When my husband and I were newly married, without kids, we had a holiday tradition of inviting other young couples over for a Christmas get together.  Everyone would bring something to eat, usually lots of cookies/candies/baked goods, and warm gooey dips.  We’d hang out and play games and stuff our faces.  One year, which I still remember clearly, my friend Wendy brought a cheese plate.  I thought it was super cool because a cheese plate just seemed, so, grown-up.  When I was a teenager, my friend’s Mom Helen (Helen, creator of the infamous Wonton Salad, Helen) often brought cheese plates to baby showers and wedding luncheons and I remember thinking back then, “hmm…I wonder when I’ll be grown-up enough to know what to put on a cheese plate?”  Back to the Christmas Party- my one memory of that year (besides some really crazy white elephant gifts) was that we couldn’t pull anyone away from the cheese, including me!  It was such a fresh, flavorful, delicious alternative to all of the sugar and carbs that saturate the month of December.  And that’s the day I decided I needed to be a cheese plate sort of person.

The whole idea of putting together a cheese board can be overwhelming.  “Fancy” cheese sometimes has a reputation for being stinky cheese, and expensive cheese, and even if you aren’t scared of it, you may not have a clue about what sorts of things to pair everything with.  So I thought I’d write out some guidelines for anyone wanting to join the ranks of sophisticated adults who bring cheese platters to parties ;)

Let’s talk cheese.  You don’t need to go crazy; choose a few different types of cheeses thinking about both flavor and texture.  If you have a good grocery store with a specialty cheese section; go there!  Local Co-ops and markets are great as well.  An educated cheese-monger (yep, totally what they’re called) is so helpful.   They can help you sample cheeses and pick out a good variety.  I actually reached out to a friend of mine at Whole Foods because they have an amazing cheese department and they hooked me up with some great choices and gave me some really helpful tips.

Remember, you just need to account for little samples for each person, so even if a cheese is expensive per pound you can usually get away with a fairly small amount.  Here are some of my personal favorites; and keep in mind I don’t get too crazy with my cheese- I don’t like cheeses that are intense, and if you are serving this at a party it’s better to stay with things that are likely to be in people’s comfort zones!  So these are all pretty “safe” bets; try a soft cheese, a hard cheese, and a crumbly cheese, and then add in more if you need to.

Soft  Cheeses

Brie: A soft, mild, creamy cheese generally sold in either a wedge or a round.  It has an edible rind; we use brie in our Baked Brie with Pepper Jelly recipe.

Camembert:  Very similar in taste and texture to Brie.  Many people feel it has a slightly stronger taste, in both the cheese and rind.  Brie is so widely available that I almost always choose it over Camembert.

Chèvre/Goat Cheese:  Honestly?  I don’t love goat cheese.  I actually don’t even like goat cheese.  But a lot of people do, and it’s widely available even at not-so-well stocked grocery stores so that’s a good choice if you enjoy it.

Boursin/Gourney:  You can find Boursin in most grocery stores now too, and my Costco carries it.  If you haven’t tried it, it’s a must.  It’s like a flavored cream-cheese-ish cheese fantastic spread on crackers or fresh french bread.  I could easily eat an entire little bundle all my myself.  Seriously.  Rondele is another name you’ll see; they taste almost identical.

And for hard cheeses, I love

Gruyere:  This is one of my favorite cheeses to cook with.  It comes from Switzerland (which makes me love it even more as I have some ties to Switzerland).  The flavor is distinct, but not overpowering.  We use it in our Zucchini Quiche, and a lot of baked pasta dishes.  It is sold in a block or slice, usually with a rind on one side that you do not eat.  It kind of reminds me of a cheese that would result from Parmesan and Swiss Cheese having a baby.

Parmesan Cheese:  Fresh Parm is always a good bet.  It’s familiar and distinct and you know you can use leftovers if you end up with any!  I’d link some recipes we use Parmesan in, but there are like, 400 of them.  Just visit our pasta section.

Aged Cheddar:  A really good, aged cheddar is fantastic.  There are lots of varieties, so try to sample some for a flavor you love.

Gouda:  Smoked gouda is one of my very favorite cheeses; it usually has a waxy rind with a creamy, sweet interior.  The smoky flavor is strong enough to really impart the flavor; it’s great to eat plain.

and then there’s…

Blue Cheese (Roquefort/Gorgonzola/Stilton):  I know, I know…they can be scary.  I will admit I am very timid with blue cheeses; they have a very distinct flavor and odor.  I have a hard time eating them plain, but I can eat 6 of these Blue Cheese Stuffed Potatoes in one sitting (seriously, those babies are amazing). So when combined with the right things, they can add a great flavor combination to the plate.

Labeling
Labeling the cheese is really important; people need to know what they’re trying!  Cheese sets (like this one I borrowed from cheese-plate-Wendy) often come with little name tags, but a toothpick with a label on it will do just as well.

You’ll also need a little knife for each cheese.  Again, you can get a set of cheese knives that comes with different forks and knifes for the different varieties.  You could also just use a few sharp paring knives.  Just be sure to have a knife for each cheese; you want to avoid mixing the knives as they’ll mix flavors.

What to serve?
Try a variety of crackers and a fresh baguette.  I love 34° Crispbread; have you guys all tried those?  My grandma introduced me to them (the rosemary flavor is to die for) and I always eat up her stock pile when I visit her in Utah.  She buys them at a little local market, so I was totally surprised when I saw them a few months ago at my local Walmart of all places.  Anyway, tangent over.  Try some interesting crackers and toasts.  And seriously- gotta say I love me some Wheat Thins!

