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  • Writer's pictureKelly-Tiegan

HOW TO MAKE A CHEESE PLATE (WITH STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS!)

An easy and delicious cheese plate appetizer is perfect for a party, holiday entertaining, and any get-togethers! In this step-by-step tutorial, Cuisine Bon Vivant show you how to make an amazing cheese plate every time.


Let’s talk about CHEESE!


A cheese plate appetizer is an essential dish at 99% of my gatherings, holiday or otherwise.


And yes – this post is titled “how to make a cheese plate,” but you can follow these basic steps to make all kinds of party platters! Cuisine Bon Vivant's cheese plate today has a bit of meat included (cheese and charcuterie FTW!) and we also like to round things out with crackers, fruit, sausage, or whatever seasonal produce we have on hand.


We'll cover things like building seasonal cheese plates, what to include on your cheese plate, and how to make a cheap cheese plate (because BUDGET) later on – but let’s start with the ASSEMBLY.


Cheese plates can look very proper and fancy, but I’m going to let you in on a secret: It is SO. EASY.


To build a fancy cheese plate – you just need to follow this basic order of operations. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with it – you’re already on your way to making a perfect cheese plate every time!


HOW TO MAKE A CHEESE PLATE STEP-BY-STEP!


Let’s break it down.


1. START WITH THE BIG ITEMS: BOWLS AND CHEESE.

Start with the things that take up the most room on a cheese plate – you’ll tuck everything else into the blank spaces later on!


A lot of people like to start with the cheese, but we prefer to start by placing some little bowls around my cheese board. Why? Because it helps me make part of the cheese plate ahead of time. If I know I’m making a cheese plate for a party, I’ll set out the cutting board (I’m using a 15″-ish wood board from Target – it’s no longer in stock but I found a similar one here) and place the bowls the night before so it’s ready to go. You can skip the bowls if you like, but I like using them to hold dips and smaller items – plus, the height and round shape helps break up the cheese board to make it more fun to look at. (PS – Swap small store-bought jars of jam or honey, roasted red peppers, or pesto for the bowls here if you like!)


Next, add the cheeses. Cheese should really be served at room temperature, which means you should take it out of the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour before serving (learn more in this post). You can do this two ways: One, take the cheeses out of the fridge, throw them on the counter, and come back later to add them to the cheese plate. Or two, unwrap and cut the cheeses straight out of the fridge, then place them on the cheese plate and let them come to temperature on the board (pro tip: cover the cheese with beeswax wrap or plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out).


Cuisine Bon Vivant's prefers to serve cheeses in a variety of shapes to add visual interest. Soft cheeses, like the brie and goat cheese in this photo, can be served as is. For hard cheeses, like the cheddar and parmesan, I prefer to cut them into slices or cubes and stack them up on the board – this makes it easier for guests to grab a piece without having to saw through a hard cheese with a cheese knife and makes the cheese plate more interesting.



2. ADD MEATS, BREAD, AND CRACKERS.

Next, add charcuterie to your cheese plate! I used soppressata, a basic deli salami, and prosciutto here.


You can add your meats a few different ways: In a simple stack (saves time if you’re in a rush), fanned out in a line or half-circle (works best on large boards since this takes up more space) or by folding larger pieces into fun shapes (takes up less space and adds some visual interest).

For this cheese plate, I opted to fold our charcuterie pieces to help them take up less space since we had a lot to get onto the board.


I fold charcuterie meats a few different ways on cheese plates:

  • Fold large, thin, circular pieces in half, and then in half again to make a triangle. Tuck the points of the triangles tight in between a large cheese and one of your bowls (this helps keep it in place!). I like to stack quite a few pieces this way and then fan it out. This is the technique we used for the soppressata in at the bottom of this cheese plate (right above the handle)

  • Fold large, thin, circular pieces in half, and then roll them to form a small cone. Tuck the points of the cones tight in between a cheese and a bowl to keep them in place (you may have to re-tuck some of the cone ends as you add more pieces!). This is the technique we used for the deli salami on the far left side of the cheese plate.

  • For thinner meats like prosciutto, simply hold each piece vertically above the cheese tray, then gently lower it down, twisting your hand a little bit as you go to help it develop some folds and stay in a small space. This is the technique we used for the prosciutto, slightly right of center on this cheese plate.

  • If you’re using sausage, cut the sausage on a bias and fan the pieces out in a row.


Next, the bread! Because I want to devote as much real estate as possible to the cheese, I put just a handful of of crostini or crackers on the plate and set out a bowl full of extra crackers for those who want them. Fan out crackers or crostini along the edges of the cheese plate to make them easy to grab.



3. FILL IN BIG SPACES WITH FRUIT AND NUTS.

Now that the big pieces are on our cheese plate, it’s time to have some fun and start filling in the gaps! This is where a cheese plate really starts to come together (and where you get the WOW factor that will have your party guests asking you to teach THEM how to assemble a cheese plate!) First, add some fruit. We used grapes here, but you can use any fruit (or veggies!) you have on hand. I like to break the fruit into relatively small pieces and scatter it in a few places across the board – I put grapes on either side of this cheese plate to help it look balanced (and make it easy for guests to grab a grape from either side!)

Next, add nuts! We used walnuts and almonds here. Drop a few nuts into the smaller blank spaces on the middle of your board to add some texture and cover any open spots. Leave a few spaces around the edges for olives or any extras you’re adding!


4. ADD SOME OLIVES AND FILL ANY SMALL BOWLS.

If you’re using olives, add them now! You can place them anywhere you’d like; to assemble this cheese board, I opted for some green olives on the board itself and some black olives in one of our small bowls. We have a love-hate relationship with olives in my house, so I include them on cheese plates about half the time.


Next up: fill those bowls! You can add anything you like to these little bowls – olives, nuts, more fruit, etc. Today, I filled our two remaining bowls with honey (bottom left) and flakey Maldon Sea Salt (top). Other favorites include pesto, high-quality salted butter, fig or blackberry jam, roasted beet dip (or any dip!), and cornichons (tiny pickles!)



5. TUCK SOME GREENERY INTO ANY SPACE THAT’S STILL EMPTY.

YOU’RE ALMOST DONE! At this point, you have all the good stuff ready to go and have assembled a great cheese plate. All that’s left is to fill in any remaining teeny gaps to make your cheese board look full and inviting.


I ALWAYS opt to fill any last little spaces with something green. I find it helps break up the colour since cheese plates tend to lean very red/white/brown. For this cheese plate, we chose fresh arugula (rocket), but you could also use fresh herbs (we love adding rosemary sprigs to a cheese plate!)


Arugula is our go-to because it’s almost always in our fridge, and the leaves are small and flexible enough that I can really tuck them into small spaces (plus, a crostini + brie + arugula + walnuts + a grape + honey = THE BEST BITE EVER).


Add a few pieces of your greenery anywhere there’s a gap, and tuck some around the edges to help frame the cheese plate (there’s that “visual interest” thing again!)


Cuisine Bon Vivant specialises in catering for all events, no matter how big or small. Contact us to do for all of your menu requirements.


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