Preparing a Cheese Platter

For a simple addition to an appetizer buffet, consider offering a simple cheese platter. Whether served by itself or alongside fruits, vegetables, crackers or bread, cheese appeals to people of all ages. Best of all, it requires little effort on your part. Here are a few suggestions to help you prepare a pleasing platter:

Plan on about 2 ounces of cheese per person and use four or five varieties.

Include an assortment of colors, textures and tastes. Some mild cheeses are baby Swiss, Colby, Colby-Jack, Havarti, mild cheddar and Monterey Jack. For a mellow flavor, turn to brick, Brie, Camembert, Edam, Gouda, medium cheddar and Swiss. Be sure to also include some robust varieties like Asiago, blue, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, Parmesan, provolone and sharp cheddar.

Add eye appeal by cutting cheeses into different shapes, such as rectangles, squares, triangles, cubes and sticks. (For the holidays, use small festive cutters.)

For best results, use a sharp clean knife and cut cheese while it's cold. Cutting can be done early in the day. Just wrap the cheese tightly with plastic wrap or store in airtight containers and refrigerate.

When preparing your platter for serving, it's better to serve small quantities and then refill as needed. Otherwise, the flavor and texture of the cheeses will deteriorate and the cheeses may spoil.