we are fortunate to have a circle of fab friends and every few weeks, we gather for Happy Hour at one another's places. It's something everyone looks forward to - all adults and kids - and we factor in birthday or anniversary celebrations, sports occasions, work milestones etc. Basically, any excuse to get together :)
Whoever hosts, provides a delicious array of snacks (and plenty of beverages) and usually the hero is a show-stopping cheeseboard. (We do have dinner, but that's another post, haha!) Since winter is a great time for at-home entertaining, I thought I'd put together my top tips for creating the perfect platter.
1. START WITH TWO OR THREE CHEESES
Over the years I've developed preferences for certain cheeses and although I'm not a fan of Blue cheese, it's always the first to disappear. So I often include it, and make sure that my favourite Cumin cheese is there too! You can't wrong with a round of Camembert or Brie, and Maarsdam or hard/smoked cheddars are popular too.
2. HAVE A VARIETY OF CRACKERS AND BREADS
I include a variety of crackers, breadsticks and fresh breads to add toppings to, as well as a selection of dips, spreads and honey - which add lots of flavour and colour to your board. My go-to spread is the heavenly Smoked Mackerel Pate from our local The Casual Foodie, and we use our favourite Lumojo honey.
3. INCLUDE FRUITS, VEGETABLES AND NUTS
Adding fresh fruits and vegetables gives your board some colour and added sweetness. If fresh fruit is not so plentiful, there are some good dried alternatives you can add - think mango, apricots, figs or cranberries. Nuts are an easy filler, so I go for almonds, walnuts and cashews.
4. HAVE A FEW TREATS FROM THE DELI
Meats from the deli such as flavoursome salamis and cured meats can be torn and added and while you're at the deli, gather some artichoke hearts, filled peppers and olives.
5. FILL THE BOARD
Pop the dips and so on into individual serving dishes on your platter, add some spreaders and good knives and you're ready to go! Fill any gaps with extra nuts or dried fruit. If you're hosting a crowd, think about pushing several boards together on a table and going for the WOW factor!
So there you are, easy as! And just to recap, here are our top tips:
We'd love to see how you put your platters together - why not send us your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some of our favourite pieces (available in-store and on-line) for creating the perfect platter.