Bring Your Cheese Platter Ideas To Life With Spotlight

Bring Your Cheese Platter Ideas To Life With Spotlight

Cured meats, fresh fruits, tasty crackers and velvety cheeses… the right cheese board will tempt even the fussiest eaters! Whether it's a vibrant birthday party, a romantic anniversary or just your average Friday night, a cheese board is a welcome addition to any event. But with so many kinds of cheeses and other extras available, how do you decide how to make a cheese platter that suits your tastes?

At Spotlight our range of cheese boards and platters includes circular and rectangular cheese boards that are perfect for parties, and they're great for both first-time cheese platter makers and experienced cheese board enthusiasts. We've put together this blog so we can share everything we know about cheese platter presentation, including how to prepare one, what to put on it and how to arrange every ingredient so you've got a cohesive-looking cheese board that's sure to impress.

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Why Every Party Needs A Cheese Platter

A good cheese platter will suit any event, from your kids' play date to a formal sit-down dinner. You can make them as basic or fancy as you like to suit the occasion - as long as you have a good balance of food types, your cheese platter will be a success. Because of the range of food types available, guests with all sorts of food restrictions will still be able to enjoy them - although guests with severe allergies may still need to be careful.

A beautiful cheese platter is also a great decorative element for your event. It will draw eyes to your table and works as a great centrepiece that you can surround with bowls and plates of more simple snacks, like chips and lollies.

So now that you know you want one, let's dive into how to make a cheese platter you can be proud of!

What Goes On A Cheese Platter

Cheese platters are more than just cheese - although if you just want to make a plate full of only cheeses, more power to you! But with so many elements to choose from, how do you decide what to put on a cheese board? Here's a breakdown of all our favourite parts of a cheese platter.

Food elements

The main attraction of a cheese board is, of course, the cheese. But what to put on a cheese platter besides the delicious dairy product? There are a few other food types you'll often find on a cheese platter as well!

  • Cheese - you'll want a decent variety of hard and soft cheeses on your cheese board. Three to five cheeses are a good range, and the odd number will make them look nicer on the plate. Popular hard cheeses include blocks of cheddar and romano cheese, while semi-hard cheeses such as gouda and gruyere are always a great choice. And make sure to have some lovely soft cheeses like brie and camembert. And of course a tangy blue cheese as well!
  • Fruit and veggies - add some colour and freshness to your cheese platter with some fruit and vegetables. Fruits are more common on cheese boards than veg - grapes, blackberries, blueberries and olives are ideal, as they can be eaten by your guests with no peeling, cutting or mess. Add a few celery sticks and slices of capsicum for some less sweet but still tasty options.
  • Charcuterie - a small selection of cured, dried meats is always welcome on a cheese platter. Slices of salami, prosciutto, chorizo, mortadella and some pate will go down a treat with your guests. Large, circular slices of meat can be folded in half and half again into fan shapes or rolled into logs, while longer pieces of meat can be artfully twirled into piles on your platter.
  • Crackers - bring some welcome crunch to your cheese platters with some crackers. Supermarket staples like Savoys are great on a budget, while fancy crisps and wafers with flavours like pepper and garlic will delight your friends and family. You can also include freshly sliced baguette and crostini on the platter if you want larger pieces of bread for your guests to use.
  • Nuts - a few piles of nuts will pair perfectly with your selection of cheeses, and they're a great way to fill any gaps on your platter. Look for almonds, pecans, walnuts and cashews for your cheese platter, and consider if salted or even special flavoured nuts (like those with a lemon, cinnamon or coconut flavouring) will suit your board. If you are worried about the nuts spilling off the board, pop them in small ramekins instead.
  • Greens - a little greenery is a great way to dress up your cheese board when it's almost done. Add a few rocket leaves around the edges or have them poke out from some gaps in your cheese board for some refreshing colour, or pop a few sprigs of rosemary across your cheeses for a really decorative look, along with a lovely aroma!

Tools and accessories for making a cheese platter

There are a few little tools and accessories you'll want on your cheese board to make it easy for your guests to grab what they want:

  • Cheese knives - these small, blunt knives are what you'll use to cut through firmer cheeses. Soft cheeses can be scooped straight off with a cracker. Make sure you have one cheese knife for every piece of cheese on the board. If you have some very hard cheeses, you may like to cut them into slices before arranging them on the board so it's easier for your guests to grab some.
  • Bowls - small bowls and ramekins can be used to house extras like nuts and berries, which will stop them from rolling around on the board and also keep their juices from leaching into the other food. You can use them to hold dips, jams and even honey to go with your cheese. Fig jam is a favourite that goes with most cheeses, while apricot jam is another great option that's not too sweet. Wondering what to put on a cheese platter to really make an impact visually? We think a slab of honeycomb is a great statement piece that will visually take your cheese platter to the next level - put it in the centre, either on some cheese or on a raised platform, for an instant wow factor.

Choosing the right cheese platter or board

You can't make a cheese board without the platter or board itself! For aesthetic reasons, wood is the most popular choice for cheese platters, and its natural grain will also help prevent your food from sliding around. Stone and marble are also good cheese platter ideas, as they will help keep all your cheeses and meats cooler for longer.

