HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE PERFECT CHEESE PLATTER

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Hey guys! Hope you all had an amazing 4th of July weekend. The weather here in Chicago was kind of fabulous and we spent the majority of the time outside with family and friends.

Isn’t summer the best? It is truly my favorite season {especially in Chicago} and what better way to celebrate then with wine + cheese. It’s the perfect combination and assembling a platter is always a great goto for guests.

My drink of choice, especially during the summer months is white wine because of it’s light crisp flavor, and a new favorite of mine is Notable Wines. It is the 1st wine that highlights the flavor profiles on the front of the bottle, helping make the wine aisle a less confusing place. Two of my favorites include both Notable Chardonnays. One has a wonderful oaky, buttery taste, and the other is fruity and crisp.

I love entertaining, but now that I have a baby, I am a huge fan of store bought ingredient so that’s why cheese platters are the best. Today I wanted to show you just how easy it is to put together the perfect cheese platter. It mainly involves a lot of buying, assembling, and rearranging. You want it to be bright, colorful, and full of yummy assortments of course.

So let’s begin…

First a few basics and some key things you need to know:

  • Find a great platter to plate your cheese. I like something elegant like glass, or a rustic wood chopping block, or even a slate so you can write the names of cheese on it with chalk.
  • How much cheese to buy? Typically I would allot 2-3 ounces of cheese and charcuterie per person. When I’m having a small get together, I like to aim for 3 different types of cheese and when it is a bit of a larger ground I go for 5.
  • Try to include a variety of flavors and textures.
  • When platting, separate the colors and make sure to have contrasting foods next to each other. That way every ingredient will pop out to the guests and it will also look very visually pleasing.
  • Set out a separate knife for each cheese so that the flavors don’t mingle.
  • Get small ramekins for some of the other fun add-ons like olives, jams, honey, mustard, dried fruit, etc.

Now let’s get into few more details…

THE CHEESE

  • There is such a wide variety of cheese out there that it can be hard to choose and narrow down your choices.
  • I like to break it down into 5 basic categories of cheese: Aged {Cheddar, Gouda}, Firm {Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gruyère}, Creamy/ Soft { Brie, Camembert}, Crumbly {Chèvre, Goat}, and Blue {Gorgonzola, Stilton}.
  • Try to choose one from each group so you can have a nice assortment for guests. I typically serve 3-5 different kinds depending on how many people I am having.
  • For harder cheeses {like Cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano}, I like to sometimes cut it up into smaller pieces ahead of time so that the guests can easily enjoy.

THE CHARCUTERIE

  • What goes great with cheese? Meat of course! For this one as well it is important to mix up the textures and colors.
  • Some great goto choices include: hard salami, thinly sliced prosciutto, chorizo, soppressata, and even pâté.
  • Adding some fresh cracked pepper and whole grain mustard to go with your meat is also a great idea.

BREAD & CRACKERS

  • You need some bread, crackers, etc. to go with your cheese and meat. I usually like to put out 2-3 different options for people to choose from.
  • Good sturdy crackers are always a classic, some other favorites include grilled french bread, sliced baguette, crispy crostinis, cheese straws {very pretty}, and whole grain crisps.
  • You can even add a small ramekin of olive oil for dipping as well as other fun spreads.

OTHER FUN ADD-ONS

  • I always like to add a few small bowls and ramekins of delicious spreads like honey and jams {apricot marmalade, fig jam, or even raspberry preserves}. These all go great with Brie and some of the other creamy cheeses.
  • To accompany the meats it is fun to add whole grain mustard, cornichons {tart little French pickles}, grapes, dried apricots, and other sliced fruit.
  • Lastly, some other great additions include nuts, olives, and even arugula for decoration and color.

And there you have it! The perfect cheese platter to pair with your Notable Wines. Now grab some friends and let the summer partying begin!

What is your favorite food to serve with wine? I would love to hear!