Cheese and meat platters are a fun and delicious way to display food for events, dinners, and parties. Food platters are especially popular during the holidays when families and friends are getting together to celebrate. While ingredient choices are important, other vital factors make a charcuterie and cheese board an elegant appetizer for guests to share.
- Pick your cheeses. Typically I round up about four different kinds of cheese, soft, semi-soft, hard, and semi-hard. This allows for a variety of taste and textures that pair well with various items. My go-to combination is usually brie (buttery), Gouda (caramel), provolone (smokey), and classic aged cheddar, but you can select whichever cheese you’d like. For seasonal platters, I sometimes mix it up, for example during the holiday season I will use cranberry goat cheese or other more festive cheese.
- Pick your meat. Depending on how many guests will be indulging, I select around four different kinds of meat and about 150 grams of each type. Some of my favorites are salami, prosciutto, hard dried spicy salami, and Italian sausage.
- Give guests lots of choices. Think well beyond cheese and meat. Sometimes I will go through my fridge and pantry to see what I already have and go from there, that usually gives me an excellent base to go off of. Some of my favorite items to include on the platter is fruit, crackers, nuts, spreads (like blueberry jam or peach jelly), pickled foods, and much more.
- Prepare the cheese and meat. If you are using rounds of cheese or larger wedges, I suggest cutting them in half or quarters to spread them around the cheese board. It will be much easier (and less messy) than having your guests cut slices themselves. Same goes for meats; if you cut and roll them ahead of time, there will be more room on the platter for other items.
- Fill any empty spaces. The trick to creating the perfect cheese platter is to make the board look really full with lots of variety and colors. If you see empty spaces add some dried fruit or nuts to help fill them in, you can also place said items in little dishes around the board for display. Lastly, when the platter is full, I like to include some toothpicks and knives for the guests to use for spreads and cheese.
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