How to Make the Ultimate Cheese Board




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How to Make the Ultimate Cheese Board ~ an easy meat and cheese platter is ideal for the busy holiday season. ~ it’s quick to throw together, looks stunning, feeds 2 or 200 as an appetizer or a light meal, and even the pickiest eaters can’t resist!

* Today I’m teaming up with Pavilions to bring you all the fixings for easy holiday entertaining. Partnering with great brands is one of the ways tvfgi keeps the delicious coming, thank you for supporting both of us!

How to Make the Ultimate Cheeseboard!

Holiday entertaining is mixed blessing, for sure.  Whether you’re surrounded by an extended family, out of town guests, or just a few neighbors who show up unexpectedly, entertaining can be at best mildly stressful, and at worst downright costly!  I turn to my local Pavilions to stock up on the makings for a festive and totally satisfying cheese and meat platter that solves just about every entertaining dilemma.  Most of the ingredients are pantry or fridge stable for weeks, so I’m ready for anything.

How to Make the Ultimate Cheeseboard with olives, cheeses, spreads, and more.

My local Pavilions has everything I need for my cheese board, from the basics like cheese and crackers, to little luxuries like pomegranates and figs!  I just grab my cart, start in aisle 1 and weave my way through the store.  I look for O Organics® and Open Nature® products, available in my area exclusively at Pavilions stores, because I can get USDA certified organic and all natural products at a reasonable price.

Pavilions’ exclusive store brands help me treat my guests to the best, with money left over to fill those stockings!

How to Make the Ultimate Cheese Board with Brie cheese, rolled meats, and fruit.

TIP: Mixing O Organics or Primo Taglio brand cheeses with imported cheeses helps to keep the cost in check and also provides a good variety for people’s personal preference.  Some people love the basics when it comes to cheese, and others want something more exotic.  I was able to find both at my store, which I appreciate.

How to make the ultimate cheese board with meats, cheeses, dried fruits, and hummus.

I’ve always loved cured meats, and you have to have them on a great cheese platter, but I worry about eating nitrates.  I’m so glad I discovered  Pavilions Open Nature packaged meats because they’re uncured, with no nitrates ~ I can finally relax about eating my favorite salami!

How to make the ultimate cheese board with dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, and cheeses

By the time I’m in the checkout lane I’ve not only gotten my cheese board sorted, I picked up a beautiful fresh debbi lily balsam wreath for the door.  That’s what I call one stop shopping, so sweet.

a holiday wreath

As my girls grew up and started to make their own plans during the holidays we developed a tradition to bring us together that’s stuck over the years ~ we’ll schedule a night, usually mid week to avoid conflicts, to decorate the tree and watch It’s a Wonderful Life.  We’ll have a yummy cheese board like this one to nibble on while we work away on the tree, laugh like hyenas over the ornaments the girls made in elementary school, and argue over which part of the movie is the best.  Fyi it’s when George walks into the old mansion after Mary’s ‘fixed it up’…duh.

A cheese platter with cheese, meats, veggies, and fruit

So grab your largest platter, shallow basket, or cutting board and let’s get started on this epic cheese board.  Don’t have a huge platter?  No worries, you can even arrange everything directly on a clean table surface if you need to.  You’re going for a rustic look, so don’t sweat the small details. 

How to Make the Ultimate Cheeseboard with fruits, nuts, hummus, cheeses, meats, and more!

Ultimate Cheese Board Rules ~

  • Allow about 2 ounces of cheese per person.
  • Curate 3 – 6 different types of cheese.  Make sure to include something gooey, something aged, something creamy, and something blue, then fill in with your favorites.  Consider different shapes, colors, flavors, and textures.  I used a mix of Open Nature brand and imported cheeses like Brie, Manchego, Blue, goat cheese, and my own HOMEMADE BOURSIN.  I always add some cubed cheese for the traditionalists and kids in the crowd.
  • Add 2 or 3 types of meat.  I used Open Nature uncured meats like Prosciutto, Dry Salami, and Applewood Smoked Ham.  I like to have sliced meats, which I sometimes roll for easier grabbing, and a whole sausage of some sort, partially sliced.  I always try to include one smoked choice for that wonderful flavor.
  • A variety of crackers, pita chips, and cheese straws, mine are Open Nature.  They should be relatively plain so they don’t compete with the flavors of the cheese, etc.  Rice crackers are nice for gluten free eaters.
  • I like to include a vegan friendly dip, like O Organics hummus, along with fresh veggies like O Organics baby carrots, and some fresh green snap peas, and cherry tomatoes for dipping.
  • Dried fruit like Signature Farms® and O Organics apricots, cherries, and figs.
  • At least one type of nut, either raw or roasted.  I used O Organics roasted cashews and almonds
  • Fresh fruit adds color and helps balance out the richness of the meats and cheese. Classics are grapes, apples, and pears.  But think seasonally, I used Mandarin oranges, cranberries, and a pomegranate for a festive touch.
  • Olives and assorted marinated items from the olive bar, buy whatever looks good.  Don’t forget to set out a little bowl for olive pits.
  • One or two interesting condiments.  I used O Organics Honey and Crushed Pepper Flakes to make my quick homemade HOT PEPPER HONEY.  I love to include a WINE JELLY too.
  • Every cheese platter needs some mustard, I used a classic Dijon.
  • Tuck in some fresh herbs or leaves for presentation.
  • Pay attention to color...you have the choice between purple and green grapes, a red or a yellow pear…choose a pleasing palette and your platter will pop!  Details like glossy black olives or bright red sun dried tomatoes really make a difference.
  • Don’t crowd your platter too tightly, leave room for people to maneuver.  A gorgeous cheese platter can quickly devolve into a hot mess if you don’t.
  • Provide a small cheese knife or spreader for every cheese and every dip.  Pre-slice or cut into easy cubes any cheese that is hard or difficult to cut. Provide small spoons for the condiments.
  • Set a stack of cocktail napkins and toothpicks within easy reach.
  • Voilà ~ your cheese platter is ready and you can relax and enjoy the party!

