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How to create the perfect cheese platter




Stylist and foodie Jono Fleming created an antipasto platter / charcuterie board for us a few months back (check it out here). Today he’s back with the 10 things you need for a tasty cheese platter. 

This time I’m working with cheese and vegetable options rather than meats, but the principles are the same – you want to hit a balance of salty, sweet, nutty, sour and spicy flavours, and include a range of textures. Your aim is to create a fantastic ride for the tastebuds by creating plenty of flavour combos.

I’d recommend about 8-10 options on the board. This isn’t the main meal, it’s a starter so you don’t want everyone to fill up before you even sit down to eat. Giving a few choices allows people to find one they love, or taste the whole lot. Here’s my take on the perfect antipasto & cheese platter…

1.  Salty – Caperberries

Caperberries, not to be confused with capers, are the immature buds of the caper bush. Bursting with flavour, these individual bites are often served straight from the jar where they are brined in vinegar. Olives could be used as a substitute for the salty element on your board.

2. Smoky/Spicy – Grilled peppers

I personally love a bit of heat when it comes to food. Adding a spicy element isn’t for the faint hearted, but if you can handle a bit of chilli, it’s the perfect kicker and a real flavour punch. Chase it with a creamy brie or camembert to cool your mouth down.

3. Sour – Pickled vegetables

Pickled vegetables are actually very easy to make yourself. But if in doubt, grab them from the deli section or a jar. The sourness of the pickled veg helps cleanse the palette between cheeses, and the crunch adds texture. I pickled some sliced radishes for this board using this recipe by Silvia Colloca.

4. Sweet – Fruits

Grapes, dates, figs – all these fruits have natural sugars to cut through the strong flavours of aged cheese. Sundried tomatoes also have a distinct sweetness to them, and add a little more depth of flavour to the board.

5. Smooth – Dip

This one is very easy; with such a wide variety of dips available nowadays, you have endless options for additions to your plate. I’ve chosen a simple hommous; its smooth texture and subtle flavour complements some of the stronger elements on the board.

6. Sharp cheese

A sharp, aged cheese like a cheddar is a must on any cheese board. It’s the classic cheese, strong in flavour but not so strong as to be offputting. Pair it with a quince paste or fig for the perfect combination.

7. Stinky cheese

This is the controversial one but for those who are into smelly cheeses (that’s me), the stinkier the better in my opinion! I’ve chosen an aged blue cheese which has quite a strong flavour. Again, pairing it with a sweeter fruit it helps to cut through the strong flavour without compromising the cheese itself.

8. Creamy cheese

A camembert or a brie is a lovely soft textural option to add to the board. Gooey and oozy, this cheese can vary in strength of flavour but it’s the smooth, creamy texture that is the draw card here.

9. Wild Card

Here’s where you let your deli do the work. Get them to choose out a wild card cheese for you, perhaps it’s something nutty like a Gouda or in this case, a milder Manchego cheese. It shakes it up a little and offers your guests something they (and you) may not have tried before.

10. Fresh cheese

A nice fresh cheese like a goats cheese or buffallo mozzarella gives a cooling lightness to the board. I’ve mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes with some torn up boccocini and basil leaves. Season with salt and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil for a simple fresh salad.



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