Also, grab a couple of jams or preserves.  Sour cherry is especially great with cheese and fruit, and one that I was surprised by was fig jam.  It was SO amazing with brie and an apple slice.  Pepper jelly is fantastic with cheese as well.  I’ve found a really great assortment of specialty jams and preserves at both World Market and Whole Foods.  If you have a local Co-op or Farmers Market, that’s a great place to check out as well.  And as for cheeses, while specialty cheese counters are wonderful; I’ve found great selections at Costco and Sam’s Club as well.  If you know what you want, that’s a great place to check.

Lastly, set out some fresh fruit.  Pear and apple slices are a must, and some berries and grapes are great too, as well as some nuts.

It might help to have some little cards out suggesting what people pair together.  Blue Stilton with Sour Cherry Spread, for example

or as I mentioned, fig spread with brie and apple.

And then just let people have at it.

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I promise it will be such a great addition to your next party spread!  One last tip is to set your cheeses out at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving; that way they’ll be at their best.

 

While this is not a sponsored post, my friends at Whole Foods did supply me with some cheeses and we want you to enjoy some too!  Don’t worry, they’ll send ya cash, not cheese.  Better, right?  Then you can go spend it on whatever you want.  Listen carefully folks, this is not the giveaway post. If you enter here your comment will be deleted.  Comments here should be all about the love of cheese!  Seriously, let’s talk cheese plates.  When you’re done with that, and if you’re reading this via email, click here.  Don’t email me.  I say that in the most loving way :)  I hope you all have a happy, and *safe* New Years!  Please don’t hop in your cars if you’ve been celebrating the night away with bubbly :)  We’ll see you again in 2012!!

 

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240comments

  1. 1
    Krista Stevenson says:

    it would be fun to try so many different kinds of cheese! I have only ever tried brie and your basic run-of-the mill cheeses.

  2. 2
    Karen Kuilboer says:

    After serving in the France Marseille Mission some 12 years ago, cheese still puts a BIG smile on my face! :) Thanks for the tips. I’m sure you’ll put some smiles on a lot more faces! :)

  3. 3
    Jen says:

    One thing that Europe does better than the U.S. is cheese. My personal favorite is manchego cheese, but I’m partial to all things Spanish since I went on a mission there.

  4. 4
    Heather BH says:

    Awesome Tut/Review ^^ This really makes me wants to experiment more with Cheese. Although, a store here once in a while has a cheese titled “No woman” cheese that I go nuts for. I am pretty adventurous with cheese but I have never gone to this extent and your post makes me want too ^^

  5. 5

    This is a great post! Cheese is sometimes intimidating and it shouldn’t be!

  6. 6
    Merrill says:

    Great ideas here – thanx!! I found a large slate board at World Market last Christmas and have had fun using it for cheese displays. I made a cheese plate this year in the shape of a Christmas tree and used chalk to draw an arrow from the cheese to it’s name and used sprigs of rosemary to seperate the different cheeses (and to look like evergreen branches.) It worked out well – I’ll use these tips next time and it’ll be even better!!

  7. 7
    Lindsay says:

    I am no cheese expert, but one that I’ve tried and loved is havarti cheese.

  8. 8
    Beth says:

    Such a helpful overview, but now I’m craving cheese and it’s before 8 a.m.! :)

  9. 9
    Boodoggy says:

    Smoked gruyere. I used to buy way too much of it when I lived in West Texas. Now I’m in Western NY and I can’t find it. I’ll be stocking up on my next trip to visit friends in Texas!

  10. 10
    Cynthia says:

    This sounds like a really fun idea for a New Year’s Eve party. Thanks for the great tips!

  11. 11
    Julie says:

    I love muenster cheese cubes pierced with pretzel sticks.

  12. 12
    Rachael says:

    I LOVE goat cheese!!

  13. 13
    Kriss says:

    “Cheese-plate-Wendy” has some cool stuff! I think I need a cheese plate set now! It really looks fantastic and totally grown-up!

  14. 14
    Kristin says:

    Our new favorite cheese is Dubliner. It is so good. Tastes kind of like parmesan, but softer. Great on crackers.

  15. 15

    Thanks for the tips. I love the idea of jelly on a cheee board!
    Thanks for sharing
    Susan

  16. 16
    Patti says:

    I don’t think I am grown up yet enough to pull this off.

  17. 17
    Sunny says:

    I’m going tohave my hubby read this. He loves all things cheese!

  18. 18
    Kim says:

    Thanks for the great tips! I also appreciated the pairing tips–great ideas. My whole extended family on my side LOVES cheese. We once had a cheese-tasting party and sampled all kinds.

  19. 19
    Kristi says:

    What awesome ideas! I MUST try the brie, fig jam and apple slice! Sounds amazing!!

  20. 20
    Jessica says:

    This is a very helpful post! Thank you so much, can’t wait to bring this to my next party or a little wine party at home.

  21. 21
    Jen says:

    Smoked Mozzarella w/ crispy bread is heavenly!! If you anyone has a Trader Joe’s by them, they have great (and affordable) varieties of cheese.

  22. 22
    Trista says:

    I just came to your site to find something yummy to bring to a New Year’s Day party. It’s on my birthday, so I wanted something a little more special than dip from a crock pot. Thanks for the great idea!!

  23. 23
    Kris Ball says:

    I love cheese in any form: fondue, liquified, wedged, over noodles, etc… I think my favorite cheese as of late is laughing cow light swiss cheese wedges. Delicious with sliced up pink lady apples or Jonagold apples. I even spread a wedge on the bread for my sandwich. Delicious! Only 70 calories also. Bonus!

