It's amazing what people can create with a few cheeses and meat these days. It seems like just yesterday everyone was one-upping each other with decorated sugar cookies and macarons. Now, everywhere you turn, impossibly stunning grazing trays and platters are popping up like there was a class in school that I managed to sleep through.
I wanted to get caught up on how to make one of these myself so I called up the my friends Melissa and Masie of the new NYC-based party planning boutique, Two Hosts (@twohosts) for their best tricks and tips for an impressive spread.
As The Brooklyn Teacup, I wanted to be sure their recommendations would lend themselves to plating on our tiered stands made from our vintage china in addition to circular and triangular wood and slate boards that you see commonly on the 'gram. Much to everyone's relief, they do 😅.
Follow Two Host's tasteful tips and you'll be on your way to mastering this brie-lliant and useful artform. (Had to have at least one cheese pun in there —sorry, not sorry!)
📸 by @picandpetal
Tips for a really, really GOUDA cheese board, courtesy of @Two Hosts
- Bring cheeses to room temperature before serving by taking them out of the fridge at least 30 mins - this brings out the true flavor of the cheese.
- Depending on the number of people, 3-4 cheeses is plenty for a small dinner party.
When selecting cheese for a group, a good guide to follow is:
- (1) hard cheese
- (1) blue cheese
- (1) soft or semi soft cheese and
- (1) “wild card” cheese - always fun!
In the pictures below, we incorporated cheese from our favorite cheese shop Brooklyn Larder, located on Flatbush Ave in Park Slope. They graciously supplied us with the following to match our selection criteria:
- Signature Two Year Cow Gouda (hard)
- Brie (soft)
- Bayley Hazen (semi soft)
- Tulip Tree Hops with Coffee Oat Stoat (wild card!!)
Here's how Two Hosts approaches cheese-boarding:
Breaking it down:
- Cheeses and meats - It’s best to start here since these take up the most room! Cut your cheeses into different shapes/fold meats in creative ways and place them in clusters around each tier of your stand. Take advantage of the vertical space! Next, fill in the blank spaces with all the accompaniments below.
- Savory/Umami morsels - Think crackers, olives, pickles, artichokes, tapenades, almonds, pecans, and other satisfying nibbles.
- Sweets - Add fresh fruits such as figs or pomegranate, cut them in half to add some visual texture! Also, add some dried fruits such as dried cranberries.
- Condiments - use a few different types of condiments to complement all your cheeses - a few crowd-pleasers are honey, fig jam, and spicy mustard. Put them in small jars, bowls, or even teacups!
- Garnishes - lastly, arrange seasonal garnishes. Rosemary is great for winter holidays (you know, since it resembles a Christmas tree). You could also add edible flowers...the possibilities are truly endless.
For more gourmet grazing board inspiration, check out some of my favorite cheese-centric accounts below: