by Amanda Lanum
Topping off her holiday food tips and recipes, Chef Alli shared ideas for Beautiful Holiday Cheese Boards Thursday morning.
A gorgeous cheese display makes a beautiful centerpiece for the holiday parties. Back it up
with simple appetizers prepared ahead of time. If you are hosting a holiday open house, keep it
effortless by limiting your bar to just wine and beer. Assorted bottled beers on ice and wine in
carafes are easily accessed by guests who can pour for themselves.
• Yes, the platter matters! Choosing a simple background as the base for your cheese platter will
optimize the presentation of each cheese. I like to use a basic white platter or even better, a very
large natural wood cutting board. Natural stone or ceramic tiles also work very well as cheese
Showcase with style - build your cheese board atop a beautiful holiday runner or cloth to protect
your tabletop. Use overturned glasses to vary the height of your cheese board. Hide the glasses
behind Christmas greenery, flowers or clusters of grapes and dried fruits.
• Choose a combination of cheeses that offer a nice variety for your guests: sharp cheddars, goat
cheeses, bleus, etc. Sometimes it’s nice to place the tips of the wedges toward the center of the
cheese board, taking care not to place them too close together. Add whole fruits, such as nicely
ripened pears or apples that can be sliced just before your guests arrive.
• Cheeses can be labeled, but often hosts opt not to since unidentified cheeses do make for good
• Most cheese should be served at room temperature to allow the flavors and textures to really
come alive on your palate. Remove cheese from refrigeration 30-60 minutes before you set your
cheese board out for guests.
Allow your guests to serve themselves from your cheese board – there is no need to pre-cut or
slice the cheese ahead of time.
Back up your cheeses with baguette slices and crackers along with an assortment of nuts. It is
also nice to offer at least one chutney as well. This is delicious as a topping for any soft cheeses
that are spread over the baguette slices or crackers.
Plan ahead by knowing how much cheese you will need for your guests. Most party planners
advise providing 2 oz. of cheese for each guest as a tasting, 3 oz. for each if serving as
appetizers or 4 oz. for each if your cheeses are the main-stay of your party.