  24. 24
    Nicole Maki says:

    I love cheese plates too and it is how I’ve found most of my favorite cheese splurges.

    I wish more people would bring them to events – it is such a welcome change from cookies and bars.

  25. 25
    Corine N says:

    Thanks for the cheese education – will be giving it a try NY’s eve! Happy New Year!

  26. 26
    Sara says:

    This looks like fun! I’ll have to try it at my next party!

  27. 27
    Juli says:

    We love cheese! What a great idea for a party!

  28. 28
    Jacqueline says:

    Wow…am I grown up enough to do it? You make it look so easy, I might just have to try it. Thanks for all your tips and hard work.

  29. 29
    Becky says:

    Thanks for the tips! I remember watching Ina on the Food network talk about how to nicely lay things out on the board, but didn’t discuss how to choose which cheeses…

  30. 30
    Becky says:

    Oh, and I could totally eat a whole wheel of smoked gouda by myself. It’s really good wrapped in crescent roll dough and baked.

  31. 31
    Joyce says:

    Results from a recent study done in one of the Scandanvian countries indicated that cheese (although high in saturated fat) did not raise LDL cholesterol while butter did. I hope these results can be duplicated. Go cheese!

  32. 32
    Tracey L says:

    Going to a get together with some lady friends tomorrow night. Guess what I’m taking?! Thank you for the info!!

  33. 33
    Marci says:

    this is perfect for a New Year’s Bash I’m throwing this weekend! Thanks for the tips :)

  34. 34
    Elisabeth L says:

    Mmm…my grandpa was a huge cheese fan and always had us try something different every time we came to visit. My current favorite is SeaHive, which is a cheddar rubbed with wildflower honey and local salt. You can buy it at Harmon’s in Utah.

  35. 35
    Snoopy says:

    What a wealth of information. Thank you so much! I’ve always paired cheese with fresh fruit but never thought about using jams and preserves. Now you’ve got my head spinning with all sorts of yummy possibilities. :D

    I’ve also stuck with “safe” cheese choices that I knew everyone would like. (Plus I’m not really brave when it comes to talking to cheese mongers.) But now you’ve got me drooling over all kinds of possibilities and I will definitely be trying them out. What fun!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Hugs,
    Snoopy :D

  36. 36
    Heather Anderson says:

    I am afraid of cheese, so thanks for this post. :) I really like boursin as well. It’s one that’s versatile and not too “out there”.

  37. 37
    kristen z says:

    Love you blog and all the yummy things you make. Fav cheese mozzarella and hubby pepper jack

  38. 38
    Lindsey Champine says:

    This is fun! I am looking forward to trying some of these tips on NYE as we are staying home with our 2 year old !!

  39. 39
    Jenne says:

    I love fresh mozzarella. But after hearing about Seahive, I am going to have to try that one.

  40. 40
    Stephanie says:

    I am so happy you had this post. I have been wanting to do a cheese platter but never really knew what to do. I have to bring an appetizer to a party this New Year’s Eve and now I can do this! Thank You!

  41. 41
    Marie says:

    We do appetizers for Christmas eve and the cheese plate is always a favorite!

  42. 42
    tricia says:

    Oooooh I do love cheese! I usually put some sliced dried apricots on my cheese plates, it works great on top of goat cheese :)

  43. 43
    Geri R. says:

    Great info!! I have always been too chicken to try different types of cheeses. But, with this info, I may be able to act grown-up and bring something more sophisticated. LOL

  44. 44
    Susan says:

    I love trying new cheeses and discovering new ways to serve it ! Smoked cheeses and goat cheese are among my favorites,but I seriously love all sorts of cheese !

  45. 45
    Jody Williams says:

    Ya kno how there’s the Cookie Monster? I’m the Cheese Monster. My husband is the Cheese Beast. I wonder what our future children will be like…. if they don’t like cheese, I don’t know what I will do.
    That is how much I/we love cheese. The End.

  46. 46
    Linnea says:

    My aunt always puts together beautiful cheese plates for get togethers. I was always intimidated by it until she told me she gets her cheese from costco or haagen and just buys what’s on sale. Seemed logical, not scary or hoity toity!! :)

  47. 47
    Danielle says:

    I know this is kind of out, but I love making cheese fondue! Any great recipes?

  48. 48
    Helena Chamberlain says:

    I love cheese, but have been a little afraid of some of the fancy cheeses. I will have to branch out and try some in 2012.

    Thanks

  49. 49
    Victoria Waite says:

    Your pictures have made me soo hungry right now! The fig spread with the brie looks delicious! I have a question about brie and I almost feel a little dumb asking this, but the rind that the brie is encased in, are you supposed to eat that? I love cheese but have mostly stuck with the traditional kinds and have recently branched out into goat, feta, and brie. Also, how does a baked brie compare to a regular brie? I know they sell baked brie, but could I make my own?

  50. 50
    Jess says:

    LOVE Red Pepper Jelly!! Yum!

  51. 51
    Jessica S says:

    I love a good cheese plate (or any cheese really), but I’m always stumped with anything beyond cheese and crackers. Thanks for the tips!

  52. 52
    Erica says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for the tips. I live cheese and have always wanted to do a cheese plate but I didn’t know how to start with the right stuff. Thanks again!

  53. 53
    Carrie Igl says:

    Oh, how I love cheese… all kinds of cheese. My oldest son always says, “It needs more cheese.” For his birthday last year? He wanted a wheel of Parmesan.

