A cheese platter, fitting for anything from a graduation party to a movie night or an anniversary dinner. No matter the occasion, it makes any event 110% classier. But as you've probably thought, cheese boards are intimidating (more-so than your mother in-law). Here's the breakdown of the essential items you'll need as well as which items your friends should be eating together. Just try not to eat all the ingredients as you set up your cheese board, I learned that the hard way...
A wooden, marble or slate board is the perfect base for your platter. You'll want to make sure the board is big enough to fit everything you're about to throw on it. If the board looks too big, don't be fooled. Once you start piling cheese and crackers on it, you'll be wondering where all that space went.
Ah yes. What everyone came here for. One of the biggest things about cheese boards is making sure to have a variety of cheeses so that there's something for everyone. You also want to make sure you have a range of textures. A few soft, some crumbly, a hard one, and some especially melty ones. Think pepper jack, feta, brie, parmesan, and cheddar. Spicy, tangy, gooey. Drooling yet?
Jelly, Honey, & Mustard
The jellies you choose should also compliment the cheeses you pick. If you have a tangy goat cheese on your board, make sure there's a raspberry jelly there to compliment it. Experiment around with apricot jelly, as well as honey and mustards (or even honey mustards). Make your cheese board yours! There's never a wrong ingredient (except maybe Siracha, let's pass on that for now).
Crackers & Pretzels
Cracker wise, you want to have a few different choices laid out. Crunchy, seedy, plain, and unsalted is a good guide to go off of. While traditional pretzels work well, if you have any flat or mini pretzels lying around, go for those. Different textures allow you and your guests to play around and discover your favorite combos!
Like the jellies, try picking nuts that will compliment the cheeses you chose. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios and even cashews are classic staples. Roasted or salted, you have creative control. Just be sure to steer clear of any nuts with crazy flavors or seasonings. You don't want that to distract from the cheese!
Dry meats like jerky and textured ones like salami are great additions to any cheese board. If you choose to have pepper jack on your board, be sure to have mild or spicy jerky to amp up the flavor. Slices of honey roasted salami will be amazing.
If there's still some room left on your board, throw some grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or even dried cranberries on there. Not only will you want to match the flavors of the fruit with the cheeses and meets you've laid out (blueberries with blue cheese), but matching colors to create a visually appealing board won't hurt either.