The Perfect Cheese Platter

April 8, 2013

Whenever I throw a party, I have this slight phobia that there won’t be enough food for my guests. A cheese platter is the perfect solution. Anytime I’m entertaining, I almost always put a platter out, whether its a full and large set like the one here or just to supplement other starters. With a beautiful cheese platter to graze on, none of your guests will go home hungry!

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

I typically pick out 3 or 4 different cheeses and supplement with nuts, cured meats, preserves and olives. The key is picking out a range of cheese so that you have something that suits everyone’s palate, so serving a blue, a soft, a hard and an aged covers most everyone’s preferences.

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

A good sharp white cheddar is always popular. I don’t like the look of pre-sliced cheese (especially when it has been sitting around), so instead I just take a pairing knife and break off large chunks.

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

I like to include a small wedge of blue, like Cashel Blue. Laid on its side is best for serving since its a little creamy and crumbly.

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

And you can never go wrong with a good triple cream. Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk is incredible and a real crowd pleaser.

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

Finally, a simple manchego is the perfect firm cheese especially if you have a fruit preserve to go with it.

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

I recently made a lot of kumquat jam so I included a small jar on the platter, which went wonderfully with the white cheddar.  Of course something like quince paste is a classic pairing with cheese.

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

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I always supplement with cured meats like prosciutto and sweet salami.

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

One of my favorite nuts is the marcona almond. If you’ve never had them, they’re like a richer version of a regular almond without the skin. You can add more flavor by roasting them lightly with extra origin olive oil and rosemary, but they’re delicious as is.

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

And no cheese patter at my party is complete without a bowl of olives. It is super simple to marinate your own with some lemon zest, coriander and bay leaves, and the best part is you can do this the day before. My favorites are Lucques, Nicoise, and Castelvetrano, but you can put together whatever combination you like. The key is to use unpitted olives, their flavor and texture is far superior to pitted olives.

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

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When arranging your platter try to play with different heights and keep the arrangement compact. I usually use a large slate cheese board or a large wood cutting board and place large chunks of cheese in different corners, with the tallest cheese on the edge so it’s easier to slice. Then, I fill in with small bowls of nuts, olives and fruit preserve (recipes to follow later this week). And finally, I fill in any free space with cured meats. I love this style of presentation and so will your guests!

The Perfect Cheese Platter // HonestlyYUM

(images by HonestlyYUM)


Thank you for sharing this wonderful cheese platter ideas. I will definitely try this for my party.

Do you buy all things need for a cheese platter at the same store? I live in California and have never made one before but would love to for an upcoming house warming party. So maybe sprouts, trader joes or regular grocery stores? Please help!

This came in time for Christmas as I volunteered a starter platter and then panicked when I realised I had no clue haha, thanks so much for this!

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That is art. I want to make something for a friend who has just graduated. I am single & don’t cook much, buy I feel totally confidant I could pull this off.

Karen, I share the same phobia so I always have a cheese platter…now I have the perfect list of items to include. Thank you for this post. The Honestly YUM photos are divine!

I followed your suggestions with the help if a local cheese shop on putting together a cheese plate for a dinner party last night and it was a hit! That Red Hawk cheese from Cowgirl Creamery is to die for. Thanks for the post, this was really helpful.

I always have a cheese plate. Even if its just dinner for 2. I love getting the “left over” cheese in the grocery store that wasn’t big enough for a regular slice. Its a nice way to save money and text out new cheeses.

This looks so beautiful!
Great tips for having the perfect spread. Love all the colors and textures.
Like you I’m always nervous there won’t be enough food. I always have a cheese plate, I’ll have to try these other cheeses that you recommended.
xo Quinn

Quinn Cooper Style

i’ve never made a cheese platter but if I make one in the future I would definitely come back for a reference point!

Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard … this looks incredible with a capital “I.” Definitely a fan of cured meats with cheese, too .. and white cheddar! Sigh. Thanks for posting this! I’ve been wanting to put together a cheese plate for a while but didn’t really know where to start .. really useful guide for beginners 🙂

Clearly not on a student’s budget with the prosciutto. Spread looks amazing though!

Thank you so much for this post! I am a huge cheese lover and am always looking for ways to arrange a cheese platter and this is the best I’ve seen.

My Dad saw this and has requested an honestly yum cheese plate for his 89th birthday!

You are quickly becoming my hero. Marcona almonds? Yes please!

white cheddar, prosciutto, and ANY jam is my favorite combo. Love being able to mix and match!

Lovely post- I’m a big fan of cheese platters and there is always a triple cream present. And probably a blue. I think one of the things I love so much about cheese platters like this is that they are pleasant to look at as well as eat.

Love this assembly of meats and cheeses! It doesn’t get much better than that. I love adding little toasted crostinis and Trader Joe’s fig butter to my spreads as well. =)

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