12 Epic Cheese Board Ideas to Copy From Instagram

Turn your cheese board into a work of art.

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With cocktail parties, family gatherings and holiday soirees on the calendar for the next couple of months, we're ready to dive into one of the most popular and versatile appetizers out there: the classic cheese board.

No matter what your party menu looks like, a lush cheese board is often the best way to kick off your event. And while most of us have the basics down when it comes to cheese-board prep, there’s still loads of inspiration out there for taking things to the next level.

Instagram came to the rescue (again!) with these 12 epic cheese boards that you can copy for your holiday table.

1: Use Fresh Herbs

This gorgeous cheese board from food stylist Meg Quinn looks extra fresh and zesty with mint and rosemary tucked in as a garnish. Meg also snuck in some sweets with rasberries and chocolate, as well as two ramekins to hold olives and an herbed cheese spread.

2: Go Big

Flanked by eucalyptus leaves, there are lots of wonderful treats mixed in amongst the cheese, including popcorn and pretzels, small dishes of dip, and both fresh and dried fruit.

3: Use a Simple Tray

This cheese tray is small, but mighty. They creatively displayed several items including the domino-like cheese slices, as well as the vertically rolled pieces of salami. Olives and cornichons bring in some savory flavors, as well as several different types of nuts and dried fruits.

4: Build Up

For a more dramatic look, you can create a cheese board on several different levels. Try balancing your boards on various items, such as an overturned bowl, to create varying heights. This set-up includes flowers and colorful vegetables (used mostly for display).

5: Opt for Effortless

This cheese board still manages to look beautiful while keeping things super simple. With just a few different types of cheeses, pecans and sliced apples, this marble cheese board is a show stopper. Colorful leaves add a lovely embellishment.

6: Go For Little Piles

Erin Hiemstra reminds us that making little piles of items on your cheese board is an easy way to go. This beautiful board includes salami, prosciutto, fresh bread and a variety of grapes. This technique works great on a round board, so you can feature items in several different spots, allowing everyone easy access no matter where they might be sitting.

7: Cubed Cheese Works, Too

Sometimes it’s a bit challenging for guests to wrestle with cutting up cheeses. Think about cubing your cheeses (or buying them already cubed) before serving. This stunning cheese plate is a great example of how you can still make this type of plate look super chic.

8: Choose a Centerpiece

On this unique cheese board, the gorgeous star bread/pastry shines as the centerpiece. Cheese and homemade jam are used to complement the bread. If you love to bake, you could easily create this type of cheese board for your holiday dinner.

9: Add Flowers + Fruit

While grapes are a common addition to cheese boards, this proves that you can go far beyond grapes to create a beautiful display. Watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and kiwi all work perfectly with the cheese and charcuterie.

10: Try a Theme

This lovely cheese board is inspired by Italy. Featuring fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, salami, prosciutto and pesto, this would make for a delicious starter. Other variations might include a Greek plate (olives and feta cheese) or an Israeli plate (feta, hummus and pickled vegetables).

11: Cheese Dips Work, Too

Another simple option is to offer up one cheese dip rather than a cheese board. This delicious bowl of fresh queso is served with tortilla chips and homemade guacamole.

12: Make It Sculptural

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your cheese tray and go for a more sculptural look. You can create a similar look by taking your items and arranging them in a wave-like pattern. The set-up works particularly well for different cuts of cheese, such as sliced and crumbled.

Cheese Plate 101: Assemble the Perfect Platter

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Perfect + Pretty Cheese Tray

By grouping together cheeses with distinctly different tastes (aged, soft, hard or blue), then mixing them with sweet and savory food pairings, a cheese plate can be the standout appetizer of a social occasion. Suggested ingredients: 1/4 pound manchego cheese; 1/4 pound fontina cheese; 1/4 pound goat cheese; 1/4 pound blue cheese; 1/2 pound figs; 1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced; salted crackers; unsalted crackers; olives; herbs; black pepper; one bunch red grapes; one bunch green grapes; baguette; honey; raspberry compote.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Semi-Soft: Fontina Cheese

Fontina cheese is a perfect fit for guests with earthy, woody palates. Almost mushroom-like in its flavoring, fontina cheese is best served with truffles and meats. For a perfect mix of sweet and savory, consider serving fontina with prosciutto and grapes.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Aged: Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is one of the most versatile types of cheese available. In addition to having a wide variety of tastes, it's also sold in many different shapes: logs, wheels, cones and wedges. Serving Tip: Coat the top and sides with a mix of lavender, thyme and black pepper to add texture and make it more appealing to guests with different palates.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Semi-Hard: Manchego Cheese

Considered by many to be an acquired taste, manchego cheese is characterized by its buttery taste. Almonds and olives pair well with this mild, Spanish cheese.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Blue Cheese

Blue cheese is characterized by its sharp and salty taste. In addition to the flavoring, blue cheese is also known for its strong scent. If guests find its characteristics too strong, figs can help sweeten the salty taste.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Pairings: Crackers, Bread, Dips

Once you've curated your cheeses, it's important to choose versatile accompaniments. Consider a mix of salted and unsalted crackers, as well as shortbreads and baguettes. Dips like honey and raspberry compote are commonly used to counterbalance sweetness or saltiness. For a more polished look, present dips in white ramekins layered on top of wood cutting boards.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Set Up the Spread

Once all condiments, pairings and cheeses have been removed from their packaging and properly prepared for presentation, arrange them all together on an elevated vessel above the crackers, bread and condiments. This will allow the variety of cheeses to stand out as a culinary feature and provide easy access for guests.
Serving Tips: Set out a separate knife for each type of cheese. Label each cheese with suggested accompaniments. Keep more pungent cheeses on a separate plate so they don't overpower the other cheeses. Take cheeses out of the refrigerator at least one hour before serving; they'll be more flavorful and easier to slice.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

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