Making a Cheese Tray
Cheese trays are a staple at any party - and creating the perfect platter is surprisingly simple. Start with a few of your favorite cheeses, then add a selection of NABISCO Crackers and cut-up fresh vegetables. Garnish with in-season fruits or PLANTERS Nuts.
Eight Steps to the Perfect Cheese Tray
- Choose three to five cheese types for an impressive display. Select different ages, flavors, textures and colors. For instance, try a soft goat cheese, with a medium Cheddar, and sharp blue.
- Remove soft, semi-firm, firm and hard cheeses from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
- Arrange cheese on a large platter, wooden board or tray. Avoid placing strong, pungent cheese next to a mild cheese.
- Cut firm cheese into bite-size cubes, sticks, squares or triangles.
- Serve fresh and soft cheeses as whole blocks or rounds. Serve with a small sharp knife so guests can serve themselves.
- Garnish tray with grape clusters, apples, pears, dried fruits, PLANTERS Nuts or olives.
- Serve cheeses with NABISCO Crackers of different shapes and textures, such as SOCIABLES, TRISCUIT or RITZ Crackers. For a festive twist, try Holiday SOCIABLES and Holiday RITZ.
- Jazz up your cheese tray with a cheese appetizer, such as the Mini Cheese Balls.
Choose cheeses that vary in flavor, texture and visual appeal.
Types of Cheese
Choosing cheese is easy since most fall into these five basic categories:
Characteristics: rindless; soft texture, often spreadable; mild flavor; white in color; often flavored with herbs and other seasonings; melts quickly at low temperatures.
Try: Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese
Characteristics: ripened; soft edible rind; smooth texture; mild to medium, creamy taste; yellow color; melts quickly at medium temperatures.
Try: Brie, Camembert, Feta
Characteristics: ripened or unripened; rindless; yellow or white in color; mild to sharp flavor; melts quickly at medium temperatures.
Try: Mozzarella, Havarti, Blue
Characteristics: ripened and aged; rindless; salty, nutty taste; smooth or crumbly in texture, ivory to yellow color; withstands higher temperatures; good for browning.
Try: Cheddar, Gouda, Emmental
Characteristics: ripened and aged; hard and dry rind; pale yellow color; hard and granular in texture; withstands higher temperatures; good for browning.
Try: Parmesan, Asiago, Romano