10.07.2016

how to: make a cheese plate

after a serious and unhappy post (sorry about that! just had to get some stuff off of my chest!) it's always best to write about something that is a sure crowd pleaser. and what makes people happier than cheese? if you think of anything, let me know. but until then, I've got a quick "how to" for ya. HOW TO make the world's easiest, fastest, cheapest (and if i do say so myself, kinda pretty) cheese plate. i always admire seeing beautiful cheese plates at parties or events and after making this one yesterday, i totally get it. this was actually kinda fun to organize. it was like decorating a room from a bird's eye view... except instead of couches and end tables, it's blocks of cheese and crackers. i did not hate it. so anyway, here's a quick guide of how to make a cheeeap cheese plate for your next party!! and just to warn you, this isn't the same kind of HOW TO you're going to find in a fancy food magazine. this is a Jamie Dawn, unfiltered, poor girl version. but it looks pretty so who cares, right? ok, onward...

step one: finding your cheese board. all of these yummy pieces are only going to look as good as what they're being presented on. I've had this slate square for about 5 years and it really only gets to shine for parties. it's got that great rugged look and you can easily write on it with chalk if you wanna. you can buy them from home depot individually for a few bucks (they're meant to be tiled on the floor but we can totally use them for cheese!) or you can make your own with a piece of wood and painting it with chalkboard paint. i usually find that DIY projects cost more than just buying the damn thing, so i recommend the tiles. also, i'm 2000% sure that your local thrift store has a great wooden cutting board that's been beaten to death and would look great covered in cheese. SO in conclusion, thrifted cutting boards and slate floor tiles... these are the prettiest to use in my opinion. 

step two: your cheese choices. you guys, there are two million rules and regulations to follow when it comes to picking out cheeses and what to pair them with. the cheese world is kind of like the wine world. there's a lot of rules about notes and flavors and regions and whatever. but at the end of the day, just like in the wine world, as long as it tastes good, who cares that much, right? i think cheese plates work best when you include the most basic types. they'll satisfy the most people. and there's nothing worse than cutting off a slice of what you think is cheddar and it's something weird and crazy and all you want to do is spit it out into your napkin. for my cheese plates, i went with a super sharp cheddar, a tangy blue, a creamy goat and a simple mozzarella. they're classic and popular and not too stuffy. nobody likes stuffy. 

step three: buying the cheese. this stuff can get expensive, and when you mix in all of the pairing goodies (crackers, pickles, meat) it will go up even higher. when i'm making a cheese plate, i go shopping for my cheese the day of the party and look for manager stickers. i buy the clearance cheese that is marked to expire soon since it's going to be eaten within the day and it will cut your costs in half. and instead of buying a $12 giant block, get two $6 smaller blocks so you can get a variety of cheeses.  

step four: your supporting actors. obviously the cheese is our super star on the plate, but everything that accompanies it is just as important. you'll want to go with thick, strong crackers or toasted bread pieces. Salami, cornichons (those sweet little gherkin pickles), pesto, tomatoes and almonds are all great to add to your cheese plate, too. the more cluttered and full the plate looks, i think, the better. and be sure to have plenty of small cheese plate spoons and knives around. keep your fingers off the plate. ew.

step five: setting up the tray. this part is pretty much up to you and how it appeals to your eye. i like to go with my cheeses spread out with everything else surrounded them. the more effortless it looks, the better. keep your spreads in small jars with spoons ready for scoopin.

just a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- cut your cheese in advance. otherwise, by the end of your night, your tray will look like a murder scene. 
- buy stuff that YOU like. you're the one paying for it, and you'll be the one to have it sitting in your fridge if it goes uneaten. and cheese aint cheap, people.
- when it comes to pickles, nuts and spreads, make life easier: buy generic and buy your pestos/jams premade. 
i hope this gives you a little help in planning to make your very own cheese plate for your next party or just for yourself on a lonely Friday night in front of the tv :) enjoy!! 
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1 comment

  1. The only thing that makes me happier than cheese is ice cream, but when presented this perfectly, cheese is pretty darn close. Love this!

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