Three Steps Towards Crafting a Better Cheese Plate!

by Travis Loncar on September 15, 2011

Let’s get straight down to brass tacks – everyone loves a good cheese plate. Whether you’re a cheese lover or not, there’s something about the type of occasion that mandates a cheese plate that makes you want cheese (and all of the other assorted goodies). There’s nothing like a cutting board topped decadently with grapes, nuts, crackers, bread, olives, and, of course, your favorite cheeses from around the world. Throw in a little wine and voila – you’ve had yourself a night of fine dining in the comfort of your living room or kitchen.

cheese plate penn mac


Our focus here, though, is not just simply creating a plate that suffices, but instead creating a plate that amazes, excites, and ameliorates the cloudiest of days! I mean, honestly, how do you go about crafting your cheese plate? From the time I was a kid, all I’ve known is sliced Colby Jack and Amish Goat Pepper Jack on a plate with Ritz crackers, Triscuits, and maybe some pre-cut pepperoni and honey mustard. For me, it gets the job done, and is in some regards amazing. Nevertheless, I find myself looking for more.

So, having done a little research, it is my pleasure to bring you three tips to help you craft a cheese plate that does more than “get the job done.” It is my hope that you enjoy employing these suggestions at the next occasion splendid enough to require a plate full of cheese.

1. Don’t Get Too Cheesy!

One of the common offenses among caterers trying to appease the cheese connoisseurs among us is providing guests with too much from which to choose. Believe it or not, there is a limit to how many different types of cheese should appear on your plate! Too many choices can be daunting, even. So, what’s the limit? It looks like six different cheeses is an absolute maximum – try staying around four or five. If you’re concerned about underfeeding your guests, simply buy an extra cut of the same types of cheese. According to most sources, it’s a safe assumption that most guests will consume around 0.75 ounces each.

2. Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize!

Now, don’t get carried away. Obviously, over-accessorizing can turn your cheese plate into a vegetable or fruit plate. That’s not where we’re aiming. However, a healthy inventory of nuts, grapes, dried fruit, sliced vegies, dips and other goodies can be quite useful in crafting your plate. Don’t be afraid to get your style on! A cheese plate is as much about aesthetic appeal as it is about delectable taste.

crackers pennmac


And what about bread and crackers? Well, it’s important to recognize that not every bread, not every cracker will do the trick. In fact, it’s best to stay away from anything that will overpower the taste of the cheese (around which the plate is centralized). Rather than something strong or flavorful, stick with the simplicity of a sliced baguette or wheat cracker. If you’re serving crackers salted with sour cream and onion flavoring, you may want to tell your guests in advance that you’re serving a cracker plate. Remember, it’s all about the cheese!

3. Keep it Simple!

One of the best ways to optimize your cheese plate is by not letting it get the best of you (or your wallet). There’s no need to go out and buy a fancy new cutting board or sterling silver cheese knives. Use what you have to the best of your ability! Often times, a simple wooden cutting board can add a sort of homey character to your offering. For slicing the cheese, it’s recommended that you do have one cheese knife set (which you can get for a pretty awesome price). Don’t go out spending hundreds of dollars on something that you’ll rarely use.

As far as cheese selection goes, have fun with it! Whether your picks are arbitrary, seasonal, nationality-based, or just “what you like,” there’s plenty of room for individualism. A themed cheese plate can be a real conversation starter. Just remember, when grandma and grandpa start talking about “the old country,” you’re the one who catered a French-themed plate!

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Well, that’s it! I wish you the best of luck in crafting your next cheese plate! May the cheese gods smile down on you as you garnish and prepare their cherished milk-based food products. Be sure to check out our full gourmet cheese selection before starting your plate planning!

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