A combination of cheeses, cured meats and accouterments perfect for game day entertaining. Featuring Cheddar, Colby Jack and Gouda cheese, summer sausage and peppered salami and pickled okra.
Cheese platters are forever and always a go-to for me when it comes to entertaining. They are a no-cook, simple, easy appetizer that suits just about any occasion.
However, when I am determining what will actually go onto the platter, I first take into consideration the event itself:
CONSIDER THE OCCASION
What is the event going to be like? Is it going to be casual or elegant? Will people be drinking wine, cocktails or beer? Will it be mostly women? Or are the men allowed to come too? And, what about kiddos?
Once I have the type of event narrowed down, the cheese selections become much easier. In this case, we are focusing on Game Day entertaining. So the event will be casual, men and children will likely be present, and I think it’s safe to assume beer (for the grownups only, of course) will be the beverage of choice.
WHAT CHEESE PAIR WELL WITH BEER
So now my mind wanders to beer pairings. What cheeses go best with beer and casual entertaining?
Cheddar, a super versatile cheese that pairs well with both smoked meats and is wonderful with beer. Colby Jack also pairs nicely with beer and is a touch milder in flavor than a Cheddar, making this a nice, neutral choice for a crowd, and especially the kiddos.
It’s customary to have three kinds of cheese on a platter. I like to throw in at least one somewhat different, somewhat exciting cheese on a platter. Smoked Gouda plays well with our other cheese choices, and again, would pair nicely with beer.
So there we have it. Three kinds of cheese ready for plating…almost. I’ve found that cheese left on the platter whole don’t get eaten, and ultimately becomes a waste. Slice the cheese into fairly thick bite-sized pieces for your guests, and allow for 2-3 nibbles per slice.
MEATS FOR A CHEESE PLATTER
Onto the meats: This is game day party, so naturally, we need a few portions of meat on the platter. Think…”Man Food.”
Summer sausage and peppered salami are great choices for a meat and cheese platter, as these cured meats will pair wonderfully with the cheeses above and are overall crowd pleasers. Make sure to slice sausages thin, as they can be fairly chewy.
WHAT TO PUT ON A MEAT AND CHEESE PLATTER…BESIDES MEAT AND CHEESE
To make your meat and cheese platter extra special, serve up a dipping sauce and pickles relishes alongside it.
A DIPPING SAUCE (OR TWO)
In this case, a nice strong mustard blend would pair well with the sausage and also cut down on the somewhat “fatty” feel sausage can leave on one’s tongue.
Another nice addition, that pairs very well with our selected cheeses is a red pepper jelly. Serve alongside crackers, and encourage your guests to try something new by topping their crackers with a slice of cheese and a tiny dollop of jelly.
AN ASSORTMENT OF CRACKERS
Everybody loves a little variety. Use an assortment of your favorite crackers to fill the platter.
When it comes to cheese platter, I tend to lean toward crackers that don’t boast too much of their own flavor, and go for Saltines, Stone Wheat Crackers, or water crackers.
One last addition you might consider is a pickled element such as tiny dill pickles, pickled okra or pitted olives.
HOW TO ARRANGE A CHEESE PLATTER
For plating, start with the bulkiest item, in this case, the flavor enhancers. Place them in small condiment bowls down the center of the tray. Next, add the sliced sausages in a fish scale pattern opposite on another diagonally on the platter. Then, add the sliced cheeses alongside the sausages. Lastly, use crackers to fill in the gaps.
Serve and enjoy!
- Cheddar Cheese
- Smoked Gouda Cheese
- Colby Jack Cheese
- Summer Sausage
- Peppered Salami
- Stone Wheat Crackers
- Saltine Crackers
- Pickled Okra
- Red Pepper Jelly
Mix together 3 tbsp Dijon Mustard and 3 tbsp Whole Grain Mustard. And, voila! That’s it! Doesn’t get much easier than that.
Would pair well with: