Our internet and cable have been out all day, so I’ve been running around town with husband getting some fun new groceries, and sitting outside on my patio in the sunshine catching up on phone calls. NO TIME TO BLOG? The horror.
I’m using this tray to bribe him to watch the Bachelor tonight with me, and it also makes for a nice little “staying in” date night. It would also be really fun to host a viewing party of any show (or a BACHELOR FINALE party next week!) and have your friends over for cheese and drinks.
I wanted to share a few cheese tray tips with you, and a super simple mimosa recipe. They each only took me about five minutes to put together. I’m really excited to spend some time with my husband tonight, testing all the cheeses we found at the store today!
Tips for Assembling your Cheese Tray:
1. More isn’t always better. Did you know that the American Cheese Society (yes, this is a thing) actually recommends only four to five cheeses on your tray? If you’ve ever studied marketing before, you know that too many options can be overwhelming. Shoot for a small number of cheeses, and you’ll have room for some accompanying snacks on the tray.
2. Vary your textures. Make sure you have a combination of soft, medium, and harder cheese with different textures to make the experience more interesting. Having one spreadable cheese is nice, along with some medium cheeses cut into cubes, and even shavings of a hard cheese like parmesan.
3. Include a mild and strong cheese. Brie is a really nice mild cheese that is usually a crowd-pleaser. If you’re feeling adventurous, include a strong, stinky cheese, like bleu cheese or Limburger for your friends who want to expand their palates. I think the BEST way to find cheeses is in stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts, where they sell the “end pieces” or small servings of cheese wrapped in plastic. They’re usually only $2-3 each, and that way you don’t have to spend all your money!
4. Include charcuterie. Add some of your favorite meats – prosciutto, salami, cured ham – even chicken and turkey. Aim for about 2 ounces per person. This adds another layer to the tray and allows for more pairings and experimentation.
5. Have a drink on hand. It’s always fun to create a signature drink along with your cheese tray. Make a mojito, a mimosa, sangria, or something fruity to go along with your tray. If you don’t drink alcohol, cut up some fresh fruits and add them to a pitcher with sparkling water and some pomegranate juice.
6. Add your sides. With whatever room is left, fill it with crackers, dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, and chocolate. Most people love making little sandwiches on crackers, so they’re an important part of the process!
7. Get creative. I always love boards that include something a bit surprising, like artichoke hearts or olives. Usually, if you just scrounge in your fridge or cupboard, you’ll find something like this that you can include. I just discovered I have three containers of roasted red pepper, which would be perfect for this tray!
8. Make a dip. Homemade spinach dip or hummus is always a hit. Display it in a round, crusty bread for a nice-looking addition to your tray.
9. Decorate the white space. I like adding fresh flowers, dried flowers, and some herbs or greens just to make the tray look more appealing. Here, I just used pea sprouts that I picked up at the store today. These are really good on salads and sandwiches, but they also look pretty on the tray.
10. Enjoy the party. Now that you’ve created this great appetizer, enjoy your time with your friends and family! If you’re the host or hostess of a party, see if you can assign someone to “refill duty” so you can spend the rest of your time relaxing and interacting with your guests.
I’m linking some of my favorites below – click any picture to read about ingredients or to order! These are all gluten free.
Blood Orange Tangerine Mimosas
It’s a really simple recipe, but you’ll impress your friends with its fancy-sounding name and great taste!
-1 part Califia Farms tangerine juice
-1 part dry champagne
-juice of 1/2 blood orange
If you don’t drink alcohol, you can replace the champagne with sparkling water or your favorite flavor of La Croix. We personally love the cran-raspberry.
Let me know in the comments your FAVORITE cheese, and also your cheese tray go-tos!
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