On Thursday, I attended a party hosted by Cracker Barrel Cheese. Yay party but why do you care, right? Well, they had food stylist, Lisa B. Kuehl, there to share food styling tips for cheese platter. I love serving cheese at parties (heck…I just like cheese) but so often it defaults to a basic,boring cheese tray. So, here are some tips from Lisa for how to serve a spectacular cheese tray:
- Adding texture and colour to your cheese tray adds visual interest.
- Nuts, fruits, olives and pickles are great ways to add colour.
- An interesting cracker presentation idea is to break flatbread sheets in to pieces and display in a parchment paper lined Mason jar.
- When adding fruit, remember to check out your local farmers market to find what is in season. Things like figs, strawberries and blueberries make great additions.
- Break large flatbread sheets in to irregular shapes to add texture.
- When using meats, pick a variety of colour shades and fold the meats to add visual interest.
- Cut cheeses in to different sizes and shapes.
- Hard salami adds a rustic feel to your tray. Cut half of the log of salami at an angle and then leave the other half whole.
- Use a variety of little dishes for jams, olives, honey, etc to add colour and visual interest.
All are great tips and things that might seem to be common sense but aren’t. I can’t believe how easy putting together an awesome looking cheese plate was since I have been sadly failing at it. After we got our tutorial, we had a black box challenge. Everyone was given a black box with an assigned theme and props. Using Cracker Barrel cheese, we had to make a great cheese tray that followed the theme and used great flavor pairings. You can see my Mardi Gras themed cheese tray above. Though I didn’t win the challenge, I was quite happy with my challenge submission. Now that I have a better idea of how to make a great cheese tray, I can’t imagine going back to the boring cheese trays of the past.
What are your favorite items to include on your cheese trays? How do you spice them up?
Disclosure: I attended a cheese event sponsored by Cracker Barrel. I was not compensated for this post and, as always, all opinions are my own.