Entertaining platters and cheese boards are quick and easy to make and there is no cooking involved! With platters and cheese boards the different possibilities are endless depending on everyones tastes and diet requirements. This guide will give you plenty of ideas and suggestions for what you can include in your platters.
Entertaining Platters and Cheese Boards
Sometimes known as charcuterie (a French term for cold cuts of meat) boards, these platters are very easy to build, though planning will make it so much easier with shopping, balancing flavours and textures and help with styling.
Typically, these platters have several different components:
- cold meats
- crunches – like bread, crackers or nuts
- fruits and vegetables
- fun extras like olives, dips, jams or jellies
A great rule for ratios, especially when feeding a large crowd, is a minimum of three of everything.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a fancy board. I purchase mine from Aldi for under $7. Any large platter, paddle board, Acacia serving board or even a tree bark round platter will do.
As meat and cheese go well together, and the fact that my family love cheese, I always try to put 3 -4 different cheeses on these platters. Choose cheeses with different hardnesses and strength for variety. There are gluten-free and dairy-free cheese that can be used as well. For this board, I chose to use:
- vintage cheddar – cubed
- goat’s cheese with dill – crumbled in a white bowl
- peppercorn cheese – cubed
- Camembert cheese – triangle
I have also used brie, gouda, mini mozzarella balls and cheddar cheese.
I purchased gluten-free and nitrate-free cold meat for my platter, using
You could also use pepperoni.
These are crunchy things that can be munched on. I used a couple of different varieties of gluten-free crackers and baked pea crisps. I also added a few different types of nuts like almonds and pistachios.
You could also use:
- bread twists
- mini toast
- water crackers
- rice crackers
Fruit and Vegetables
A variety of fruit and vegetable sticks can be added to these platters. Things like strawberries, dried apricots and banana chips (without preservatives) , sliced apples, strawberries, blackberries, mulberries or dates would work well. You could also add different vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper / capsicum and sugar snap peas. For this platter, used:
- celery and carrot sticks as I had plenty of these growing in the garden
- blueberries – again from our garden
- dried cranberries, figs and goji berries
- fresh black seedless grapes
There are so many extras that could be added to these platters, likes jams or preserves, chutneys, mustard, olives or another type of fermented snack. I used
- chopped chocolate – I used high quality dark chocolate pieces, though you could use chocolate-covered almonds
- dips – I used a beetroot dip and a French onion dip, though you could use hummus, Tzatziki, cream cheese or even a nut spread if you like
This is totally optional. Herbs like parsley, sage, even pieces of kale and edible flowers work really well. For this platter, I used things from our garden:
- edible violas
- edible alyssum white
Styling You Platter
Styling does depends on the shape of your platter. As I used a circular platter, I started in the middle with the bowls and then added each row of food.
- For the platter to look sumptuous, you need to have plenty of food
- Place any small bowls for nuts, fruits or dips on the platter first. You could also use a capsicum / bell pepper shell as a bowl for dips.
- The work from the bigger items to the smallest ones
- Try to avoid placing different varieties of the same food next to each other
- Fill in the gaps or spaces with sliced fruit, nuts or berries as you don’t want any of the platter showing through
- I went for more of a gluten-free platter, though you don’t need to do this
- Platters could be made ahead and covered loosely with cling wrap until ready to serve. Though I would keep it in the fridge with the cheeses and dips until ready.
- For easy transport, make ahead on a board that has raised edges, wrap in cling wrap and keep in the fridge until leaving.