The perfect platter can turn any gathering or occasion into one your guests will be talking to all their friends about.
There is an art to it but once you learn a few basic tips it will come quite naturally. Essentially the perfect platter is made up of cheese, fruits, crackers and a dip. The idea is to mix it up a bit with your crackers, cheese and use the fruits to add additional colour and texture.
It’s all about colour and texture
The perfect platter is more about just a slab of cheese and some water crackers. It’s important to create visual interest through colour and texture. The way food looks plays a huge role in how we perceive it will taste. The best way to achieve this is by having a mix of cheese, fruits, nuts and crackers. Cured meats are also a great addition to any platter as they add an additional level of flavour and texture.
Choosing the right crackers
Choose a couple of different types of crackers that create interest and variation. Also, pick crackers that are quite plain and will not overpower the taste of the cheese and wine you are drinking. If you do go for flavoured crackers try to choose ones that will complement the rest of the platter and what you are drinking. Cracked pepper or sesame seed crackers are Very versatile. Most supermarkets now sell boxes of assorted crackers, so you don’t have to buy multiple types. Another alternative is a nice crusty loaf of bread that your guests can break up and enjoy.
Choosing the right cheeses
When choosing cheeses for a platter it’s good to follow a simple rule. Something old, something new, something blue. That way you cover everyone’s taste preferences at the gathering. You do not need large pieces. It’s better to get a couple of smaller pieces to suit everyone’s taste buds and match the wines your guests are drinking. If you are serving a very strong cheese it can overpower the other flavours and put people off. We suggest serving it on its own plate with accompaniments.
|Something new||Something old||Something blue|
Putting it all together
Most things you can buy in advance and it only takes a few minutes to pull together the perfect platter. Try to keep a few nuts, dried fruits and crackers on hand at all times. Even most cheeses keep for a few weeks so it may pay to get larger pieces and cut them in half. You can always put more out later.
Start by choosing your favourite wooden board or platter, the bigger the better. When putting it all together try to be less structured and place the bigger items first. If using a variety of crackers, try to pair them with particular cheeses.
Aim to take the cheeses out of the fridge before serving. It is recommended 30 minutes for hard cheeses and 5 for soft. This allows the cheese to have maximum flavour, cold mutes the flavour. It is a french tradition to have an odd number of cheeses and arrange them in a clockwise direction from mildest to strongest.
To finish – scatter the seasonal fruits and nuts in the empty spaces. Try to make it as full as possible to avoid it looking bare after a few minutes. Also, try to leave some space around the cheeses so that they can be cut.
If you want some further inspiration head on over to Vine Guide’s instagram. We have put together a brief shopping list below to help you get started.
Now a cheese platter is a must-have at your next gathering for your guests to enjoy with a glass of wine or champagne. Good luck!
Perfect platter shopping list
- Soft cheese – brie or camembert
- Vintage cheddar
- Blue cheese
- Assortment dried fruit – apricots, pear, dates or prunes
- Assortment of Nuts – almonds, cashews or walnuts
- Crackers – water crackers, wafers, biscuits
- Seasonal fruits