Tips on Serving Cheese at Parties [What Goes With What]

Last Updated on August 14, 2020 by Ellen Christian

For me, the holidays mean entertaining, and I wanted to share these tips on serving cheese at parties.  Whether people are stopping over for dinner or just a quick snack over coffee and cider, I try to make sure that we have treats on hand to serve.  What we serve really depends on who is stopping by and what time they visit. If someone with children stops by, we will most likely have coffee and hot cocoa and Christmas cookies.  Other times, we choose to have savory treats instead of sweet treats.  One of my favorite savory treats is a cheese platter. 

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Tips on serving cheese at parties and putting together a cheese board.

Tips on Serving Cheese at Parties

There is more to serving cheese than slicing it and setting it on a platter.  You want the platter to be attractive and you want to offer foods that compliment the different flavors of the cheese you’re serving.  There are no rules on what cheeses you should and shouldn’t serve.  A lot will depend on what types of cheese you and your guests enjoy.  Here are a few tips on serving cheese that will help you make the best choices.

  • Consider your guests’ dietary needs.  Offer both cows’ milk and goats’ milk cheeses.  Many people who cannot tolerate cows’ milk can tolerate goats’ milk.
  • Serve cheeses of different shapes, sizes, and colors to offer visual interest.
  • Do not place strong cheeses next to delicately flavored cheeses and always offer a separate knife to cut each if you are not pre-cutting the cheese for your guests.
  • Apples, pears, grapes, strawberries, fresh figs or melon work well as an accompaniment to cheese. Also, consider foods like nuts or honey to complement your cheeses depending on the variety you choose.
  • Serve crackers in a separate basket or on a separate plate to allow the most room for your cheese presentation.
  • Serve cheese and fruit on an attractive platter. The presentation is half of the fun when creating a cheese platter.  I chose my Wilton Armetale Gourmet Grillware small oval tray to hold my cheese platter.

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The Wilton Armetale Gourmet Grillware small oval tray helps keep hot food hot and cold food cold. It allows you to grill and serve on the same piece. It is the perfect choice for prep; grill cooking, stovetop cooking, and oven cooking. I think it’s also the perfect choice to use as a cheese tray because it helps keep the cheese and fruits cold. This tray is very durable and has a lifetime warranty against breakage.

Tips on serving cheese at parties

I love the elegance of the small oval tray.  It has the same rich look as a pewter tray but requires no polishing and cleans up easily. The braiding around the edges of the tray is a beautiful accent that makes this plate work for both a family cookout or a holiday party.

Here are a few of my fruit and cheese pairing suggestions for your next party:

  • Soft fresh cheeses like Mascarpone, feta, and ricotta are perfectly suited for spreading on crackers.  Pair them with the sweetness of honey or Vermont maple syrup to offset the saltiness of the cheese.
  • Soft-ripened cheeses like Brie and Camembert pair well with melon and berries.  For a savory match, try pairing with sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Blue-veined cheeses like Blue and Gorgonzola pair well fruits, almonds, and ginger.  The sweetness helps to mellow the saltiness of the cheese.
  • Semi-soft cheeses like Havarti, Muenster, and Monterey Jack (one of my favorites) can be served with vegetables like mushrooms as well as sweeter foods like fruits and nuts.
  • Semi-hard cheeses like Cheddar are the perfect match with a crisp fall apple.  My personal favorite is Vermont extra-sharp Cheddar cheese and McIntosh apples. This is a must on our cheese tray.
  • Mild cheeses like Swiss can be paired with a stronger accompaniment like sliced salami, olives, grapes, or figs.

Do you have any other tips for serving cheese at parties?

24 thoughts on “Tips on Serving Cheese at Parties [What Goes With What]”

  1. I like this cheese platter with olives, cheese and walnuts. It looks very healthy, and I would like to make this for the Holidays!
  2. I really like cheese trays. We always have one at holiday parties when we go to my inlaws. Last year they had this peppered salami on it that was amazing!
  3. I also like to put a pair of small, decorative tongs on the platter so that people can grab the cheese without fingerprinting everyone else's! lol
  4. I love serving cheese and crackers at parties. You can also get mini cupcake holders and put a piece of cheese and a cracker in it for guests to pick up easily!
  5. THese are great tips for serving cheese at our parties. I always try to make a small cheese tray when we have parties. The kids all gravitate toward it!
  6. I'm a cheese addict, seriously my mouth is now watering. Thanks for the awesome tips, just in time for the Holiday Party Season. 
  7. What a pretty platter! I love the idea of making cheese platters like this for upcoming holiday get-togthers that I'm having at our house.
  8. I LOVE eating cheese - at parties, at home, anywhere! I love cheese as a way to break up the sweets which are often too abundant at parties, but I don't love it when the cheese gets warm!
  9. Great tips! Presentation means a lot. It's so funny how the look of your platter can make everything seem so much more appealing! Thanks for the pairing suggestions -- that's very helpful!
  10. Thank you for these tips. It makes creating a cheese plate seem easy! I love cheese plates at parties and want to try one of my own this holiday season. I LOVE goat cheese with fresh bread and butter.

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