is an essential dish at most social gatherings and the perfect gift.  A well-constructed cheese plate can look artisan & luxurious, and is the easiest way to elevate the evening or impress your guests.  In this step-by-step, your friendly Jackson Whole Grocer cheese mongers will fill you in on the secrets of making an amazing cheese plate every time.

Let’s get started!

  1. Begin with the things that take up the most room on the platter. Space them out as much as possible, as you’ll tuck everything else into the blank spaces between and around them.

    • Place some small bowls around the board for dips, jams or even honey. Go for new things you wouldn’t normally think of to add some excitement to the board.
    • Cheeses should really be served at room temperature. Make sure to take them out of the fridge and set out on the board 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Allowing the flavors to come to full fruition.
    • Whether you want to showcase wide a variety or you want to highlight a particular family of cheeses, selecting pieces with a variety of shapes and/or colors will add visual interest to your platter.
  2. Next, add the charcuterie.

    • There are many different ways to arrange your meats. Place them in a simple stack to save time, fan them out in a line or circle (this works best on large boards as it take up more space), or fold them into all sorts of fun shapes which take up less space & adds more visual interest to the arrangement.
  3. Now it’s time to add the bread and/or crackers.

    • You generally want to devote as much real estate as possible to the cheese on your platter. So, go light on the carbohydrates. You can always set out an extra bowl or platter full of crackers or even put out a separate cutting board with a sliced baguette.
  4. Fill in big spaces with fruit & nuts.

    • This is where your cheese platter really starts to come together & where you can inject that WOW factor to impress your guests.
    • You can use any fruit or even vegetables that you have on hand. Break or cut them into relatively small pieces & scatter them in multiple places across the board.
    • Drop a few nuts into the smaller gaps on the middle of the board to add texture & cover any leftover blank spots. Leave the space around the edges for olives or any extra additives.
  5. If you’re using olives, add them now wherever you feel the plate could use an extra pop of color.

  6.  It is now time to fill the bowls you laid out first. There is a never ending range of options; more olives, marinated vegetables, dehydrated fruit, chocolate, sea salt, pesto, honey, jam, high-quality salted butter or even cornichons.

  7. Fill any remaining gaps with something green to garnish the platter. Lay some of the greenery around the edges to frame your finished masterpiece.  If you have any fresh herbs in your kitchen, they would be perfect!

HOW TO CHOOSE

  • There are so many choices in the world of cheese, and really no right or wrong choices to be made. Generally speaking, variety is your best friend.
  • Make friends with your local cheese monger – they can guide you to selections you may never have considered on your own.
  • It’s easy to tailor your platter to whatever season you’re in by selecting seasonal fruits & vegetables.
  • If this cheese platter is your appetizer, plan to have 2-3 oz of cheese per person. If this is meant for the main course, plan for 4-5 oz per person and load it up with plenty of extra accompaniments.  Having a little extra cheese set aside for backup is never a bad idea.
  • Reserve the majority of your budget for the actual cheese, even cheap crackers and meat can taste exquisite with the right cheese.
  • Don’t worry about catering to the palates of your guests. By the time everything is laid out, rest assured everybody will find favorites of their own.  If you choose based on what you like best, chances are your guests will feel the same.

Check out our specialty cheese selection here. If you’d like to talk with our Specialty Cheese Department or order a platter call us or email catering@jacksonwholegrocer.com!

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