Are you hosting an upcoming holiday party? Don’t know what to serve as an appetizer? I think cheese boards are fantastic, and they are so fun to assemble. They are colorful, beautiful, and have loads of variety. While your guests will think you spent hours on it, in reality, they are really easy to put together and there’s no cooking involved (which is great if your oven is already being used for the main course)!

I’m going to show you how simple it is to make this beautiful tray. Let your creativity come through, and remember – more is more when it comes to a cheese board!
There’s a picture below of all the ingredients I found at my local Earth Fare if you want to use exactly what I have on my tray. A lot of the cheeses, meats and nuts I used are on sale at Earth Fare for the month of December. Most of them can be found in the specialty department, with a few other ingredients from the produce and grocery departments.

I like to assemble the board a few hours before guests arrive. This gives the cheese time to come to room temperature. To save time, chop the veggies, peel the fruit, and get the meat all cut and rolled the day beforehand. Doing this makes the cheese board come together really fast and should take less than 30 minutes.

The first thing I do is put out my cheeses. I like to have 3. A good rule of thumb would be to pick one soft, one that can be sliced, and one that can be crumbled. These will all make for an interesting board with different flavors and textures.

Then I choose 3 meats. Again, pick 3 different flavors that can be served in different ways – slice one in thick rounds, roll one in thin cylinder shapes, make shredded piles, or have one to spread. It’s all about mixing it up.

Next will be your crackers and breads. Pick 3-4 of these and place them around the board. Then I like to put out the vegetables. 2 or 3 should be plenty. Make sure you have something green and another bright color like pink or red. This color really adds to the impact of the board and helps it pop. Having something to dip the veggies in is a good idea – ranch is always a favorite.

The fruit will come next. Again, pick 2-3. I love to use pomegranates and clemantines because they are good winter seasonal fruits. The red and orange also add that splash of color the meat and cheese needs.

Pick up 3 things from the olive bar that can be placed in small bowls. Get different colors and flavors – variety is key here. Then put out a couple jams or chutneys. I picked one that’s sweet, and one that’s spicy.

The last thing you’ll put out are your fillers. Nuts, pretzels and something chocolate covered are prefect for this. You want to fill in all the empty spaces left on the board with these. I also like to fill in with some whole fruit or veggies to add more color around the board.

Don’t forget to serve with a bottle of prosecco, wine or sparking cider. Cheers!

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About the Author

Claudia Laffin

Claudia Laffin is a food photographer and owner of The Traveling Spoon Personal Chef, serving clients in and around Asheville, North Carolina. She has been a health food advocate and natural lifestyle follower for over 20 years. During that time she enjoyed working in numerous stores in the health food industry, including Earth Fare! Claudia’s desire to bring health food to more people motivated her to start her personal chef business. She loves cooking healthy, organic, non processed and delicious food for busy families in their own homes and helping them find a path to a healthier life. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see what new things she’s cooking up!