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Cheese plates are supposed to be one of the simplest ways to feed a crowd at a shower or cocktail party, so why are you standing at the cheese case completely befuddled?  Here are a few of the most popular cheeses to try, as well as some tips to creating a fabulous platter.

1. Put out a variety of cheeses, but not every cheese.

Cheeses are distinct and flavorful, so choose a select few and then focus on building different taste experiences around those cheeses with roasted veggies, nuts, spreads, and condiments.

2. Most successful cheese plates are a mix.

A good cheese plate will have a cow, goat, and sheep cheese. Also, you want to have one gourmet-standout (some people love a stinky cheese), as well as one crowd-pleaser for those that want something simpler.

3.  Don't forget the extras.

Fruits, olives, and those aforementioned condiments can take basic cheese and crackers to the next level. If you are serving alcohol, pair with a red and a white (cheese is more flexible a pairing than you would think).

4. Don't get too fussy.

In general, it's better to go simple than getting fussy with flavored cheeses, herb combos, and a whole bunch of ingredients that ultimately won't go together. A bit of bread, fruit, jam, and honey is all you really need.

5. Serve it in a way that makes sense for your space.

We love a giant wooden cheese platter, but that might not work well for your space. Especially at a shower with a large guest list, it might work better for guests to congregate around several smaller platters spread throughout the room. Just make sure that what is served together goes well together.

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Here are a few classic cheeses to get you started:

Manchego

A sheep's milk cheese with a mild, nutty flavor, manchego pairs well with honey, fruit spreads (try fig or blackberry), Marcona almonds, and white wines.  It's really subtle, so it should appeal to most of your guests.

Cheddar

This cow's milk cheese comes in countless varieties, and can range from mild to very sharp. Evaluate the other cheeses on your plate before you decide just how "sharp" you should go. If you do decide to serve a sharp white cheddar, it goes splendidly with apples and IPA microbrews.

Chevre

This popular goat's cheese goes nicely with pears, mushrooms, and a super crusty slice of French bread.  Your guests will be mopping it all up off their plates with the help of a little olive oil!
Credits:  A Beautiful Mess   |   Honestly YUM