A Well-Made Meat and Cheese Tray
…always makes a great impression at any party. If you’re considering putting together one yourself, let me give you some selling points on why this might be the BEST appetizer tray ever! 1) There is always a little something for everyone. Who doesn’t loves a good variety of quality samplings 2) Like anything with unique flavors and textures this tray becomes an interactive smorgasbord of options 3) Through the right blend of color, texture and shape this tray is a show-stopper! 4) Making a meat and cheese tray is super easy!
Selecting Your Cheeses
While shopping the cheese aisle you need to consider three things: taste, texture and appearance. I chose a really soft triple cream cheese, one harder cheese and two firm (but still considered soft) cheeses for their flavor, color and texture. White cheddar is a family staple in my house and it always makes its way to the cheese board. I also chose the chipotle cheese for a little added fun, and I was super glad I did because it became a great conversation piece. Notice how I kept the harder cheese in tact and ran it long ways through the center of the board? This added a little “drama” and design. I pre-cut the cheddar and chipotle cheeses in small squares and layered them, playing with their direction a bit just to keep the board interesting. Because the triple cream cheese is so soft it had to stay together, and O M G… this triple cream is to die for!
Selecting Your Fruit
I chose to make my tray up with blackberries, raspberries and green grapes. I love how the texture of the berries play well next to the soft round green grapes. Additionally, the bright colors added a great pop to the display. Berries aren’t your thing? How about mandarin orange or kiwi slices? Fruits like cantaloupe and honeydew are two other really great choices. Just realize you can make this tray up any way you fancy.
Sweet and Savory Additions
This is where you can become creative and make things really fun for your guests. While I have paired the cheese and meats with a pretty typical assortment of salty and candied nuts and spicy olives, you can add just about anything. Take into consideration your guest list and determine how fun or fancy you want to get. My little cup of salted almonds with a hint of fresh rosemary was a fan favorite. Pepper jellies and sweet jams are perfect for pairing with cheese and crackers. Roasted artichokes, marinated peppers and sun-dried tomatoes are just a few others choices you should consider.
Selecting Your Bread
Whenever selecting a variety of breads for a meat and cheese tray its important to consider the types of cheese that will be served. While a triple cream cheese tastes good on a butter cracker it melts in your mouth when paired with soft ciabatta bread. In addition to a good soft bread (not pictured) I selected a crispy parmesan cracker and toasted baguette.
Whatever you end up selecting, I just know it is going to be great! And by all means…have yourself a little fun pairing flavors and color together. Your guest are sure to enjoy all the love and thought put into this beautiful tray.