It is no secret that I live for a cheese platter. Any time of the year, any occasion, I’ll have a cheese board ready. This glorious fruit and cheese platter celebrates perfect Summer produce and a few soft, fresh cheeses. Add some crackers and charcuterie and you have a feast.
How to make a cheese platter
Step #1: Choose your board
I am of the opinion that bigger is better when it comes to a cheese board. I like using wood cheese boards for most of my cheese platters but I also like to use different trays to add some interest. Here I used a woven tray but marble, resin or acrylic trays all work well. The size will obviously be dictated by how many guests you are planning on serving. For a serving of 1-2, a cake stand will even work well. You’ll also kneed a sharp knife to cut through harder cheese as well as cheese knives for serving.
What cheese to put on a cheese platter?
It’s important to use a variety of cheese so that you can showcase different flavors and textures, but also to cater to a variety of palates. For this Summer fruit and cheese platter I used a lot of fresh and soft cheese as I think they work so well with the fresh fruit that is in season in Summer. But use the guide below to inspire your cheese choices. It’s a good idea to include at least one of each category but the bigger your party, the more you can play around with amounts and styles of cheese.
- Soft cheese / fresh cheese: I used fresh mozzarella that I marinated in olive oil, salt and chilli flakes but Burrata would also be delicious. Boursin, blue cheese like Gorgonzola, Stilton or Roquefort, Brie, Camembert and Chevin (soft goat’s cheese) are some of my favorite soft cheeses.
- Semi-hard cheese: I used Cheddar with fresh chillies and slices of Gruyere. Other semi-hard cheese that are good are Gouda, Comté, Emmentaler, Taleggio, Manchego, Havarti and Fontina.
- Hard cheese: Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), Pecorino Romano, Asiago and Grana Padano are all good hard cheese to include. They are drier in texture and are excellent paired with fruits like apples and pears and chutneys/jams/honey.
Should I add meat to a cheese platter?
It isn’t absolutely necessary since this isn’t a charcuterie board, but I do like adding a few slices of cured meat. If you’d prefer to keep it vegetarian, feel free to omit the meat. Good options are salami, prosciutto, Parma ham, Coppa, Black Forest ham, sliced Chorizo or Mortadella.
What else can I add to my cheese board?
Finish your platter by adding fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, crackers, breadsticks, bread, jams (fig jam is great) or chutney. I used a lot of fresh fruit for this platter because I wanted to celebrate the bounty of the season. You can add absolutely any fruit of your choice but I decided on stone fruit (nectarines, but plums, peaches and cherries are also great), berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries), grapes, figs and watermelon. Kiwi, apples, pears and cantaloupe/orange melon are also good options.
I added cherry tomatoes and basil to pair with the fresh mozzarella. Olives (I used Castelvetrano olives), pickles (cornichons) and a selection of crackers add texture. Remember to choose gluten free bread or crackers if needed. Marcona almonds, pistachios and dried fruit like apricots are also great for adding texture to your finished board.
How to arrange a cheese platter
Start with your board then arrange the cheeses on it first. Slice and cube some of the cheeses to add visual interest and lay them in a decorative pattern on the board. Next, add the fruit. Again, slice the fruit into slices or halves and group them together. A big bunch of grapes looks more impressive then a few grapes randomly scattered.
Fruit like strawberries and figs can be halved but leave some whole. Add a few small bowls for olives, pickles, jams, etc. Next add your crackers or bread (baguette slices are ideal) and finally lay any meat you choose to use in between the cheese and fruit. I like to fold salami slices but some meat slices can be rolled or simply laid on the board casually. Fill in any spots of extra fruit (berries are good for this) and nuts.
How much cheese do I need?
A good rule of thumb is to have 1 or 2 ounces of cheese/30-60 grams of each cheese per guest. If you are serving a very pungent or interesting cheese that might be a challenge to some palates, feel free to reduce the amount as you don’t want cheese to go to waste. Popular cheeses like Brie and most of the semi-hard cheeses will probably go first you might want to get a few ounces extra of those.
Cheese board recipes
Summer fruit and cheese platter
- 4-5 Cheese varieties of your choice at least one hard, one soft, one blue and one interesting cheese. 1-2oz/30-60g per person
- Fresh Summer fruit Berries, melon, figs, grapes, Kiwi. Use any and all seasonal fruit.
- crackers/bread fresh sliced baguette, crackers, bread sticks, seed crackers
- Pickles Castelveltrano Olives, cornichons, pickled onions or pickled peppers
- Preserves Jams, jellies and fruit preserves like fig jam are delicious and go well with a variety of cheeses
- Nuts Pistachios, Marcona almonds, walnuts, etc.
- Charcuterie optional but delicious. Salami, Prosciutto, Parma ham or Coppa. A pot of Pâté is also a good idea. A few slices per person of each.
- Arrange the cheese on your serving board or platter first.
- Slice and cube some of the cheeses with a sharp knife to add visual interest and lay them in a decorative pattern on the board.
- Next, add the fruit. Again, slice the fruit into slices or halves and group them together. A big bunch of grapes looks more impressive then a few grapes randomly scattered. Halve some of the strawberries and figs then add to the board in groups.
- Add a few small bowls for olives, pickles, jams, etc then fill them.
- Add your crackers or bread, again grouping them together.
- Lay any meat you choose to use in between the cheese and fruit. I like to fold salami slices but some meat slices can be rolled or simply laid on the board casually.
- Fill in any spots of extra fruit (berries are good for this) and nuts and serve.
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