Whether served as an hors d’oeuvre before dinner or as a sweet-savory treat after the meal, a cheese plate adds an elegant touch to any occasion. Stock your refrigerator with a few “special occasion” cheeses, flavorful nuts and fresh, seasonal fruit, and you’ll have an almost instant crowd-pleasing course.
About 2 hours before serving, remove cheeses from the refrigerator, unwrap them and allow them to come to room temperature. When you’re ready to serve, arrange cheeses, fruit and nuts on a cutting board, marble slab, or 1 or more platters. Include a spreader for each soft cheese and a sharp paring knife or cheese plane for hard cheese. Offer a bread basket or board with baguette rounds, thin slices of dark bread, or crackers.