The Perfect Holiday Cheese Plate

The Perfect Holiday Cheese Plate

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Holiday entertaining always comes back to one thing: the food. While planning and preparing elaborate meals can be intimidating, assembling a cheese plate and finding great-tasting pairings doesn’t have to be. These impressive cheeses will be even more exciting for guests with well-selected beer and wine pairings, not to mention accoutrements. And, it’s the perfect excuse to pull out that cutting board or serving platter from holidays past to show off the selection. Pick one, two, or all of these to make merry this holiday season:

Champagne Cheddar

Aged English Cheddar made with real champagne, this cheese is special to the holidays and available at Whole Foods Market.

· Wine: Champagne such Gosset Champagne, festive Presto! prosecco, or affordable (just $9.99) Roger d’Anoia cava

· Beer: IPA

· Accoutrements: Figs and flatbread, fantastic in fondue or soufflé

Vermont Creamery Bonne Bouche

Creamy and decadent, this goat cheese screams holidays.

· Wine: Rosé like La Vielle Ferme Rosé

· Beer: Saison

· Accoutrements: Honeycomb, plain wafer crackers, prosciutto, and chocolate-covered almonds

Rogue Creamery Blue

Single-sourced raw milk from cows that graze on the Rogue River. The cheese is creamy with earthy complex notes.

· Wine: Oregon pinot noir

· Beer: Porter

· Accoutrements: Pears, baguette, hanger steak, beets, truffles

Bon Homme Brie

The milk from Normandy has long been recognized as the best in all of France. This Brie uses milk produced when the cows are out on grass giving the cheese rich flavor with slight mushroom overtones.

· Wine: Champagne like De Chanceny Cremant de Loire Brut

· Beer: Pale ale

· Accoutrements: Sour cherry spread, Raincoast Crisps (the cranberry with hazelnuts flavor), truffles. Put in a turkey sandwich to glam it up.

If you live near a Whole Foods Market store, be sure to head there Tuesday night, Dec. 10 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All stores will be hosting Cheese Nights, a new quarterly event series where shoppers can learn while sampling delicious cheeses. This first-ever event will be all about cheese plates, just in time for holiday entertaining!

Cathy Strange, global cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market

For more holiday cheer, visit The Daily Meal’s Ultimate Guide to Christmas!

Holiday Cheese Board

It’s beautiful, it’s festive, and it has four of my favorite cheeses – brie, manchego, provolone and Pepper Jack.

Not to mention, this will be the easiest appetizer you will have to assemble during the holidays. Because guess what? There is absolutely no cooking involved here.

Simply slice your cheeses, spread your crackers, crack open your pomegranate, and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs for that holiday touch.

To finish it off, pour the wine.

Goat Cheese

Beautiful little buttons of ripened goat cheese or “crottin” are adorable and showcase the distinctive flavor of goats’ milk perfectly. These are called Bijou, from Vermont Creamery, and they are dried and left to mature for a month, resulting in a slightly sweet yeasty flavor.

How to Set Up a Cheese Platter

When it comes to a party, just about everyone says cheese. Not only is cheese wildly popular these days, it has also become a conversation piece. Think about it. Whenever there's a platter of really good cheeses, most people dig in with gusto and share their opinions about their favorites. But while creating a cheese platter is simple, having a few simple tips in your back pocket will ensure a winning cheese course every time.

Before you get started, here's what to consider:

    How many people are you serving?

Once you've answered these questions, it's time to determine the quantity and the types of cheeses you'll need. First, the quantity:

    If you're serving the cheese as a hors d'oeuvre, plan on 1 to 2 ounces of each cheese per person.

Now, for choosing your cheeses:

You can go any number of ways when deciding which cheeses to choose for your cheese platter. Even though it may seem intimidating, just remember there are no "wrongs" when it comes to cheeses. Sure, you might end up with a cheese or two you don't care for, but you won't have committed any entertaining faux pas even if that's the case.

Here are a few basic guidelines to get you started:

    If you're serving cheese before dinner, choose lighter cheeses such as an herb-coated goat cheese or fresh mozzarella.