  54. 54
    Theresa Sea says:

    Oooh, thank you for the giveaway! :)

  55. 55
    Angela says:

    I love cheese plates too, I always buy some fancy cheese during the holiday’s.

  56. 56
    Beth D. says:

    LOVE cheese platters…always a good option instead of dessert…thanks for a good info and post!

  57. 57
    Wendy says:

    Never really tried a cheese plates. Thanks for the lesson.

  58. 58
    Gidget says:

    Ahhh Cheese a family favorite…
    We love gorganzola and grilled pear slices
    oh and brie either baked or not

  59. 59
    Emily says:

    Oh man, I LOVE cheese. If I had to eat one food for the rest of my life… yup, cheese. All kinds! I’ve recently grown partial to stronger stuff like Stilton, and I’m pretty adventurous, so I’ll try just about anything.

  60. 60
    Ali Hamper says:

    I love this post! I usually chicken out when doing a cheese plate and get simple cheeses even though I LOVE CHEESE!! This is so helpful and I don’t know why I never thought of labeling the cheese! Haha!! I’m so giddy for cheese now it’s ridiculous!

  61. 61
    Sandie Gallagher says:

    I actually have a recipe that replicates Rondele so close..and so easy to make.
    But, I love, the real thing too.

  62. 62
    Cheryl S. says:

    I love a variety of cheeses and always make a plate for parties and holiday gatherings, etc….even kids love to sample them!

  63. 63
    Jen says:

    Thanks for the cheese tip! I love cheese and everything you have looks so amazing! I’ll have to give a cheese plate a try sometime!

  64. 64
    amy says:

    You’re right, cheese plates do seem so grown up and pretty!

  65. 65
    Lynette Thiriot says:

    Soooo doing this Saturday night:) and Whole Foods is our staple would love to win!! Thank you so much!

  66. 66
    Amy S. says:

    I’ve never done a cheese plate but now I think I need to try one for new year’s!

  67. 67
    Krista van Langen says:

    Thanks for the tips. A cheese plate always is so elegant, but I’va always been too intimidated to try. Now I will totally have to give it a shot!

  68. 68
    Glenda says:

    I love a good cheese plate. Though I myself do not know how to put one together, one of my very favorite places in New Orleans is St. James Cheese Co. They do 3, 5 & 7 cheese plates, which they choose and put together ( I’ve never gotten 2 cheeses alike in all the times I’ve been there) It comes with fresh fruit, honey’d walnuts, jams, relishes and fresh bread or crackers. They will also recommend wine to compliment the plate. In addition to the amazing cheeses, they serve meats, salads and sandwiches. And I love their selection of relishes, curds and various pickled things, (which make great gifts). As you can imagine, their grilled cheese sandwich is out of this world. Thank you for this post, I will hang on to it for my next party :) *** Would LOVE to win the Whole Foods gift card***

  69. 69
    Michelle says:

    My two faves are definitely Manchego and Dubliner, both of which I get at Costco! We don’t have Whole Foods, but our Costco always has a great selection…

  70. 70
    Tish says:

    Thank you for this post. I never knew how to make a cheese plate but I also think it is very grown up and fancy. Next time I have a grown up party to attend I know what to bring and where to go to buy it.

  71. 71
    Rikki-Dee says:

    Thanks for the info, I so want to make a cheese board.

  72. 72
    Mona says:

    Cheese plates are my favorite! I love talking to the cheese-mongers at Harmon’s, they are so knowledgeable and help me branch out trying things I wouldn’t normally try on my own.

  73. 73
    Rochelle says:

    I love cheese!! Although, I always found cheese plates to be quite intimidating….no longer, thanks!!

  74. 74
    JulieR says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I am still learning to like cheese, and your suggestions for pairings will certainly help. Stilton with lemon or blueberry is a new found favorite of mine.

  75. 75
    Heather Spooner says:

    Thanks for the great advice on cheese platters. I didnt realize there were so many different varieties. Maybe my New Year’s resolution should be EAT MORE CHEESE.

  76. 76
    Melanie Charlton says:

    That Helen…. She’s one fun lady :) Cheese platters are a favorite in our house and good for all seasons! Throw in some Tillamook extra sharp cheddar cheese with apples and grapes, then some fresh brie and pears… WOW! De-Lish!

  77. 77
    Heather says:

    I <3 Cheese, one of the best things EVER! I would be in so much trouble if I was lactose intolerant.

  78. 78
    Gloria says:

    I love cheese and a cheese platter would be a great addition for the holidays!

  79. 79
    Sonya Zagorski says:

    Thanks for the delicious post! I wanted to do something sophiticated like this for New Years Eve instead of “junk”. ;) We are getting a whole foods less than 3 miles from here in 2012 , can’t wait!!!!

  80. 80
    Mandy W. says:

    Fabulous for our NYE gathering!

  81. 81
    Angela says:

    LOve this post! I’ve startedaking a cheese and fruit plate for the kids and hubby to munch while I am finishing dinner!

  82. 82
    Kelly Baca says:

    goat cheese and feta cheese all the way!! <3

  83. 83
    Kate says:

    MMmmmm I Love cheese. When my Son was about 3 he was begging for a snack it was soon after dinner so I kept telling him no. He finally said in his neediest voice. “Mooom I neeed cheese.” He was begging for something healthy and he neeeeded it how could I say no to something so yummy. He got his cheese lol.

  84. 84
    Carrie says:

    Great Post…A cheese plate has always seemed like a great thing to put together, but so intimidating…this has been a HUGE HELP!
    Thank you!
    C~

  85. 85
    Simply Susan says:

    Trader Joes is a great place to get cheese, accompaniments and advice if you have one close. Their Brie is the best with the best price!

