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Holiday Entertaining Tips: Ultimate Cheese Platter

I love cheese, and I especially love a cheese platter.  But I will say, sometimes it’s kind of intimidating.  There’s soft, hard, stinky, creamy, and other qualifiers that describe cheese.  Plus, you also have to determine the pairings that go with each cheese…then there are the crackers and bread.  And don’t forget the meat!  Constructing a cheese plate can be a very complicated task.

Luckily, Emily Murphey helped me deconstruct and then reconstruct a cheese table.  Yes, a CHEESE TABLE!  Without further ado, here is my Holiday Entertaining Tips: Ulitmate Cheese Platter post.  This a BIG post, so take your time and enjoy!

Photos provided by Emily Tidwell Photography.

Ultimate Cheese Platter

Isn’t this cheese table fabulous?  The table is constructed of individual platters that can be created on their own or pair a couple of them together for a larger platter.

Here are some upfront suggestions when looking to create your own cheese platter.

  1. Bargain shop!  A cheese platter can get expensive.  Emily suggests Grocery Outlet as your first stop for cheese and meats.  She was right!  The Blue cheese, Havarti, and Aged Cheddar were all $2.99 each.  The Salami pack was $3.99 and the Proscuitto was $8.99.  For the other three cheese selections – Goat was purchased from Costco as a two pack for $6.79 and the Brie and Manchego can be purchased from Trader Joe’s for around $6.00 each.  The total cost for the cheese & meat, for our very large cheese table, was just over $40.  The dried apricots were $2.99 and the mixed olives were $3.99, both from Nugget and on special.
  2. Use pairings already purchased.  I already had the almonds, apples, and mandarines.  Emily brought, from her home, the pistachios, plain almonds, chocolate bar, and chocolate covered berries.  Plus, I made a homemade batch of spiced nuts (the recipe is at the end of the post).
  3. Splurge sparingly.  The most expensive single item I purchased was the Seka Hills Honey for around $9.00.  It’s an expense that is worth the money.  It is by far my favorite honey and paired with the goat cheese…it’s out of this world.
  4. Bread and crackers.  This doesn’t have to be expensive either.  For the entire table, I purchased two loaves from Nugget for under $10.00.  I also bought a specialty cracker (my favorite is Raincoast Crisps – Fig & Olive) for around $7.00.

If I had to estimate how much the ENTIRE table cost, between Emily and me, I would say around $100, give or take a few bucks.  Divide this by the six cheese plates/options and you’re looking at one great cheese platter for under $20!

So, here we go…
Ultimate Cheese Platter

1.  Sliced green apples | 2.  Goat cheese (Costco) | 3.  Seka Hills Honey  | 4. Salted Pistachio nuts | 5.  Manchego cheese (Trader Joe’s).

Pairing suggestions: Manchego & baguette | Gourmet cracker, green apple & honey drizzled Goat cheese (my personal favorite!) | Manchego & green apple

Hints: Drizzle an ample amount of honey over the Goat cheese | Precut a portion of the Manchego so guests don’t have to guess how much to take | Cut the bread into thin slices | Provide knives and spoons as shown.

*****

Ultimate Cheese Platter

1.  Lori Carrion’s spiced almonds (recipe below) | 2.  Blue Cheese (Grocery Outlet) | 3. Apricots & Apricot preserve | 4. Store bought mixed olives

Pairing Suggestions: Baguette, apricot preserve & Blue Cheese | A handful of nuts (trust me, you’ll grab more..they are delicious)

*****

Ultimate Cheese Platter

1.  Havarti Cheese (Grocery Outlet) | 2. Brie cheese (Trader Joe’s) | 3.  Whole Almonds | 4.  Salami (Grocery Outlet)

Pairing Suggestions: Water cracker, Brie with a few almonds | Havarti, salami with a baguette | Baguette, Brie & prosciutto (see next platter) | Baguette, apricot & Brie

Hints: Place the Brie, unwrapped, on a plate near a heated oven to warm it up (it should be served at room temperature or warmer) | Pre-slice a few pieces of Havarti

*****

Ultimate Cheese Platter

1.  Sliced apple | 2. Proscuitto (Grocery Outlet)

Pairing Suggestions: Proscuitto works with anything, in my humble opinion! | Apple & Cheddar, with or without a cracker

Hints: Emily suggested keeping the meats on a separate board than the cheese, in case a guest or two are vegetarians.

*****

Cheddar platter1. Aged Cheddar Cheese (Grocery Outlet) | 2.  Green apples, sliced | 3.  Chocolate covered assorted berries | 4.  Toblerone chocolate

Pairing Suggestions: Um…chocolate with anything! | Cheddar with Green apple | Cheddar, salami & water cracker

Hints: This platter can be served after dinner, as a dessert.  It’s light and chocolate is always a winner.

*****

Ultimate Cheese PlateLori Carrion’s Spiced Nuts (Seriously to die for!)

16oz nuts (any type works, salted or not)
2 TBSP Fresh rosemary, chopped
2 TBSP Brown sugar
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
2 TBSP butter, melted

Directions:
Preheat oven 350 degrees
Roast nuts on cookie sheet for 10 minutes.  While nuts are roasting, combine all remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Mix the warm nuts with butter mixture.  Served warm or cool completely by spreading spiced nuts on a cookie sheet.

Other Resources:
Candle set & dessert cheese plate board – Well-Stocked

Emily Murphey – website
emily@emilymurphey.com
530-908-8013
Facebook

Emily Tidwell Photography – website
emilytidwellphotography@gmail.com
530-681-0646
Facebook

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Great post! I love the detailed info and the pictures are wonderful! This is so very helpful!
Happy Holidays?

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