Arranging your cheese platter

    Never crowd your cheese platter. If you do, you're likely to find your knuckle in one of the cheeses as you attempt to cut the one you'd like.

    Be sure to serve cheese at room temperature. To do this, take the cheeses out of the fridge at least one hour ahead of time.


It’s easy to incorporate fresh produce to make a great cheese plate that reflects the season. Here are some of my favorite in-season combinations:

  • Roasted butternut squash pieces
  • Apple or Pear slices (put these out at the last minute and consider drizzling them with a tiny bit of lemon juice so they don’t brown!)
  • Grapes
  • Fresh thyme or rosemary sprigs (for garnish)
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts (roast them with the same honey or balsamic glaze you include on your cheese plate!) (perfect way to use up any Thanksgiving leftovers)
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Blood Orange slices
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs (for garnish)
  • Dark chocolate pieces (I like to run a knife through a super-dark Ghiradelli bar to break it up into big-ish chunks for snacking)
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Baby carrots (bonus points if you pickle them!)
  • Radishes
  • Fresh berries
  • Heirloom tomato slices or cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Sliced Peaches
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Fresh figs

Baked Camembert with Garlic and Rosemary

Camembert is a rich, soft, creamy French cheese with an earthy scent and a similar texture to Brie but with a stronger flavor. It lends well to baking since it stays somewhat contained within its rind. Its intense, slightly funky flavor complements the garlic, rosemary and maple syrup for an aromatic and enticing winter appetizer. This recipe takes only a few minutes to prep, but the garlic and rosemary can be added a few hours prior to baking. Camembert also stays melted for a longer period of time than a lot of other cheeses, making it a great option for entertaining. This hearty recipe fits well with the seasonal ingredients included in the Winter Holiday Board (below). This gooey, melted cheese contrasts nicely with the firm textures of the other cheeses on the board.

• 1 (9-oz/255-g) wheel Camembert cheese, in its wooden box
• 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
• 2 tsp (1 g) fresh rosemary leaves
• 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp (15 ml) pure maple syrup
• Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)
• Bread and crackers, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove the Camembert from any plastic wrapping and place it back into the wooden box it came in or another similarly sized shallow baking dish. Use a small, sharp knife to score a crosshatch pattern across the top of the cheese wheel.
2. Using the knife to make small holes as necessary, carefully push the slices of garlic into the cheese, followed by the rosemary leaves. Drizzle the top with the olive oil and maple syrup. Bake until the cheese is gooey and melted, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt and serve on the Winter Holiday Board (below) or with bread and crackers. Serves 6.

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How to Make a Cheese Platter (Tips & Tricks)

  • Choose a cheese platter – pick a cheese platter or a cheese board large enough to hold all of your cheeses, as well as your accompaniments. You’ll also need cheese knives (one for each cheese) and cheese markers (optional).

  • Variety of cheese – choose three to five different cheeses, such as some basics and few seasonal cheeses. Mix it up with different textures, such as soft, semi firm and hard/aged cheeses. Also mix it up with the type of milk, such as cow, sheep, and goats cheese.

  • Display the cheeses different ways – spears, wedges, cubes, whole, sliced, or rolled up. Stay away from pre-sliced cheese.

Slicing cheese yourself is way fresher and you’ll have control over how you want to slice the cheese. Tip: use a vegetable peeler to remove the paper from brie cheese.

  • Accompaniments for your cheese – there is really no limit when selecting things to pair with your cheese. Think variety, color, texture, and also what will elevate the flavor of the cheese.

Cured meats, such as dried salami or prosciutto. Variety of crackers, crusty bread, or baguette.

Fresh seasonal fruit or dried fruits. Nuts whether plain or candied nuts. Something pickled or marinated. Finally some type of sweet component, such as jam, honey, or even chocolate.

  • Arrange the meat and cheese – first arrange your cheese and meats on the platter. I also like to set out my bowl for the pickled/marinated items so I can work around it.

Fold the meat into quarters and place the prosciutto into piles. Then, add the crackers around the cheese and meats.

