It's the most exciting time of the year and the season for lots of holiday parties! If we ever needed an excuse to indulge in a cheese platter, this would be it. A party just isn't complete without one and if you're hosting this year, we're here to help you with some tips on creating a magnificent spread of charcuterie, cheese, fruit and dips to feed and impress your guests. In fact, let's forget cheese boards and go big with a grazing table! Now where do you begin...
Styling the Perfect Cheese Platter
1) Picking Cheese Boards
Roost Marble Cheese Board
Pick a theme and stick to it when choosing your cheese boards. Whether you want a rustic theme or prefer to go tropical, play around with different textures like marble, slate, wood or even palm leaves. Keep it simple because the colorful garnishes on top should be the main focus. Accessorize with gold cheese knives and gold or brass bowls to add a bit of glam.
2) Choosing Your Cheese
Here's the fun part. We've been told by the lovely ladies at The Green Platters that we should prepare 60-65 grams of cheese per guest, the more the merrier - you'll never hear anyone say that there's too much of it!
Have a mix of soft, medium and hard cheese and milder to stronger flavors so that there's something for everyone. You can't go wrong with classic soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert to start. Comte is another favorite. Don't be afraid to use blue cheese like Gorgonzola or Cambozola as there will be a few of your guests who enjoy stronger flavors that pack a punch.
For bigger spreads, add on some cheddar, double cream cheese, and some milk-based goats cheese.
3. Adding Crackers and Bread
Bring on the baguettes and the crackers! You want them to go well with cheese and not overpower, so select crackers that aren't too strong in flavor. Add some interesting texture with seedy crackers too.
4. Adding Salty and Crunchy Food
Roost Gravado Brass Bowls
Cue those fancy brass bowls. Fill them with marinated olives to complement the cheese, avoid placing them directly on the cheese boards otherwise they'll get the board wet. Nuts like pecans, almonds, pistachios also make great snacks for your guests to nibble on while mingling.
5. Adding Sweet Treats
The natural sweetness of fruit compliments cheeses nicely. Stay away from regular jams as they're too sweet, The Green Platters creates their own low sugar jam alternatives! Cranberry goes perfectly with Brie and Camembert as does green tomato with aged Gorgonzola.
For some extra indulgence (after all, it's Christmas!) break up some dark chocolate chunks and pile them up around your boards.
6. Adding Dips and Condiments
There is always space for some delectable dips like hummus or roasted pepper eggplant. Add some honey (or vegan maple syrup for vegans), mustards or your favorite preserves to top it off.
7. Picking Wines
The way we consider the age of cheese is comparable to differentiating our wines - delicate to bold. Young and soft cheeses like Brie are gooey and go well with sparkling, crisp whites and Camembert with Champagne. Older cheeses go well with wines that have more body. Blue cheese will go well with the wine that has a certain sweetness to it too so that the flavors balance. You can also try pairing it with red port to begin with.
Your incredible grazing table has come together so nicely and you can't wait for your guests to arrive and dig in! Time to give it a few finishing touches - use fresh rosemary sprigs and edible flowers for that wow factor. Or sprinkle a few dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks around it for an extra festive look.
It’s all about enjoying delicious cheese and food with your guests during this magical holiday season. The most important tip to take away is to remember to have fun! If all else fails, head over to The Green Platters and they'll whip up a lavish spread for you in no time!
Credit to The Green Platters for providing us with this sumptuous spread for the shoot and for lots of cheese pairing tips. Head over to their website to find out more about grazing tables and cheese platters.