  86. 86
    Crystal B says:

    We had a cheese plate for Christmas evening while we played games. It was so much better then sweets!

  87. 87
    JennieS says:

    i love cheese! lol! my favorites are hard cheeses and i’ve even made my own mozzarella and ricotta for lasagne.

  88. 88
    jan b says:

    I agree: Whole Foods Market cheese/specialty dept is awesome! Great customer service, knowlegeable staff, and delicious cheese plus accompaniments!

  89. 89
    Hilary says:

    Loved this! So informative & SO made me want to do this! Gonna try a baked brie this NYE for the first time!

  90. 90
    Tressa says:

    I’m a pretty big chicken when it comes to cheese because I don’t like blue cheese either. So, beyond the basics (parmesan, muenster, provolone, etc) I keep my distance. But, I have had Boursin and that is delicious! I’ll have to work on adding a cheese plate to my repertoire.

  91. 91
    Stephanie Ellis says:

    I love cheese! I can’t decide which is my favorite!

    Stephanie

  92. 92
    Beth says:

    DD made a new appetizer on Christmas Eve. They included Brie on a baguette with nuts and a brown sugar topping. Really good! I didn’t even think I liked Brie!

  93. 93
    MDtripmom says:

    I’m usually a cheeseball kind of girl but maybe it’s time I grow up a bit! :)

  94. 94
    Laura says:

    Cheese scares me! I really don’t know what kind is good and what it should go with. Thanks for the tips! My hubbie loves cheese and this post will make him happy :)

  95. 95
    Sarah Beth says:

    My husband and I have an ongoing thing were we try to find a food that isn’t made better by the addition of some type of cheese, we haven’t found a single one yet. :D

    Cheese was also the only thing that helped my morning sickness in my first trimester of my current pregnancy. :D

  96. 96
    Pam in AZ says:

    Love a great cheese spread! Thanks for the tips!

  97. 97
    Kim O. says:

    Mmmmm…… Smoked Gouda!!!!!

  98. 98
    Kim E says:

    If you want to see a crazy big selection of cheese, go to a grocery store in France. My family spent 2 weeks in France one winter visiting some friends. A cheese plate was out for every lunch and dinner. It was so yummy!!

  99. 99
    Monica says:

    Looks yummy! (And I agree on the goat cheese eww)

  100. 100
    Lisa B says:

    I’ve mentioned it before in your comments but I HIGHLY recommend a hard cheese called “Robusto” from Whole Foods. Hands down my favorite slice and eat cheese. I also like to do something like a fruit stilton (lemon is my favorite) b/c it has that “blue cheese” thing going on without the intimidating streaks and softened a little bit by the fruit flavor. Great post! Will have to try some of your cracker suggestions.

  101. 101
    laura lulu says:

    After spending time in Europe, tasting many delicious cheeses I came to appreciate a great blue cheese. Can’t wait to try gruyere with sour cherry jam. Great idea!

  102. 102
    Vicki H. says:

    Great post! I am usually overwhelmed with a cheese tray that I forget the fruit and other stuff and end up with your basic varieities of cheddar, you know, jalepeno cheddar, horseradish cheddar… No longer! Move over chedda!

  103. 103
    Amy Drorbaugh says:

    Now I want to throw a party so I can make a cheese plate! My 30th birthday is coming up in 1 month….hmmmm….

  104. 104
    Laurie says:

    Goat cheese is my best friend. Smoked mozzerella is also delish! Oh I love cheese.

  105. 105
    Katie W. says:

    I love cheese. Our 15 month old daughter loves all cheeses just as much as I do! :)

  106. 106
    Aubri says:

    This is a great post…and beautiful pictures that are fun to look at in the middle of a dark dreary winter day. I love cheese plates! We once ordered a fun one at a cute tea shop in San Francisco…cheeses and fruit…and if I remember correctly it also had fresh honey and some honey comb served with it. It was brought to the table on a tiered serving plate. It was a few years ago, but I still think about it every time I cut into a pear (cuz I want to eat that cheese with it!).

  107. 107
    Kim J says:

    YUM!! I LOVE good cheese! Irish Dubliner is one of my favorites and I always love gryere and a good smoked gouda. (PS… smoked gouda and sliced pear grilled cheese sandwiches are heavenly!) Thanks for a great post!

  108. 108
    sandy says:

    I have always loved cheese! I remember when I discovered there was more to cheese than velveta and american ‘cheeses’ available! What an amazing discovery!
    My favorite hands down is parmesan. It just makes me happy. :D

  109. 109

    My FAVORITE is to make a spread of apricot jelly, jalapenos, and pecans over warm brie with bruschetta rounds! I’m drooling just thinking about it!!!!!

  110. 110
    Ryan Gifford says:

    I love cheese. Especially Cheddar. It has the perfect blend between sharp and salty.

  111. 111

    I just entered the giveaway! I also just subscribed, after reading your blog for so long!

  112. 112
    Kat says:

    I love getting fresh cheese from my local CSA providers. My son and I have tried lots of new things. Thanks for the idea

  113. 113
    Angela S. says:

    I’m kind new to the cheese plate, with the exotic cheeses but I LOVE fresh pear and brie. MMMMM!

  114. 114
    Amy Hanson says:

    I love gouda cheese. :) and yummm…. that red pepper jelly looks amazing. I love pepper jelly with cream cheese on a cracker. The best!

