It’s the season for appetizer parties. You’ve got crescent roll-wrapped weenie sausages, queso and chips, crudités, and the gigantic crostini topped with various delectable spreads.

The almighty cheeseboard, however, reigns supreme, overflowing with an elegant assortment of cheeses, meats, spreads, dips, nuts, fruits, and garnishes that make it appear almost too good to eat.

Are you looking to create an epic holiday cheeseboard? Here are tricks you can use:

Start with a beautiful platter.

It’s always wise to begin with a good canvas because it will become evident as your visitors enjoy the selection.

Always think about your canvas before you begin. First, find the right board or platter to build on to build a gorgeous board.

An excellent way to do it is to use large cutting boards, marble slabs, slate boards, or large simple platters. They all work correctly.

Go with a variety of cheeses.

Your visitors’ cheese preferences will likely vary, and a selection looks more appealing on the platter.

The first step is, of course, cheese. Use a combination of something soft, something hard, and something stinky.

Choose cheeses that your guests will enjoy, not simply those you like. Yes, you want to enjoy it, but so do your guests. And really, that’s why you’re doing it.

Great ideas to go with include: a firm cow’s milk cheese (think cheddar or Parmigiano-Reggiano), a soft cow’s milk cheese (like brie), a goat’s milk cheese, a sheep’s milk cheese, a blue cheese, and a wild card—perhaps one flavored or aged in beer—would make a perfect cheese board.

Remember that cheese tastes best after it has lost its fridge chill so take it out two hours before serving and allow it to come to room temperature before you serve it.

If you are having trouble putting together your own board, buy an already made one such as a Dutch Masterpiece.

A Dutch Masterpiece provides an amazing cheeseboard experience that is both traditional and unique.

Each collection’s four premium mature cheeses—Vincent, Frans Hals, Vermeer, and Rembrandt—have received global acclaim, proof of their distinctive formulas and rigorous dedication to the age-old technique of traditional Dutch cheese making.

The masterpiece’s packaging is as unusual as the cheese, featuring great Dutch painters and their celebrated masterpieces.

The packaging also serves an educational purpose by providing thorough tasting notes to help consumers grasp the unique flavors and textures of the cheeses.

The masterpiece elevates cheese from a mere entertainment to an art form, guaranteeing your at-home celebration is both memorable and delightful. It is ideal for any holiday occasion or special gathering.

To give you variety during this holiday season, a Dutch Masterpiece has collaborated with Celebrity Chef George Duran to make a wide range of cheese options such as Pear, Honey, Goat Cheese Crostini, Sausage, Pear, and Goat Cheese Flatbread Pizza.

You are bound to be spoilt for choice.

There is no right or wrong cheese to choose. It all depends on you and your preferences.

While it may be tempting to stock up on good cheeses (mainly if your favorite type is on sale), don’t. You should only buy exactly what you need—cheese isn’t something you want to buy in bulk because it won’t last long in your fridge.

An excellent way to do it is to get two to three ounces, or 75 to 90 grams, of total cheese per person (approximately five or six decent-sized wedges would be excellent) for a gathering of roughly ten people.

Add some color

When buying cheeses, consider how they look together visually. You can go for cheeses with colored waxed coatings or a lovely vein running through them, such as blue cheese. Even before you add fruit and garnish, these will interest your dish.

Think about what you will serve cheese with

The show’s star should always be cheese, but you’ll need a neutral-flavored vehicle to transfer the cheese from the board into your mouth. Excellent options include water crackers or thinly sliced pieces of baguette.

Mild cured meats pair nicely with cheese, as do nuts, dried fruit, and certain types of fresh fruit, such as apples, pears, figs, and grapes, which act as a palate cleanser.

If you want to stand out, pair blue cheese with honey or honeycomb. If you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly savory combo (when meat isn’t an option), try red pepper jelly with a full-flavored, or stinkier, cheese, like a triple-cream brie.

Allow your tastebuds to lead you regarding food and drink combinations. Pairings are so individual, so you should go with what feels right.

While this is the case, you should note that there is a set of rules you should follow. For example, if you have a heavyweight cheese, you would want to pair it with a heavyweight alcohol and vice versa.

As a rule of thumb, avoid combining a vast, robust red with soft goat cheese; instead, try an aged gouda or blue cheese with that Cab Sauv.

Decorate your cheese

Salamis and cheeses can be heavy and flat, so adding height to a board is wise. One way to do it is to add levels by putting items in different containers, such as red pepper jelly in a shot glass or breadsticks in a dollar shop tin pail.

If you love skewering food, pear grapes or olives onto toothpicks and scatter them about the board

There you go

These are some tricks you can use to create an epic cheeseboard. As mentioned above, you can order an already prepared board; you only need to serve.

If you would love to make your board and the above tricks are overwhelming for you, you can always take a class.

Even the most artistically inept can produce a stunning cheese plate with training.

You only need to find a local cheeseboard workshop and attend.

Many people who run cheeseboard-based blogs and Instagram accounts offer pop-up workshops that go into more depth on their favorite tricks to make a unique and beautiful cheese board.

Find one and attend.

Published by HOLR Magazine