Ah. The classic cheese platter. It’s been around a long time and still fills the bill whether you’re hosting a party or attending a casual get-together. Cheese plates are quick and easy to throw together, they’re perfect for nibbling on, and they pair perfectly with wine. How much better does it get?

Follow these few simple tips to create a winning cheese platter.

First, plan on two to three ounces per person and include three to four different types of cheese on the plate. Be sure to include a variety of textures and flavors: soft cheeses like brie or camembert; semi-hard cheeses like aged cheddar or smoked gouda; and hard cheeses like Manchego or Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Then provide baguette slices or plain crackers to let the flavor of the cheese take center stage. Next, add some savory and or sweet extras to round out your platter. Savory options include olives, nuts, spicy mustard, prosciutto or salami. Your sweet accompaniments might be grapes, berries, dried fruit or jam. The assortment allows your guests to mix and match as they see fit.

Have fun assembling your cheese tray and get creative! Start with a simple wooden cutting board and then bring out some small colorful bowls to hold the extras and intersperse them with the cheeses and fruits.

Here’s a fun idea: base your cheese selection on the type of milk used, such as cow, sheep or goat. Or think of a theme and only serve cheese from the U.S, Italy, or France.

To serve, take the cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour before your guests arrive so the subtle flavors warm to each other and truly shine. Offer a different knife with each cheese to preserve the distinct flavor of each.

Your guests will love it if you label your cheese offerings so they know what they’re biting into. It’s often a great conversation starter too as the group debates and discusses which cheeses they favor.

Cheese trays are so versatile, flavorful and satisfying that they never go out of style as an appetizer. But you can also go European and offer it after dinner along with a few candied nuts and dried figs. If you’ve got leftovers, they are a great solution for a quick dinner during a busy weeknight. Toss some fresh veggies on your plate and you have a nutritious, delicious, stress-free meal.

If you're thinking about having a dinner party, wedding, or other event in Las Vegas, or Henderson, Nevada, then contact Matteo's gourmet catering today!