  115. 115
    Tami in MT says:

    Oooh, now I want to get things for a cheese board and invite some folks over – how sophisticated!!

  116. 116
    leslie n says:

    cheese, Gromit! what a delicious idea..I always liked cheese platters, but didn’t know how to put them together.

  117. 117
    Cindy says:

    Yum, I love cheese! Agree with you on the goat cheese though.

  118. 118
    Katy says:

    Mmmmmm…cheese! Love some warm Brie with apples. Yummy!

  119. 119
    Erin says:

    My husband and I love our “fancy” cheeses. Most holidays–Christmas, Valentine’s day, birthdays, anniversaries, we end up giving each other a cheese or two that we wouldn’t normally buy. Since they’re high flavor and many don’t melt or cook well, you only need a little bit. We like to play games and eat our brie, camembert, crumbles of gorgonzola, even Cabot cheddar (borderline fancy in my opinion). And I love chevre! My husband does not, but I think it’s best when it’s not alone; not really a spreading, on-top-of-a-cracker cheese. I make a Provence tomato soup (herbes de Provence in it) and a dollop of chevre on top is wonderful–the tang with the tomato is perfect. I also like making herbed spreads with it. Also add honey to your list of toppers–especially with the soft, creamy cheeses.

  120. 120
    Kayleen says:

    I am a cheese person too. Mmmmm. I’m also a Whole Foods person, off to enter the contest. By the way I just got your cookbook a couple weeks ago and absolutely love it!!!

  121. 121

    We have the cutest little Cheesemonger at our local Harmons store. He knows his cheese, and I always search him out when I want to try something new. He never steers me wrong!

  122. 122
    Lexi Majoue says:

    I’m not crazy about cheese plain– but love it baked in different dishes. However, a friend of ours last year dropped off some soft cheese, apricot preserves and crackers and it was divine! So maybe I should just try making a cheese plate one time and see what happens. :)

  123. 123
    celia says:

    I used to work with a gal who said “cheese comes from God” – you’ve got to love cheese! Cheese and crackers is one of our fave watching football games snacks. This article has some good suggestions.

  124. 124
    Megan says:

    Why is cheese so scary? Maybe my new years resolution should be to try new cheeses!

  125. 125
    Mary says:

    Recently I have seen an idea on Pinterest that I like, which is a slate serving board on which you can write the names of various cheeses with chalk to label them. There is also a “recipe” for making your own chalk board paint (2 TBS non-sanded grout to a cup of latex paint), so in theory one could make any color chalkboard paint that they like, paint a tray with it, write out the names of your cheese selection with chalk, cover with a piece of glass, place cheese, you get the idea!

  126. 126
    Emily says:

    Oka is a nice smooth mild cheese. Also if you go to a deli store you can get hundreds of variations of different cheeses that have other things already added to them. We went to one this summer on Vancouver Island (Canada) and got a dozen to put a platter together… amazing! Lots of cheeses have additions like jalapenos, olives, or spices or even minced vegetables. My favorite was a mild but salty cheese with truffles that was just out of this world and I can’t remember what it was called! Anyone know?

  127. 127
    Heidi says:

    I love cheese boards for a get together. I always add the tall, skinny breadsticks to give it some height. I also put some some olives nearby.

  128. 128
    Leesa W says:

    Love the details about the different cheeses! Having a cheese spread is one of those things that say, “Man, that girl has it together!” I’ve never done one though :)

  129. 129

    Thanks for all the great tips regarding different cheeses. I cannot wait to try some of them!

  130. 130
    Krinn says:

    I am planning a house warming party in a couple weeks and was trying to think of something really nice to serve. This is it. I hope I am grown up enough and cool enough to pull it off :) Thanks!

  131. 131
    dbelle says:

    Could be cause I’m expecting but I’m a little obsessed with cheese. Of all kinds, but especially the kinds that are hard to get where I live (Chedder, Gouyere) Cheese plates may be one of my favorite concoctions…. Thanks for the post and the great pictures!

  132. 132
    Crystal says:

    We just had an amazing Cheese Day party just yesterday. I wish I could remember all the cheese we tried. I tend to be on the safe/boring side with cheese, but I have changed my mind after yesterday.

  133. 133
    Lisa says:

    Thanks for the tips! I love those Raincoast Crisps-all flavors. They are so addicting.

    Happy New Year! Excited to see all the new recipes that you two will be sharing!

  134. 134
    Deanna Dickerson says:

    Havarti is by far the best cheese. Great with anything or just by itself. I hope I win!

  135. 135
    Emalee says:

    I love this post!! We have a family tradition of doing this for a family meal. Fruits, cheeses, crackers and breads. Strangely we’ve never added spreads (ie jellies or preserves) to our spread, lol. that is going to have to be a must. I think i’m gonna make this a new years tradition with my husband and kiddos. And we’ll have to add nuts too. Thank you for the ideas to add to one my favorite family traditions growing up!!

  136. 136
    Lacey says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I think suggesting combinations would be really helpful. That’s an excuse to try a bunch of combinations yourself first, right? :) Yum!

  137. 137
    Hayley says:

    Cheese is my favorite food! I could live without any other food but I could never give up cheese!!! For Christmas Eve I put a package of cream cheese and about a 1/3 – 1/2 C roasted red pepper strips in the food processor and served it with Milton’s crackers and salami. Huge hit and about the simplest appetizer I have ever made! Thanks for all your brilliant ideas!!!!

  138. 138
    Kim says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh cheese. It makes me happy!

  139. 139
    Ashley P says:

    I come from a large Italian family and we have a cheese plate at every gathering. But, mostly Italian cheeses. Your post has some great new ideas I can’t wait to try.

