A few weeks ago, I transformed my living room into a (literally) cheesy holiday wonderland for a shoot with Rue Magazine + Shutterfly. We were highlighting some of Shutterfly's custom gift options, like cutting boards and glassware, but I wanted to keep it as close to my real life as possible. So instead of a fake dinner party or something super fancy, I did exactly what I'd do if I was actually having friends over: cheese plates, wine, and garlands instead of flower arrangements. (And then, I actually did have friends over.) Here are a few snaps from the ever-talented Monica Wang:
I have made some pretty measly cheese plates in my day. We're talking like, Ritz and sandwich meats. Not great. With each one I make -- and each pretty one I see online -- I realize a few new tips and tricks:
1. MORE IS MORE. When crafting up a perfect cheese plate (you know, one you can Instagram the heck out of), never forget that more is more. To achieve this look, without it just being a block of blue cheese, I cut and crumble the cheeses into smaller, bite-size pieces. Dice cheddar into cubes, break parmesano-reggiano into chunks, and for something like stilton, just slice the ends so there's texture there. (The only exception for me is something quite creamy, or pre-sliced manchego.) Then fill in the gaps with fruit, nuts, and meat! You want to aim for every inch of the board or plate to be covered. (Unless, of course, there's a cute monogram in the middle.)
2. TASTE THE RAINBOW: To keep it from falling flat, try to add a lot of vibrant colors. Go for dark and inky grapes, bright candied oranges, blueberries, and a few different colors of nuts. Try not to place similarly colored items next to each other.
3. BREAD. ALWAYS BREAD: Though not pictured, we consumed two very large French baguettes with this spread. Some people, like me, insist on having a 1:1 carb to cheese ratio. Never, ever put out a cheese place without bread. Unless I'm not there, then I guess do what you want.
Also, you may ask yourself why I choose to do garlands instead of traditional flowers. WELL, long story short, because I just think it looks much more fancy than it is. It's actually the opposite of fancy. It's literally just setting the flowers and greenery down on the table and walking away. But I find it to feel really elegant and unique. A garland makes your event makes it feel much more special, whereas a traditional flower arrangement might be mistaken for something you already had in the house.
That's all I've got for you today, but to see more of this event + snag information on where to buy those cute wine totes, head to Rue Daily. And to help my cheese plates become EVEN BETTER next time, leave a comment below with your favorite cheese/presentation suggestion/party idea.