How to Make a Holiday Cheese Plate

Holiday Cheese PlateWhen it comes to entertaining for the holidays, one thing I always make sure to have in the spread is a cheese plate.  Aside from how it tastes, there are so many things to love about a cheese plate: it can be prepared ahead of time, it doesn’t have to be cooked, it can be served as an appetizer to hungry guests, let’s be honest, a cheese plate just adds an element of elegance to your gathering.

I’ve seen so many cheese plates in my time, both in my own home and at events.  While there is a basic formula for making a cheese plate, one of the best things about cheese plates is that there is so much freedom in what you can do.  It’s such a great way to be creative in the kitchen.

Here are some of my tips to create a holiday cheese plate that your guests will love:

1)   Choose your cheese.  Cheese is obviously the star of this dish, so be sure to choose at least a trifecta of cheese so there is a variety for your guests to try.  I always like to have at least one hard cheese, one creamy cheese, and one special cheese. If possible, cut or slice into the cheese to start it off and make it easy for your guest to take a taste.

2)   Add crackers for crunch.  Crackers are usually the vessel for tasting the cheese, and different crackers can change the whole cheese experience.  Some favorites are rosemary crackers for a flavor that elevates the cheese even more.  Make sure to have varieties that pair well with your cheese selection.

3)   Find your fruits.  Fruits can make an appearance on a cheese plate in their many various forms, from fresh slices, to dried fruits, to fruit spreads and jams.  Whenever possible, I try to incorporate seasonal fresh fruits on the plate. For the fall and winter, I love using persimmons, fresh figs, apples, and pears.  

4)   Go nuts with nuts.  Nuts on the cheese plate adds a salty crunch, but it also adds some protein.  Choose at least a couple of different kinds of nuts, and to make it even more special, make a batch of spiced nuts for some special holiday flavor.  

5)   Play with your plates.  The plate you serve your cheese on is just as important as the cheese itself.  You could keep it simple by using a favorite cutting board, or you can find other boards made from other wood, slate, or even marble.   

6)   It’s all about aesthetics.  They say you eat with your eyes, and when it comes to a cheese plate, you’ll want your guests to feast their eyes on what you created.  Try to spread out the different shapes, colors, flavors, and textures throughout your plate, while ensuring that foods that belong together are placed together.  

7)  Add a wild card.  For holiday cheese plates, I like to add something special to give guests something to remember.  Whether it’s some local honeycomb, your favorite dark chocolate chunks, or the prettiest vintage cheese knives, putting some extra attention into your cheese plate will not go unnoticed by guests.  

What are some of your favorite elements on a cheese plate?