  140. 140
    Anna S. says:

    Manchego is a must for any cheese plate of mine, as is smoked gouda w/ triscuits!

  141. 141
    Kim says:

    My husband would love me (even more, of course!) if I was good at this sort of thing. I’ll have to try it some time!

  142. 142
    Melanie says:

    Thank you for some great information. I have to say that I am especially fond of Havarti and just about any kind of smoked cheese. I now know what I am going to serve at my next party! Thank you, thank you.

  143. 143
    Cassidy says:

    I love cheese and I wasn’t always a cheese lover! Brie is definitely a great soft cheese. I also love, love, love goat cheese on bread, in salads and Quinoa dishes. Havarti is soooo delish too.

  144. 144
    Anne says:

    I feel the same way about bleu cheese… But I found I LOVE it paired with walnuts. :-) Thanks for the tips!

  145. 145
    Suzanna says:

    I was introduced to ‘good’ cheese from a couple in grad school. He had gotten a masters degree in Ireland and they were so knowledgeable about cheeses that I would have been afraid to go out and buy. They are still my go-to people about cheese.

  146. 146
    Delaney says:

    This is helpful… Maybe it will help me like cheese more if I eat higher quality cheese :)

  147. 147
    Jodi muniz says:

    Best cheese ever is some hard cheddar….Cougar Gold. Made by WSU students…my mother introduced me to it years ago and has been my favorite since!

  148. 148
    Roxsan says:

    cheese is not one of my favorites because it seems to overpower the food I am eating, but I do love the more milder cheeses, but after reading this information, it will give me new tools to find correct ways to use and eat cheese. Thanks!

  149. 149
    Shauna Startzel says:

    Blues of any kind are my fav., and smoked is Devine.

  150. 150
    girlsmama says:

    A very well done break down! I know exactly what to add to our new years eve spread!

  151. 151
    Rachael says:

    I am definitely going to do a cheese plate for New Years this year, even if my family and I are the only ones to eat it. I love cheese, any kind, never met one I didn’t like, but my favorites are a good sharp cheddar, and Queso Manchego from Spain.

  152. 152
    Susan says:

    Havarti!!

  153. 153
    Johanna says:

    Monchego cheese and apples is one of my favorite combinations. The cheesemongers at whole foods will usually let you try certain cheeses before you buy. It’s a great way to try some of the scary looking ones!

  154. 154
    Carolyn says:

    It doesn’t matter what you make, the pictures you take make everything look amazing! You have a lot of talent :)

  155. 155
    BeckiW says:

    I love, love love Brie. I could eat it on crackers all day long. What a cute idea for a cheese plate! Al close second is Bleu and Gorgonzola. YUM!

  156. 156
    Patricia says:

    Your blog is so wonderfully inspiring and informational. I have made ever so many things from your recipes, including the cool cookie turkeys at Thanksgiving. My grandchildren adored them!

    Thanks so much for all you both do.

    P

  157. 157

    I absolutely adore cheese! I’m just not stuck on really strong blues. I love milder ones. This is great info as I’ve tried most of he cheeses you mentioned but had no idea how to pair them up. Thanks!

  158. 158
    Stephanie says:

    Smoked Gouda….so gooda!!!!

  159. 159
    Megan Wallace says:

    I LOVE their cheese. I got there FOR the cheese (and pears, random this and thats). I have never done a cheese tray or anything like that before, but we also don’t really host a lot of parties! Mmmm! Love them, just wish I had the money to shop there more often!

  160. 160
    SUZANNE says:

    I have to agree with comment #147.
    Cougar Gold a fantastic cheddar made at Washington State University in my home town, Pullman.

  161. 161
    Tashia Weisenburger says:

    Love it! I never thought to add spreads to the mix- a friend just made me a jalapeno raspberry jam and I think I’ll add that to the cheese plate when I host my Soup Party potluck in a few weeks!

  162. 162
    DMilton says:

    Love so many kinds of cheeses, but gruyere has been delicious this holiday season in turkey and ham paninis!

  163. 163
    sarah ogle says:

    I love fig spread with goat cheese. I had these wonderful things one time that I can not for the life of me remember the name. But it was kinda baclava with goat cheese and a little fig on top and some other stuff in it that I don’t really know. But it was some of the best stuff I’ve had. Pretty much love all cheeses.

  164. 164
    Donya Grant says:

    Ooooohhhh, I love cheese! Manchego, Humboldt Fog, Cabrales, Cougar Gold…so yummy!

  165. 165
    Lynn says:

    blue cheeses and smokes cheese are my fav!!!

  166. 166
    Heather says:

    It’s funny, I’ve always looked at cheese plates the same way. I thought they were so cool and sophisticated, but I think I am ready to be a grown up and try putting together my own for New Years. Thank you for the wonderful info and ideas and pics!

  167. 167
    Beth Brownr says:

    I love cheese and try to be creative with it. Thanks for all the good stuff you share with us. I asked Santa for your cookbook, but his budget couldn’t cover it. Maybe, things will be better next year. I love cookbooks and even co-authored one once. The Mormon Family Cookbook, published by Deseret Book. Out of print now.

  168. 168
    danielle says:

    i tried gruyere in scalloped potatoes for christmas and- aside from me screwing up the proportions and it turning out like soup with potato slices- it was pretty life-changing.

  169. 169
    liz a. says:

    oooo! i love cheese, all kinds. one of my absolute favorites is port-salut! good stuff! also there is a wensleydale cheese with apricot, totally wonderful. and i love ………oh, i could go on and on, hahahah! thank you so much for sharing all the wonderful ideas!