  • Round and oval-shaped cheese boards can initially seem tricky to style, but their round shape allows you to decorate inwards in a swirl pattern if you so desire! Choose circular cheese platters of different sizes and spread them down your table for a grazing table-like look that will draw guests in with the illusion of abundance.
  • Rectangular and square platters are a modern choice for a cheese board, and easier to pick up than their circular counterparts. A long, rectangular cheese platter is a great choice for placing down the middle of your dining table, and you can style ones of different sizes on your table much like you would a gallery art wall.

If you would like to display your cheese board when it's not in use, look for ones with handles you can thread twine into and hang around your kitchen.

Now that you know what to put on a cheese board, where do you get it all? Your local supermarket will have all the fruits, vegetables and crackers you need, with a decent range of cheeses as well. But for more exotic cheeses, crackers, nuts and charcuterie options, it's worth visiting your local deli and speaking to the staff inside - they'll be happy to recommend an exciting cheese or two!

Cheese For A Platter

How To Cut Cheese For A Platter

If you want to cut your cheeses into handy portions for your guests, how do you know which shape is best? Here's a quick summary of how to cut cheese for a platter.

Hard cheeses that your guests may struggle to cut themselves should be cut into slices or triangles before arranging them on your platter. Cheeses that come in wedges can be cut from the side along the length of the cheese to make triangular slices. If it's a particularly long wedge, cut it in half first from the top down.

Cheeses that come in bricks should be sliced into small rectangles, then sliced in half from corner to corner to make stylish triangles. Much better than a pile of cubes!

Very crumbly cheeses should not be cleanly cut - instead, use a sharp cheese knife to dislodge chunks from the cheese along its natural 'fault lines'. These chunks won't be uniform, but they look great and are perfect for quickly popping on a cracker.

If you'd like to pre-cut a soft cheese like brie, cut it into pie-like slices but leave the cheese in its circular form so guests can simply remove a slice when they want one.

How To Arrange A Cheese Platter

Now you have everything you want to put on your cheese platter, how do you arrange it all? Follow these steps for how to make a cheese platter and style it to perfection.

  1. Start with any bowls you'll want to place on your platter. Bowls for jams, honey, dips or for small snacks like olives or blueberries should be spread across the board with plenty of space between them.
  2. In the largest gaps between bowls, place your cheeses. Remember, three or five different cheeses are a good number to aim for! If you have sliced your cheeses, fan the slices out so it's easy for guests to pick one without handling the rest.
  3. Arrange your charcuterie around the board, folding or rolling them as needed. If you need to anchor any of them under something, use a large bowl or one of your heavy cheeses. Make sure all your meats are spread out and not touching one another if possible.
  4. Add any fruits or vegetables to the platter. If they are juicy, put them in one of your bowls so the liquid doesn't transfer to any of your other elements. These will be the most colourful elements on your platter so spread them around so the entire board is popping with colour!
  5. All your crackers and bread can now go on the board. Crackers and small biscuits can be added in piles, while larger slices of bread or crostini should be arranged in a fan or a line on the board for easy access.
  6. Add nuts to any of the prominent gaps in your cheese platter. Make sure to use a range of nuts and keep the piles small so they don't spill over the top of your other elements.
  7. Finish with any extra greenery you want to add. Fresh herbs and small pieces of lettuce can plug small gaps, but also look great when used as accents around the edge of the board or on top of your larger cheeses.

If you are providing cheese knives for your guests to use, place them on or next to their designated cheese so it's clear which knife goes with what cheese.

Of course, if you have your own cheese platter ideas you want to try, feel free to! As we mentioned before, one of the best cheese board ideas for a circular platter is to style your elements in a spiral going inwards. Or for special occasions like Christmas or Easter, one of our favourite cheese board ideas is adding festive elements like mince pies, Easter eggs, heart-shaped chocolates or Halloween lollies to suit the occasion.

How To Present A Cheese Platter

You're almost done! There are a few finishing touches to make to your cheese platter presentation. If you have some more unusual cheeses on your platter you may like to make small signs informing guests which is which. These can be on toothpicks inserted into each cheese, or even written on the board itself if applicable.

You should create your cheese board about half an hour before unveiling it to your guests. This will give the cheeses time to come to room temperature, which is important because cold keeps the flavours in the fat of the cheese locked away - a room temperature cheese will taste best!

Finally, set your cheese board either in the middle or slightly off-centre on your table. Because guests will be cutting, stacking and spreading bits of your cheese platter together, you'll want the platter to be far away from the edge of the table. This will prevent it from accidentally being knocked off, as well as stop any stray nuts or berries from rolling onto the floor.

We eat with our eyes before our mouths, so always make sure your cheese platter presentation is on point so your guests can really enjoy the hard work you've put into creating your cheese board!

Cheese Board Ideas

Enjoy Cheese Board Ideas And Inspiration At Spotlight

Now that you know how to make a cheese platter and what to put on a cheese board, it's time to grab your ingredients from your local deli or supermarket and your board and accessories from Spotlight! Shop serving ware online at Spotlight and you can safely pay before having your cheese board home delivered. Or visit your nearest store and our friendly team will help you bring your cheese platter ideas to life!

There's more to crafting an amazing dinner than just learning how to make a cheese board - check out our blogs on everyday tablescaping, hosting a high tea and entertaining outdoors for more places to use your cheese platter ideas. And make sure you're buying all the right things for your cheese board ideas by reading our buying guides on servingware, table setting and outdoor dining before purchasing.




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