How to Make a Cheese Plate for Your Next Party

The best way bring an extra touch of class to any dinner party is to provide a cheese plate.

Variety of cheeses

Creating a cheese plate doesn’t just mean throwing a few different types of cheese on a plate, either. There is a greater science to cheese platters, but once you have it down, you will forever have the know-how of how to impress your dinner guests.

The amount of cheese that you should buy depends on the number of guests. Three types of cheeses is the standard minimum. Each guest is expected to consume about 1 to 2 ounces of cheese, so plan accordingly. Do not plate more than six different types of cheeses, as any more tends to be overwhelming.

While there is no “rule” for the types of cheese you choose, it is best to choose cheeses with differing textures and tastes. Pair a soft brie with hard Romano and medium cheddar. Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to have at least one “go-to” cheese for those who are less adventurous (think aged cheddar or Monterey Jack). A typical cheese plate tends to include various spectrums of the flavor department as well, such as smoky (Gouda), stinky (Gorgonzola), aged (cheddar) and fresh (goat or mozzarella). While you can usually find most of these cheeses at a supermarket, visiting a local cheese shop or specialty store will provide you with more unique options.

Most people like to eat their cheese on crackers or bread. Avoid crackers and breads that have a lot of flavor, such as ones with herbs or garlic added. Plain is better so that it does not overpower the taste of the cheese. Cheeses have more flavor when they are at room temperature, so be sure to take the cheese out of the refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

If the cheese plate is being served as an hors d’oeuvre, then accompany the cheese with more savory sides, such as charcuterie, olives, or salted nuts. After-dinner cheese plates can accommodate sweeter sides, such as dried fruit, honey, or jam. The best way to choose which sides go with which cheese is to experiment!

If you don’t have a cheese platter to serve on, a wooden cutting board works just as well. Once you have plated your cheeses, make sure that your guests have easy access to them by prepping them for consumption. Pre-slice the harder cheeses, and put out a spreader for each of the softer cheeses. Using the same knife for different cheeses has the potential to meld the unique flavors together. Don’t allow the cheeses to touch for this same reason. If any of your cheeses come with wax rinds, consider removing them so that inexperienced dinner guests aren’t met with an unpleasant surprise.

Here at Salem Cross Inn, we love hosting dinner parties. One of our regular menu items is a sharing plate of cured meats, cheeses, and fruits, and we invite you to try it. We would be happy to host your next party and take the stress out of planning, cooking, and cleaning! Contact us to learn more.

What are your favorite foods and drinks to pair with a cheese plate?