Ingredients for an epic cheese platter

 

I was in Pavilions early in the day when I picked up my cheese plate ingredients, and it was interesting to see how many employees were busy gathering items for their Home Delivery customers.  They were wheeling around giant super carts with lots of compartments, and they were working off portable computer screens.  I’ve gotten delivery many times, but never seen the process in action.  I was reminded that the food comes straight from the store shelves, not some abstract warehouse, and you’re getting the same food you’d reach for yourself if you had the time to shop.

If you’re interested in giving Pavilions Grocery Delivery a try, visit shop.Pavilions.com and use the code SEASONSEATINGS to recieve free delivery on your first order.

How to Make the Perfect Holiday Cheese Board
Rate this recipe
7 ratings

Category: appetizer

Yield: serves 20+

How to Make the Perfect Holiday Cheese Board

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of 6 different cheeses, get a mix of creamy (like Brie) aged (like Manchego) Blue, goat, and something unique, like the Ale laced Irish Cheddar I used.
  • 1/4 pound smoked ham, rolled
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced salami
  • 1 log of dry salami or summer sausage
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, rolled
  • 1/2 pound mixed olives
  • 10 ounce tub of prepared hummus
  • baby carrots and snap peas for dipping
  • about a cup of dried apricots ( use cranberries or cherries as well)
  • 1 cup marinated feta
  • 1 cup marinated sun dried tomatoes
  • 2-3 types of fresh fruit such as a ripe pear, apples, pomegranate, grapes, tangerines, figs, etc.
  • nuts, either raw or salted and roasted, I used almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews
  • Dijon or honey mustard
  • wine jelly, hot pepper jelly, honey, fig jam, or other condiment of your choice
  • 3-4 types of crackers or sliced baguette

Instructions

  1. Arrange your cheeses first, providing a cheese knife or spreader with each. Lay down a small piece of parchment or waxed paper underneath the cheese if you like.
  2. Add the sliced meats, rolling some of them if you like, along with the hummus and veggies.
  3. Fill in the spaces with your dried and fresh fruit, olives, nuts, etc. Be sure to include a spoon or knife with each condiment like mustard that you use.
  4. Set out your cheese an hour ahead of time to give it a chance to come to room temperature. Cover everything loosely with plastic so nothing dries out.

 

Don’t forget to pin this ultimate cheese board!

 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Companies. The opinions and text are all mine.

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20 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Adina
    December 20, 2017 at 1:51 am

    Stunning! Such an impressive dinner when having friends over!

  • Reply
    Matt @ The Bluenosers
    December 19, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Great little guide, but wow that spread looks amazing! Perfect for the season!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    December 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    This is so stunning, the perfect holiday cheese board!

  • Reply
    Earl Williams
    December 19, 2017 at 8:42 am

    This is an outstanding guide for setting up a cheese tray. Thank you so very much.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    December 18, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous Sue! I wish I had this for dinner tonight, and tomorrow!

  • Reply
    Chris H
    December 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I love cheese boards, always have! Yours is stunning Sue.

  • Reply
    Liz
    December 18, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    What a gorgeous cheese board, Sue!!! You have an artist’s eye and the arrangement is just spectacular. I’d happily make this my dinner!!!

  • Reply
    Mimi
    December 18, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Stunning platters and spreads! I don’t have that brand where I live, but I love what you did with all of the products.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 18, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Thank you Mimi! Be sure to check the store locator if you’re looking for the products :)

  • Reply
    Monica | Nourish & Fete
    December 18, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Sue, this is beyond beautiful – really just gorgeous. Your photos make me want to dive in head first! I am also heading straight away to check out your homemade Boursin recipe, because OH MY GOD homemade Boursin!?

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 18, 2017 at 7:08 am

      Thanks Monica ~ and enjoy that Boursin!

  • Reply
    Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
    December 18, 2017 at 6:04 am

    That is one gorgeous cheese board! YUM!!! Perfect for a holiday party!

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    December 18, 2017 at 5:57 am

    I could seriously eat a cheese board every single day! So good! Looks beautiful :)

  • Reply
    Tina
    December 18, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Your cheese board looks so festive. The last one I made wasn’t nearly as beautiful as yours:)

  • Reply
    Souzan Karadsheh
    December 18, 2017 at 5:38 am

    I could eat this all day long! What a beautiful cheeseboard. love the variety!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 18, 2017 at 5:41 am

      We went through a phase a few years back when we did have a cheese plate once a week for dinner, it was so elegant :)

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    December 18, 2017 at 5:35 am

    That is such a beautiful cheese board! Loving all the great ideas for entertaining and such delicious choices :)

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    December 18, 2017 at 3:35 am

    Now I want to have a peak at your pantry! Cheese board makes a perfect party centerpiece.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 18, 2017 at 5:41 am

      My pantry was groaning after this, for sure, but we have the makings for several more epic cheese plates!