We know that no matter how subtle, criticism from the in-laws can cause the holidays to nose dive in a hurry. Instead of getting angry, we say, stuff their faces with cheese and chocolate and they won’t be able to get those hurtful words out!

Are you looking for some tips on putting together a cheese platter like a boss? If so, it’s pretty simple. Compile a little cheese, a little fruit, some carbs, some chocolate and you’re just about done.

Step 1: Source your ingredients

First, you need to source your ingredients. We only use the word “source” to sound fancy. What we really mean is… On your next frantic trip to the grocery store, toss some extra items into your cart—cheese, carbs, jam, fruit, and our secret ingredient. And if you really want a hearty tray, go for the gold and add in some cured meats, olives and nuts.

When picking cheeses, you can’t go wrong! If your crew has a less than adventurous pallet, make sure to include some familiar favorites (think cheddar!)—but leave the string cheese in the fridge!

Next, find some fancy-looking crackers and a little jar of artisan jam (yum!). You get extra credit if you recycle the jar and pass the jam off as handmade by your BFF. Most importantly, know your audience. Even if something looks posh, leave it on the shelf if you know your family won’t eat it. We don’t want you wasting money! Finally, the secret and most important ingredient, CHOCOLATE!

cheese: pick 3-5

Sophisticated Crowd Pleasers

  • Drunken goat (⭐ staff favorite)
  • Manchego
  • Havarti Dill
  • Smoked gouda

KID-FRIENDLY STANDBYS

  • Yellow cheddar
  • Havarti Dill
  • Fresh mozzarella

GOTTA HAVE AT LEAST ONE

  • Brie or camembert
  • Goat cheese
  • Blue or gorgonzola (at least one stinky cheese required!)

Fruits: Pick 1-2

  • Raspberries
  • Grapes
  • Apple slices
  • Dried apricots

nuts: Pick 1-2

  • Marcona (⭐ staff favorite)
  • Pecans
  • Macademia
  • Pistachios

Chocolate (extra credit)

Venture beyond your local grocery store and check out Home Goods and World Market for an offbeat selection of milk, dark, and “fun” chocolates including this hot li’l number.

Step 2: Find a platter

Easy peasy. Whether you’re looking for an excuse to stop by West Elm, or you’re grabbing something out of your cupboard, you really can’t go wrong. Look for something sturdy to hold all the goods, sometimes a rounded edge on the dish is nice and keeps the chocolate from falling off the plate. If you’re assembling a large platter, consider adding some small bowls on the tray to hold things that spill over such as nuts and olives.

Step 3: Put it all together

Now the fun starts. Just remember, you can’t mess this up! Our key tip is to add as much as you can to the platter. Fill it up! Make your cheese platter full and abundant, and it will look fantastic! Avoid the “minimalist” placement. That is too hard. Instead, fit as much cheese, fruit, carbs, and jam as you can. Once you think it can’t fit anything else, start tucking chocolate in between everything!

Don’t forget to slice the hard cheeses so folks don’t have to work too hard for it. And provide cheese spreaders for the softer cheeses.

Click to view these cheese trays we love

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