Add some fresh fruit and fill in any empty spots with nuts, plus more fruit. The key is grouping everything in piles and mixing different shapes, sizes, and color. Get creative with it.

  • Keep in mind – cheese tastes best at room temperature. Let the cheese sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

If you give this Cheese Platter a try, let me know in the comments below. I would love your feedback, along with a rating!

The Perfect Fall Cheese Platter

Los Angeles may be sweltering in 90 degree weather right now but October signals the beginning of the holiday season– the season of entertaining! To me a cheese platter is essential to any dinner party– it is great help when you’re already busy cooking dinner. But, your cheese spread does not have to be boring and, in fact, can be a shining centerpiece of your party.

I styled a bit of a different look with this cheese platter by placing clusters of ingredients on the board. I love the messy and crowded look.

When it comes to the cheese, I usually stick to the classic rules of having a hard, soft, blue, and aged. This time I also added some ricotta which pairs so well with the figs and honey.

Start by placing the cheese in different corners of your board and then fill in the gaps with sliced figs, dates, cured meats, crackers, grapes, almonds, quince paste, and olives. Pick whatever ingredients that are in season and look delicious. I just place all the ingredients directly on the board and some other ingredients in small bowls.

Finally, one of my favorite things I love to add to a cheese platter is a chunk of honey comb. It’s unique and wonderful paired with nuttier cheese or even blue cheese.


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Hellmann's 5 Go-To Holiday Recipes

While the holiday season is certainly the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be one of the most stressful. Allow us here at Hellmann’s to cross one task off your to-do list by serving up the perfect holiday menu. From a stunning starter to a sweet ending, these delicious and festive recipes will surprise and delight guests and make you look like a holiday super host. So, stop guessing what you should serve and let a little Hellmann’s turn holiday hosting into your most delicious meal yet.

1. Baked Vidalia Onion Dip

Start off your perfect holiday meal a with a creamy and cheesy crowd-pleaser. Serve our easy-to-make Baked Vidalia Onion Dip with your favorite dippers like crackers, tortilla chips or baguette slices and watch your guests dip with delight.

2. Avocado & Pomegranate Seed Salad

Our Avocado & Pomegranate Seed Salad is as tasty as it is festive. This red and green dish is made with avocado, spinach, pomegranate, pine nuts and even more healthy ingredients for a delicious and nutritious holiday side.

3. Beef Brisket

Make the centerpiece of your holiday meal a memorable one. Our juicy Beef Brisket recipe is rubbed with Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise and cooked in stout beer to release the great meat flavor and make the whole family happy and full.

4. Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Bake

For a side that might just steal the spotlight, try the simple and classic Honey-Glazed Sweet Potato Bake. With a touch of sweetness that pairs well with any main, this dish will earn a spot on everyone’s plate.

5. Apple-Walnut Crumb Pie

Save the sweetest for last! Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise is the secret ingredient in this scrumptious Apple-Walnut Crumb Pie, but we wouldn’t consider it complete without a scoop of Breyers Vanilla Ice Cream.

Things to keep in mind when making a cheese plate:

1. Textures of cheese – bring a variety to the party – mix it up with soft, semi firm and hard/aged cheeses!

2. Same goes for type of cheese …. mix up the type of milk – cow, sheep, goat, maybe even get crazy with a combo of 2!

3. Allow for about 3 ounces of cheese per person. Unless you’re inviting me, then allow for 12 ounces per person. I can put cheese down like a boss.

4. Once the cheese is purchased, you’ve got to up the ante with nuts, fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit spread, and honey!

5. Castelvetrano olives are mandatory for any cheese platter.

6. Give people a selection of different crackers or breads – mix it up with some sliced crostini, different kinds of crisps, and some traditional flatbread crackers.

7. Let the cheese sit out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before your guests arrive! This will allow the cheese to be at it’s peak since all the oils will get moving!

8. Display the cheeses in different forms, some can be cut into spears, other wedges, cubes, whole etc! Let you’re guests cut the soft cheese depending on how much they want!

Watch the video: How To Create A Perfect Holiday Cheese Board (August 2022).