  170. 170
    Elaine says:

    Love, love, love the cheese department at Whole Foods! Our favorites are the Fluer Verte (herbed goat cheese), the 12 month aged Manchego & Midnight Moon (goat, I believe). Sometimes we skip dinner and just have an assortment of CHEESE. And wine, of course. :)

  171. 171
    Rebekah says:

    Ohhhh! I so want to make a cheese board now!

  172. 172
    April says:

    Favorite cheese? How can anyone have A favorite – cheese is my favorite. If I must choose A favorite I think it would be brie. April

  173. 173
    Dee says:

    Brie is a favorite here.
    Also what is the brown bread? Is it a nut bread or ????
    And how do you keep the apple and pear slices from darkening to fast on a tray?

  174. 174
    jenna says:

    I love blue cheese on salads or burgers!

  175. 175
    Christina says:

    BRIE!!! or CAMEMBERT!!! Yum yum yum yum delicioso!

  176. 176
    Stacey says:

    Fontina is another great cheese–I love to make cheese plates, and add some olives and salami–so good.

  177. 177
    Nona Taylor says:

    We’re having a Rose Bowl party on Jan 2 (happens to be my birthday too). I’ll have to put together a cheese board. Great game day treat!

  178. 178
    Frankie says:

    Having a pretty cheese plate is one of my favorite things to do. YUM!

  179. 179
    Vee says:

    I really enjoy imberico and saint nectaire and a really good camembert, I work at a local cheese shop and have learned a lot in the past 9 weeks. Love the post!! Cheese is awesome.

  180. 180
    Amy says:

    Our family loves Havarti. In fact, we call each other “Smarty Havarti” when we eat it. :)

  181. 181
    Courtney says:

    My fav cheese are the laughing cow flavored wedges, esp their blue cheese! And if its not calorie watching time I LOVE muenster!

  182. 182
    Rachel says:

    I LOVE cheese! SEriously, with a passion. My all-time favorite is Brie (who couldn’t love it) but another that I love almost as much is Boucheron Goat Cheese with honey, lemon thyme & cranberries.

  183. 183
    Jess says:

    Mmm Cheese! My brother gave my mom cheese for christmas. Weird, but appreciated.

  184. 184
    renee says:

    would love to win

  185. 185
    Susan M says:

    My favorite is the one you don’t like so much–goat cheese!

  186. 186
    angela parsons says:

    I haven’t met a cheese I didn’t like LOL…I guess my favorite would be a double cream brie…and manchego and gruyere a very close second pretty much on top of the double cream brie

  187. 187
    Suzanne B says:

    brie and blue for me……..can’t pick just one!

  188. 188
    Susan s says:

    I loooooove all the “blue” cheeses! A close friend of mine serves a fruit and cheese plate for breakfast every time we visit. It’s light, different and delicious!

  189. 189
    Patty says:

    I love cheddar cheese and cheese curds are YUMMY! I haven’t found any in my town, have to go to Oklahoma to find curds.

  190. 190
    Felicia McIntosh says:

    I am obsessed with cheese! my husband buys me all things cheese lol… this year for christmas it was cheddar flavored and spicy nacho flavored popcorn! I love this post, I have always thought cheese plates/ platters can be intimidating if you aren’t sure what to pair certain items with but this has been super helpful!

  191. 191
    Michelle says:

    I love cheese! It’s too hard to choose a favorite, but it would be fun to try with a cheese plate party!

  192. 192
    Lyndsay B says:

    Perfect timing! If I see another sweet treat I’ll scream! Going to Costco tomorrow and will check their cheese section…

  193. 193
    maneet says:

    Our new favorite is Gorgonzola cheese in a salad with cranberries and almond!

  194. 194
    Linda S Gruber says:

    I L-O-V-E cheese, but this blog makes me think of my favorite movie….
    French Kiss, “Lactose Intolerance!!!!!!!” I love Meg Ryan

  195. 195
    Kristin says:

    Goat cheese isn’t all bad. I don’t like it by itself either, but if you mix it with cream cheese (about 1/2 and 1/2, or maybe 1/3 goat) and serve it on crostini along with a fresh olive tapenade it’s really really good. I make my crostini with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning. This was a staple when I was catering.

  196. 196
    Sherri P says:

    I LOVE cheese, always have, my favorite discovery was Port Salut (it’s a creamy semi-soft, with a mild flavor, from France), we had it all the time when I was in culinary school, though I have a hard time finding it anywhere else these days. I also love parm, gruyere, havarti, jarlsberg, literally any type of cheddar, smoked gouda is fabulous,mozzerella, swiss, I’ve tried blue cheeses over the years and brie, but I still haven’t really warmed up to them.

  197. 197
    Cris says:

    1st – Blue! 2nd – Smoked Gouda! 3rd – Romano! Yum!!

  198. 198
    Allison says:

    Oh how I would love to have a Whole Foods nearby. We were living in Louisville when they got one there and I never got to REALLY discover the greatness of the store until after we no longer lived near. I do have a sister that lives near one though, so this could be a late Christmas present if I win. Fingers are crossed.

  199. 199
    Helena Durrenberger says:

    I’m really hungry now! I’ve been wondering what to take to our NYear’s party and this might be the thing. Like you, I’ll feel all grown up if I take a cheese plate.

  200. 200
    Janine Molnar says:

    I LOVE creating cheese plates, but I’ve never put out jelly. I’ll have to try that next time! Great idea!!

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