Last weekend I attended California's Artisan Cheese Festival. While the highlight was tasting tons of scrumptious cheeses, I did learn how to create a beautiful cheese plate. A cheese plate is wonderful for parties because it doesn't involve any cooking; it's more about assembling and displaying in an attractive way. To see my tips for creating a beautiful cheese display, read more.

  • Start by selecting the cheeses. Choose cheeses that represent a variety of types and textures. You want to find a balance between flavors. Offering three to five cheeses is ideal, as it won't overwhelm the palate.
  • If you want to get creative, choose a theme. All of the cheese could be from the same region, from the same milk or from different milks.

  • Avoid common cheeses that most people have already tried. Head to a local cheese shop and look for artisan cheeses. If you are on a budget, buy one or two quality cheeses instead of a bunch of cheaper ones.
  • Present the cheese on a large platter or board with plenty of room. You want each cheese to have its own space. Make sure the cheese is easily accessible. Arrange hard cheeses on the outside of the board or crumble into small chunks.
  • Create levels in the display. Turn bowls or pans upside down or place old shoe boxes underneath the tablecloth.
  • Make the plate pretty by placing large leaves underneath the blocks of cheese. Fresh herbs are also a lovely and fragrant touch.
  • Don't forget the accompaniments that enhance the cheese: olives, nuts, fresh fruit, jams, honey, crackers, breads, thinly sliced meats, pate, etc. For beverages both wine and beer make good complements to cheese.
  • Make sure the cheese you are serving is at room temperature.
  • Lastly label the cheeses so guests know what they are tasting.

Got a great tip for creating a wonderful cheese display? Please share with us below!