Meat and Cheese Trays

The power of meat and cheese trays

Meat and cheese trays have an undeniable power. When you set a meat and cheese tray down on the table, heads will turn. Conversation will stop momentarily. Guests will calculate the shortest distance to the table – and how quickly they can reach the glorious goodness without seeming rude. Yes, when you have a meat and cheese tray in your hands, you truly hold all the cards.

In Wisconsin, we've always understood the allure of meat and cheese trays – because we know the true power of Wisconsin Cheese. We understand the lengths people will go to when it comes to laying their hands on a chunk of Wisconsin cheddar or getting a bite of Wisconsin blue. That's simply what happens when you make the tastiest, highest quality, most award-winning cheese in the universe.

Take a look at our website to see the power of Wisconsin Cheese for yourself and to find the next great cheese for your cheese board or cracker and cheese tray. Search our recipes for all the dishes you can make with Wisconsin Cheese, or read on for our tips on building meat and cheese trays with the best of them.

Building masterful meat and cheese trays

Here are our favorite tips for building mighty fine meat and cheese trays.

Buy enough meat and cheese. Plan on 2 ounces of cheese and 2 ounces of meat per person if your meat and cheese tray is meant as an appetizer, or 5 ounces of each if your spread is meant to serve as an entire meal.

Choose a beautiful surface. For the tray, consider a beautiful wooden cutting board or marble slab. A slate or chalkboard can also work nicely, and you can write the names of each cheese in chalk, so your guests know what they are eating.

Sculpt your spread. To give your meat and cheese tray some shape, start with a vertical shape in the middle – a tall glass full of nuts or breadsticks – and then arrange everything else around it.

Set out the cheese first. Cheese is best served at room temperature, so start your meat and cheese tray by setting out the cheese first. The best cheeses for a charcuterie board include hard cheeses like parmesan and aged gouda, firm cheeses like a sharp white cheddar, semi-soft cheeses like havarti, and a soft cheese like feta or mascarpone. You can also include a washed-rind cheese like brick or limburger, and a blue-veined cheese like gorgonzola or cheddar blue.

Bring on the meat. Next to your cheeses, add whole-muscle cuts like prosciutto, cured sausages like salami, and forcemeats like pat├ęs and mousses.

Fill in the spaces. In between the meats and cheeses, add nuts, dried fruits, olives, pickles, roasted vegetables, bread and crackers, along with small bowls of mustard, dips, jams, and honey.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What are meat and cheese trays?

What are meat and cheese trays?

Meat and cheese trays are a spread of cured meats, a variety of cheeses, and a sample of nuts, fruits, vegetables, dips, mustards, and breads.

How much meat and cheese should I buy?

If your meat and cheese tray is served before a main meal, you can plan on 2 ounces of meat and 2 ounces of cheese per person. If your meat and cheese spread is the actual meal, 5 ounces of meat and 5 ounces of cheese should do it.

Wisconsin: where meat and cheese trays achieve greatness

Every meat and cheese tray knows the score. No matter how tasty the meat is or how creatively it's assembled, a charcuterie tray is only as good as its cheese. That's why all the great ones come from Wisconsin.

Wisconsin cheesemakers have been obsessively making the world's finest cheese since before we were even a state. Today, our 1,200 cheesemakers are the most award-winning bunch on earth, having racked up more than 5,552 awards at national and world championships. And they make more cheese than anywhere else on the planet – more than 600+ styles, flavors, and varieties.

So, when it comes to building great meat and cheese trays, you have to start with Wisconsin Cheese. That's when you know you're giving your tray the best chance to achieve greatness.

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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