How to Make an Instagrammable Cheese and Charcuterie Platter to wow everyone at your next party! What to use, how to arrange it, and what to Vinho Verdes wines to drink with it.
There are few things that stop people in their tracks like a beautiful cheese and charcuterie platter. I would argue that it’s also one of the easiest party dishes that you can make to get this ‘wow’ effect. In fact, the gorgeous platter you see above took just minutes to make. I probably spent more time unwrapping the cheese and slicing the charcuterie than I did actually arranging it!
You’ll find everything you need to create the most Pinterest-perfect cheese and charcuterie platter, including a video, after the jump!
When hosting a party, another key thing to have on hand is some really great wine that will pair wonderfully with your dishes, please the crowd, and not break the bank. Vinho Verde wines, from the northwestern part of Portugal, are the perfect fit for these occasions.
We served a Quinta da Aveleda wine, which was a blend of two delicious Vinho Verde varietals, Loureiro and Alvarinho. This beautiful wine is carefully pressed at low pressure and aged in stainless steel tanks. The result is a complex and elegant wine with floral notes merged to perfection. It goes great with everything from chicken to seafood, and of course a variety of cheeses!
Many Vinho Verde varietals like the ones in this blend can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Loureiro is the most widely-planted grape in the Vinho Verde region and contributes to that bit of effervescence that you’ll find in the wine. Alvarinho grapes are famous for their botanical aromas. At around $10, the value is exceptional, just like many other Vinho Verde wines.
Making a beautiful cheese and charcuterie platter isn’t hard at all. I start with spreads and condiments first. Mustard always goes great with meat, and I always include a jam or fruit spread. Other ideas are honey, tapenade, or savory jams. Marinated olives or cornichons (little pickled baby cucumbers) are great for your guests to nibble on. Mini mason jars are perfect for serving all of these.
Next are the cheeses! As I mention in the video, you’ll hear many ‘rules’ for making the perfect cheese platter. People will say that you should always have a soft cheese, a gouda, a blue cheese, etc. etc. I approach these rules as suggestions. The most important thing is to have cheese that you enjoy eating and then add in a few that you haven’t tried too! Try to mix things up and pick not only cow cheese, but also goat or sheep cheese. Picking some local cheeses and some international ones also helps to add variety.
My cheese selection includes Cypress Grove Chevre Humboldt Fog, a California cheese that is an absolute favorite of mine. I also included another local California cheese, Point Reyes blue cheese. I tried a sample of Schnebelhorn from Käserei Bütschwill in Switzerland at my local grocery store and thought it was great, so into my cart it went. Because my cheese platter is inspired by Vinho Verde wines, I also included a soft Portuguese cheese – Casa Lusa Cabra Raiano goat cheese.
Hint: To cut costs and increase the variety of cheeses you have, try asking about remnant cheeses at your local cheese counter.
You might be wondering, “What is charcuterie?” It’s just a fancy name for the meat portion of your platter – things like prosciutto, salami and chorizo. Make sure you discard any casings your meats have before slicing.
Next, add some crackers and a few pieces of sliced baguette. These round out the ‘skeleton’ of the platter. Now, all that’s left is to fill in the rest! For this, I use a variety of fresh fruits, dried fruit and nuts. I change things up based on what is in season, but think about things like berries, figs, dates, cherries, almonds, walnuts, cried cranberries, marcona almonds, pistachios, and pecans. I always add a few pieces of dark chocolate too.
A few fresh flowers or greens also look great on a cheese and charcuterie platter. I used chamomile flowers tucked in here and there. Make sure you pick something that will do well without water for a few hours. Other ideas are arugula, rosemary, olive branches, edible flowers, or basil.
See how filling up all of the space automatically makes things look fancy? And it’s so stunning!
Thanks to Vinho Verde Wines for sponsoring this post. Thanks to you for supporting the sponsors that allow me to keep bringing you beautiful content!