Cracker and Cheese Tray

It's your time to shine, cracker and cheese tray

No one ever accused the cracker and cheese tray of being too ambitious. No, it's usually the buffalo wings, the shrimp, or the spinach and artichoke dip aiming to steal the show in a spread of party provisions. But with the right crackers and – most importantly – the best cheese, a cracker and cheese tray can go from ho-hum to "Holy Cow!" in seconds, taking its rightful place at the center of the table.

In Wisconsin, we've always believed in the potential of the cracker and cheese tray. Of course, when you're home to the best cheese in the universe, every cracker and cheese tray becomes a work of culinary art. You won't find cubes of average American, humdrum havarti, or banal blue cheese on our cracker and cheese trays. We build our platters with only the tastiest, highest-quality, most award-winning cheese on the planet – all made by Wisconsin cheesemakers. And anything you make with Wisconsin cheese is bound to steal the spotlight.

Wander through our website to find some great cheese for a cheese board or the best cheese for charcuterie. Learn about the difference between burrata vs mozzarella, or to pick up ideas for a fruit and cheese platter. Or scroll down for quick tips on building a better cracker and cheese tray.

Building a better cracker and cheese tray

When creating a cracker and cheese tray, a variety of texture, taste, and appearance is ideal.

  1. Cheese. For cheeses, choose 4 to 6 varieties including hard or aged cheeses, semi-firm varieties, soft cheeses, and crumbly cheeses. Aged parmesan, sharp white cheddar, gouda, manchego, muenster, burrata, gorganzola, and feta are some of our favorites. You might also include a cheese dip made from melted asadero cheese, for example.
  2. Crackers and bread. Again, variety is the key. A combination of hearty crackers, crispy Spanish tortas, wafer-thin crackers, nut and dried-fruit studded biscuits, breadsticks, crostini, and slices of baguette are all great possibilities.
  3. Additional ingredients. To add additional flavor accents, you might include cured meats like salami, prosciutto, or paté. Pistachios, almonds, and candied pecans are huge favorites. Slices of pears and apples as well as dried figs and dates pair well with lots of cheeses. Honey, jams, mustards, spreads, and dips add extra flavor.
  4. Selecting a tray. A large wooden cutting board, a stone server, a marble platter, or a chalk board are all excellent options.
  5. Building the tray. It's best to build the tray where you plan to serve it, rather than trying to move it once you've created a beautiful arrangement. Start with the larger items – including chunks of cheese or dishes full of olives or dips – and arrange them around the platter. Next add the crackers and charcuterie. Then fill in the gaps with nuts, fruits, and other ingredients.
  6. Serving cheese. Each cheese should have its own knife, you may want to cut some of the harder cheeses ahead of time so guests don't have to struggle with cutting their own slices.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What is a cracker and cheese tray?

What is a cracker and cheese tray?

A cheese and cracker tray is a collection of cheeses and breads or crackers that is usually intended as an appetizer or snack for a party, dinner, or get together. Cracker and cheese trays also typically include slices of bread, charcuterie, nuts, fruit, vegetables, mustards, dips, and jams.

How much cheese and crackers should I buy?

When serving a cracker and cheese tray as an appetizer or snack, you can plan on roughly two ounces of cheese and charcuterie per person.

Can I make a cheese and cracker tray ahead of time?

It's best to arrange your cheese and cracker tray roughly 30 minutes before you plan to serve it. That gives the cheese time to come to room temperature, where it will be most flavorful.

Where the cracker and cheese tray is a way of life

In Wisconsin, the cracker and cheese tray is one of life's essentials. It's right up there with water and oxygen. Whether it's an afternoon snack, an evening appetizer, or a party centerpiece, there's pretty much always a cracker and cheese tray within reach. For us, it's the easiest way to stay in touch with Wisconsin's most famous residents – the 600 varieties, styles, and flavors of cheese made by our award-winning cheesemakers.

See, in Wisconsin, cheese is not just a product or a foodstuff – it's a way of life. Savoring the crystalline crunch of an aged cheddar or the creamy tang of a fresh mozzarella is our way of stopping to smell the roses. It reminds us daily to appreciate the world around us in all its awesome flavor and texture.

So, next time you're preparing a cracker and cheese tray, make sure you've got some of Wisconsin's finest on hand. That's when you know you're really living the cheese life to the fullest.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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