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Appetizer Boards to Impress

I LOVE snacking. It’s one of my favorite party essentials. A classic cheese platter is one of the best things you can make for a party, in my opinion. It’s not too fancy, it’s ready in 10 minutes or less, and your guests will LOVE it! I always place the platter in the center of the kitchen action, so that all of my friends and family can mingle together. It makes for such easy entertaining during football parties or the holidays. Another tip: Set cheeses out on your countertop or kitchen island about an hour before your party begins, so that they are easier to slice and serve. I usually place everything on a large wooden cutting board, with plates and napkins alongside to give guests easy access to all of the snacks. Enjoy making your platter!

would hit up Trader Joe’s for all of your ingredients, to save on money and still get a delicious selection of high-quality cheese. They tend to have the most inexpensive cheeses, along with a great selection of other snacks. You don’t have to break the bank on cheese!

Here are my top tips for how to make the Perfect Party Cheese Platter:

  1. Start with different types of cheeses. Everyone loves their cheese for a specific reason, so think about it this way: something old and classic, something spicy, something aged, and something goat. I chose a sharp cheddar cheese, Monterey pepper jack, smoked Gouda, and blueberry goat cheese. Brie and bleu cheese are also great options! You can put labels next to the cheeses if you want to, otherwise you can challenge your guests to guess the cheese!

  2. Don’t forget the crunch. I chose Trader Joe’s reduced-guilt pita chips, whole grain pita crackers, crusty French bread, and multigrain crackers. Flavored Triscuits, Wheat Thins, or pretzels are also favorites of mine. If you have a guest on a gluten-free diet, mini rice cakes are a great choice!

  3. Add extra spreads. I created a raspberry cream cheese spread by stirring together 8 oz. of cream cheese and 3 tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam – so easy and it adds a little sweetness to the party! I also purchased Trader Joe’s White Bean Basil Hummus, just in case any guests aren’t cheese lovers. Apple and pumpkin butters are also among my favorites to pair with cheese.

  4. Necessary extras. It’s always great to have mixed or specialty nuts, fresh cut fruit, and pickles or olives. Everyone loves little nibbles!

  5. Meat. Sometimes it’s fun to jazz up your platter with a fine selection of meats such as salami, pepperoni and prosciutto. Cheese + meat = the perfect pair!

Holiday party season is just around the corner (kicking off with Thanksgiving on October 8), so what better time to chat about easy appetizer ideas than now? While whipping up some puff pastries is an option, we suggest you hop on board one of the latest food trends and prepare a meat and cheese tray (charcuterie) for your guests. Pulling a plate together need not be hard, say Marco Contardi and chef Joe Friday of Alimento Fine Food Emporium in Toronto. All you need to do is follow some of their expert advice.

"Talking party food, friends! Specifically, appetizer boards (aka no ovens needed)! I’ve decided that designing appetizer boards is equivalent to creating little works of art! They’re so much fun to pull together with your favorite cheeses, crackers, fruits, veggies, etc. There really aren’t any rules (ok, not many) when it comes to appetizer boards which is good because I hate rules. Simply, these food displays are the perfect accompaniment to a football game, political debate (ha!), dinner party, casual weeknight party, or any occasion that calls for delicious food and conversation. I’ve even been creating “mini” versions to serve my two year old and she loves helping me plate everything!"

--wording: "As we learn on the Everygirl, it’s key to make friends with your cheesemonger to create fabulous appetizer boards! You can certainly find a huge variety of great cheeses directly in the market without visiting a cheesemonger too, but if you want help pairing cheeses, then he/she will help! As a rule, be sure to include a good variety of textures from soft cheeses to spreadable to hard too."

--wording: "You might see a gorgeous appetizer board you want to recreate but not have a clue what all the items are? Enter The Little Epicurean. This talented blog has tons of great ideas for a meat and cheese appetizer board!"

--wording: "As Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day points out, it’s always a great idea to add something green to your appetizer board. Try rosemary, chives, thyme, or even arugula! One of my own favorite appetizer creations is a cracker topped with white cheddar, an arugula leaf, and a drizzle of honey. I always make sure those items are on my own appetizer boards."

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