Easy Cheese and Meat Tray
As many of you know, I love entertaining family and friends. But when the heat of summer is in full swing, I like to keep entertaining easy and stress-free. One of my go to essentials for keeping things simple, is a gorgeous meat and cheese platter. It's not too fancy, and it's ready in 10 minutes or less.
I don't follow any crazy rules for putting together a cheese platter!! I believe serving cheese should be fun and uncomplicated. It should be about serving an appetizer that is both delicious and that your guests can nibble on while leaving a little room for dinner! And don't forget to make it beautiful!!! It's all about the presentation.
To be honest, sometimes a cheese platter will be the main course for my husband and when we don't want a heavy meal. Especially during the hot summer months.
If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's by you, it is one of the best places to find the essentials for putting together a good cheese tray. It is inexpensive yet offers a great selection of high-quality cheese and crackers.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Serve cheese at room temperature. Cheese is made and aged at cool room temperatures, so it makes sense that it is best to enjoy it at the same temperatures. Be careful not to warm it up too much during the summer months.
- Offer at least three (3) different kinds cheeses. (A soft cheese such as burrata or soft-ripened cheese such as brie or even a camembert, a semi-soft cheese such as a gouda or blue cheese and a firm cheese such as aged cheddar or parmesan. You can add a goat cheese too. Goat cheese is great for spreading on crackers with your choice of sweet or savory spreads.. The key is to use cheese that you love to eat.
- If you are going to add meats to your tray, there should be an array of cure meats such as salami or aged meats such as Jamon Serrano (Spanish Ham)
- Don't forget to add a little crunch by providing a selection of crackers, crusty French bread, olives and nuts.
- Offer a few sweet and savory spreads. Try a fig jam and pepper jelly. They add textures and sweetness to the to the mix!!
- Finally, add a few fresh fruits to the platter. I like to add fresh strawberries, grapes, pears or apples. They refresh the palette and everyone likes to munch on a healthy treat from time to time...
Now That You Have The Basics, Let's Talk About The How To:
- Begin by selecting the type of tray, platter, or board which you will use to serve the cheese on. I prefer to use wood cutting boards or marble boards. They always make food look beautiful and extra special but any board that you already own will be fine.
- Next, begin assembling your tray. Keep in mind that a cheese board is just like a table, you want to create visual interest. I always like to begin by adding a focal point at the center of my tray. This could be achieved by using grapes or a cheese that I want to showcase.
- Begin adding your cheese to the board. Be sure that the triangles are facing out.
- Now that these cheeses are in place, begin adding your crackers and crunchy bread. Place the crackers around the cheese.
- Add your crunchies around the empty spots on your tray.
- Finally, add your spreads. You can place them directly on the cheese board or simply place them next to it.
Here are a couple of cheese platter guides that I found on Pinterest to help you along...
Most importantly, keep it to your liking and don't stress about it. Be adventurous. Try something new. In no time, you will have an amazing appetizer that your family and friends will love!!
Thank you for coming to visit.
Happy summer entertaining friends.