Learning how to arrange a simple Cheese Tray is a life skill that will help you entertain for years to come!

A Basic Charcuterie Board is a staple of entertaining. You can make it simple with a few varieties of cheese and crackers or go all out with all the extras like cured meats, olives, fruit, and more.

A slate cheese board topped with meat and cheeses on a red napkin.

How to Arrange a Simple Cheese Tray

When entertaining, a cheese tray is one of the simplest appetizers you can serve. But it takes more than slapping a rectangle of Velveeta and a sleeve of Ritz crackers on a plate. With a little finesse, you can take some basic supermarket finds to create a delicious, enticing cheese board. Below are a few hints on How to Make a Cheese Board.

Overhead view of a meat and cheese tray next to a plate of bread.

Necessities for Your Cheese Tray

Here’s what you need:

  • Serving Dish -A wooden board or tray, ceramic plate, or other attractive serving dish (I used this rectangular “slate” platter from Sur la Table).
  • Cheeses – At least 2, but 3 or more if serving a crowd. Vary tastes and textures. Use a couple of cow’s milk cheeses and add a goat’s or sheep’s milk cheese. I like to include a soft buttery cheese like Brie, Camembert, or Cambozola (which is a combination of triple creme cheese and Gorgonzola), a blue (if not using a Cambozola), and a firm mild cheese, like Cheddar, Fontina (ones my hubby will eat) on each cheese tray. Something new to you or a more exotic cheese is nice to try.
  • Cheese knives – Use one for each cheese if available
  • Something Sweet -I used fresh figs on this tray, but fresh fruits like apple or pear slices, grapes, berries, or dried fruits also work well with cheeses. Quince paste is a more unusual addition…it works well with Manchego.
  • Something Crunchy – Nuts add a nice crunch; Use your favorites. Marcona almonds, pistachios, even candied nuts are a delicious addition.
  • Crackers or Toasts – Vehicle for the cheeses.

Expert Tips:

  • Make sure to bring your cheeses to room temperature before serving. Taking the cheeses out of the fridge an hour or two before serving will bring them to the proper temperature.
  • Arrange the cheeses on the board first, then fill in the empty spaces with piles of fruits, nuts, or even meats.
  • For this party, I wanted more of an antipasto platter and used Prosciutto, Genoa salami, Cambozola, Manchego, and Fontina.
  • Roasted red peppers with a drizzle of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil plus a bowl of Mediterranean olives completed this appetizer offering.

I hope this has given you some ideas or inspiration. What combination of cheeses is your favorite when entertaining?

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does the Term “Charcuterie” Mean?

Charcuterie is a French term that translates to “cooker of meat.” It has been a French “culinary art” since the 15th century and refers to products served in a delicatessen, especially pork specialties such as pates, according to The Food Lover’s Companion.

How Do You Pronounce Charcuterie?

This term is pronounced shahr-Koo-tuhr-ee.

What Can You Include on a Charcuterie Board?

Meat such as cold cuts, Prosciutto, slices of duck breast, a variety of cheeses, fresh fruit, dried fruit, jams, marmalade, and/or honey. Adding herbs makes for a nice garnish.

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