I LOVE snacking. It’s one of my favorite party essentials. A classic cheese platter is one of the best things you can make for a party, in my opinion. It’s not too fancy, it’s ready in 10 minutes or less, and your guests will LOVE it!
I always place the platter in the center of the kitchen action, so that all of my friends and family can mingle together. It makes for such easy entertaining during football parties or the holidays.
I would hit up Trader Joe’s for all of your ingredients, to save on money and still get a delicious selection of high-quality cheese. They tend to have the most inexpensive cheeses, along with a great selection of other snacks. You don’t have to break the bank on cheese!
Here are my top tips for how to make the Perfect Party Cheese Platter:
- Start with different types of cheeses. Everyone loves their cheese for a specific reason, so think about it this way: something old and classic, something spicy, something aged, and something goat. I chose a sharp cheddar cheese, Monterey pepper jack, smoked Gouda, and blueberry goat cheese. Brie and bleu cheese are also great options! You can put labels next to the cheeses if you want to, otherwise you can challenge your guests to guess the cheese!
- Don’t forget the crunch. I chose Trader Joe’s reduced-guilt pita chips, whole grain pita crackers, crusty French bread, and multigrain crackers. Flavored Triscuits, Wheat Thins, or pretzels are also favorites of mine. If you have a guest on a gluten-free diet, mini rice cakes are a great choice!
- Add extra spreads. I created a raspberry cream cheese spread by stirring together 8 oz. of cream cheese and 3 tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam – so easy and it adds a little sweetness to the party! I also purchased Trader Joe’s White Bean Basil Hummus, just in case any guests aren’t cheese lovers. Apple and pumpkin butters are also among my favorites to pair with cheese.
- Necessary extras. It’s always great to have mixed or specialty nuts, fresh cut fruit, and pickles or olives. Everyone loves little nibbles!
- Meat. Sometimes it’s fun to jazz up your platter with a fine selection of meats such as salami, pepperoni and prosciutto. Cheese + meat = the perfect pair!
Another tip: Set cheeses out on your countertop or kitchen island about an hour before your party begins, so that they are easier to slice and serve. I usually place everything on a large wooden cutting board, with plates and napkins alongside to give guests easy access to all of the snacks.
Enjoy making your platter!
This post is part of BlogHer’s Kitchen Entertaining editorial series, made possible by KitchenAid.