Basics of Assembling a Cheese Platter for 20
Because of the high level of catering service we do, we almost always do tray passed hors d'ouevres. It takes a small army to execute tray passed hors d'oeuvres well and it is joyous to have little bites of everything. However, when I'm having a party for friends and family at home I'll usually throw together a cheese platter. I always keep dried fruit and nuts on hand. the most common things I use are spicy pecans, pistachios and Marcona Almonds. I ADORE dried cherries and those are a staple in my pantry. I think the dried apricots are also delicious and add a nice bright color contrast. The rest of the fruit I just buy in season. And I often pick up the cheese a day or two in advance. I usually chose some kind of sharp or aged cheddar, a type of blue, a type of goat and then a soft St. Andre or type of Brie. (I actually am a cheese fanatic, so I could go on for hours about cheese. I'll do a separate toast on cheese courses and send pictures of those as well.)
I wanted to post these pictures here so you could see how to easily copy this. You can pick up terrific and unusual platters or trays at Cost Plus World Imports, Target or dig through for finds at TJ Maxx or Marshall's. If budget isn't an issue than Pottery Barn always has some nice things as well. I have these great antique French trays that Mindy gave me for my birthday. A little rustic for some tastes, but I adore them. I usually line the platter with grape leaves. Alternatives could be fig leaves, banana leaves, maple leaves--anything edible.
I love cheese with bread. So I always have a few kinds of bread in a wooden basket on the side. Sometimes I incorporate the bread into the platter. I also usually have a couple kinds of crackers as well. Cheese is the one thing I can't seem to live without. I have some kind of cheese everyday!