Anyone else love playing hostess? Even if you’re in a shoebox sized apartment (my roommate and I share a converted one bedroom…you can see part of it here, though it looks pretty different a year and a half later), it’s nice to have a little group over once in awhile for a casual night of drinks + good conversation. Our living room only comfortably fits about 6 people, so any more means getting creative with the setup and consolidating the food spread as much as possible. But no matter who’s coming over and how many people there are, one thing stays consistent: cheese is served.
The best part about a cheese plate is that you can totally customize it depending on what you know your guests will like, what your favorite cheese are, and what cheese is available or on sale at the store! You also really only need one or two receptacles for serving…I’ll use a narrow platter or a small cheeseboard + little bowls.
The new highlight of all my upcoming cheese plates is going to be this lazy Susan cheese board from UncommonGoods. I mean, isn’t it the worst when people are reaching over each other and potentially knocking things over (my nightmare…and jute rugs do not like stains)? They kindly sent over this cheese board, and it may be the best item to hit our cabinets since my roommate’s Vitamix. You can also write in the names of each cheese with chalk, which was a huge selling point for me–it sort of just helps take the presentation to the next level. And if lazy Susan’s aren’t a requirement for you or you’re looking for a great gift under $20, LOVE this one!
There are lots of “rules” surrounding cheese plates but just a few things to keep in mind if you’re going for ease and simplicity. This may or may not be the “right” way to do things, but I’ve found that it a) won’t break the bank and b) is a consistent crowd-pleaser.
Have a mix of textures. I used manchego (hard), brie (soft), and Unexpected Cheddar (block). You can also include a few mixed nuts to accompany the cheese–my personal favorite for this is walnuts.
Hit up the meats. Who else loves charcuterie? Pick up a small selection of dried meats and slice thinly. Unsurprisingly, Trader Joe’s has a great selection, but any normal grocery store will do the trick.
Incorporate something sweet. My go-to here is a little bowl of jam or dried fruit (I used dried cranberries in this post). Something to break up the meat + cheese flavor (and a nice touch for those who don’t eat red meat). Grapes and/or sliced apples are great, too.
Don’t forget the base. Crackers and/or bread do the trick…I like to serve both, but stuck with whole wheat water crackers this time around. Water crackers are great because they’re light and most people like them, but you can also go with something like Club crackers or something a little fancier!
As an aside, there’s this great visual on how to cut different kinds of cheese. As someone who never really maintains brie’s wedge shape (as evidenced in the photo above), I definitely learned something new!
If you haven’t heard of UncommonGoods, I highly recommend checking them out if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for unique, thoughtful gifts–they’re not called “UncommonGoods” for nothing! Any site that makes shopping for the boys easier (if you’re stumped and your guy drinks, the whiskey rocks are a good bet) and has a wide selection of these (#teammonogram) is a winner in my book.
What’re your favorite kinds of cheese? I’m always looking for new ones (for instance, I’d have never tried Unexpected Cheddar, and now it’s a favorite!). What are some of the other little additions (dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts) that you like to include?
This post was done in partnership with UncommonGoods. As always, all opinions are my own! Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Cake & Lilies’ doors open!
Photos by me; cheese graphic via