I received a request from a reader on how to create the perfect cheese tray/appetizer spread. Honestly a cheese tray is one of my favorite appetizers. Sometimes when Matt works late it is what I have for dinner and I secretly love it. I really enjoy a cheese plate and a glass of wine. My family jokes that I always make my cheese trays look so perfect. It is my job at happy hour to put together our nibbles. There is no real art to making it look pretty I just find the way you group things helps. I try to keep on hand many of the items needed for a cheese tray so if we have company I can easily whip it together.
\\ A few items that I try to always keep on hand for last minute entertaining:
- pickled okra and/or mini pickles
- pepperoni and/or salami
- truffled dijon mustard (I find this at tjmaxx)
- 34 degrees crackers- I love these so thin and crispy
- pretzel thins
- cheese sticks (harris teeter and trader joes make great versions of these)
- cracker barrel cheese
- manchego, gouda, and brie are favorites
- pimento cheese
- veggies carrots or celery
If you have the above ingredients or at least a few of them it makes throwing together an appetizer easy.
\\ A few tips:
- I always drizzle my hummus with olive oil and salt and pepper. If I have pint nuts I sprinkle that on top. It makes it look fancy.
- I stopped buying my cheese at Costco because it was just too much and went bad too quickly. Just buy at your local grocery store or if you live in Charleston check out Goat Sheep Cow- amazing selection of wine and cheese.
- Keep fig or apricot preserves on hand they are great served with brie
- fresh figs, blue cheese, and honey are a killer combo
- check the food section at TJMaxx, this is where I find my favorite truffled mustard, specialty jams, and pickled veggies.
- Carrots and Celery are the best veggies because they last the longest in your fridge. I always slice my own carrots I swear they taste better than the baby ones.
- Buy the large rolls of pepperoni and salami and slice them yourself. I also think these taste better then the packaged kind and they will last awhile in your fridge.
- The mini french pickles are the best- you can buy them in bulk at Earthfare or in a small jar at the grocery store
- I like to keep the softer cheeses like brie or goat cheese whole and slice the harder cheeses.
- Buy a good white serving platter or wooden board- food always looks prettier on white or wood.
West Elm has some of my favorite serving ware but you can often times find a white platter for cheap at Homegoods or TJMaxx as well.
- A cute set of cheese knives is also good to have on hand.
I am obsessed with this gold set from West Elm
I went thru my instagram and had to laugh about the amount of cheese tray/happy hour posts I had. This girl loves happy hour:) Here are a few pictures for inspiration.
A few new favorite wines because you need a good wine to pair with all your delicious eats.
Loved the Chardonnay and red blend pictured below
Charlotte friends this is carried at the Wine Store.
I love every single Banshee wine. They are under $20, a great buy.
I love their red blend and sauvignon blanc. They do a wine club that I am really considering joining.
Would love any wine recs from you guys as well! TGIF here's to a fabulous happy hour tonight!