PERFECT CHEESE PLATE

HOW TO MAKE A CHEESE PLATE FROM ABOVE

When I wrote my post on easy entertaining at the beginning of this month, I had so many questions about how to assemble to cheese plate that I thought it would be a good idea to do a whole post on how I put one together.  If you did read that post, you know that the cheese plate is my signature dish.  It is my go-to to through together if I am having guests over for last minute drinks.  I mean, who does not love a plate with meats, cheese, fruit and nuts.  Basically it is my idea of a dream meal.

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The first step to a great cheese board is to use a really gorgeous wooden or marble cutting board.  I always keep my eyes out for boards that would work for cheese boards when I am Marshalls, HomeGoods, or TJ Maxx.  They always have great boards for cheap.  Keep this board in the pantry and make sure you use it only for the purpose of serving a cheese board.  This way you are sure that it stays free of knicks and scratches.  You can also do a half wood/half marble cutting board too.  If you are using a marble cutting board you are able to put the board in the refrigerator and it will help keep the cheese a little colder, longer.

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When I start assembling the cheese board, the first thing I think about is the colors of the board and how all the cheeses and items on the board will look together.  You want a combination of milder cheeses with more pungent cheeses.  You typically want 3-5 cheeses on your board; always an odd number of cheeses.  My favorite cheese is brie, so you will always see one of those on my boards.  I also love using a blue cheese, goat cheese, something with a little spice to it, and I typically will include one type of cheese, like cheddar, that I know everyone will eat.

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Once I have my cheeses laid out, I start filling in the spaces with all the other items I will have on the board.  I always include one or two different cured meat options.  My two favorites are prosciutto and a salami, but any kind of dried sausage or smoked meat will work well.  I love putting dried fruits on my boards and I use a combination of salty and sweet nuts.  My favorites are marcona almonds and honey roasted pecans.  I then add dried fruits like apricots and figs to my plate.  I love the color and texture they bring to the overall look of the plate.

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The final piece I like to include on my board is bunches of grapes.  I always use red grape, never green. I then finish off the board with fresh herbs and viola you are done!  I like to put out a combination of gourmet crackers.  Some of my favorites are rosemary fruit and nut crackers, water crackers, and a good multi-grain that everyone will love.  The awesome part about cheese plates is that they are great to make ahead of time and pull out before the party starts.  I always pull my cheese board out an hour before the party begins to let the cheese come to room temperature. 

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I am a huge fan of stress-free entertaining.  That is part of the reason why I love the cheese board.  It is simple, makes a big impact, and allows me to be the hostess I want to be and provide food for my guests without running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Always remember, your friends are there to visit with you not watch you slave away in the kitchen.

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CHEESE BOARD ESSENTIALS