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Cheese and utensils wooden tray
How To Do a Cheese Tray

Thanks to my lucky win of a fantastic cheese basket at the Taste Alberta launch, I had not only some superb cheese to serve at my little open house in December, but the utensils to serve them with!

But here’s a caveat before I start.

I have no idea what I am doing.

Alright, now that we have that settled, on to the cheese board! I scoured the ‘net the night before my little open house soiree, trying to find pictures of something I could replicate easily and ending up finding nothing that appealed to me.

Most had fruit – something I had no interest in including- or were pre-made by Safeway types on a black tray, definitely not what I was looking for.

I wanted simple, attractive, use what I already owned and feature just beautiful cheese.

No offense to fruit, but when the cheese is $42 a kilo and very hard to come by, like the Sylvan Star Old Grizzly below, I wanted people to be able to taste the cheese itself.

This was not a dessert or after meal cheese tray.

This was taste this cheese and like it.

Christmas Ornament card holder with note of Sylvan Star Old Grizzly

I did include some water biscuits and amazing, and I do mean amazing, crackers full of nuts and berries and seeds, to add that sweet flavor that could be paired with the cheese nicely.

I also made little signs labeling the cheese, since there was no way I would remember which was what by the time I was 2-3 glasses of wine into the party.

These were simple little place card holders that I bought for my son’s Star Wars party back in November. I have actually found them to be an invaluable investment.

Christmas Ornament card holder with note in the middle of cheeses

The Sylvan Star Old Grizzly was everything it has been touted to be, a rich, creamy, sharp Gouda that has been aged a long time. If you are a fan of aged cheese, this is the one for you. I am not usually a fan, yet enjoyed this cheese far too much. So I guess I am a fan of high quality aged cheese.

Sylvan Star Old Grizzly Cheese

Beer cheese from The Cheese Factory here in Edmonton, found at 8943 82 Avenue NW, or at the Old Strathcona Farmers market on Saturdays.

It’s like crack.

Salty, stringy, dry cheese in the form of a cheese stick.

The adults cheese stick.

My favorite cheese ever.

Beer cheese in the form of a cheese stick

We didn’t even use half the fancy utensils that I won, so they aren’t a necessity at all.

What I would deem a necessity is little cards, and you can make these out of folded paper without a holder, outlining which cheese is which, presented on a cutting board so people aren’t hesitant to chop off a slice of what they want and a superior selection of cheese.

Go for quality and not quantity and you can’t lose.

And this whole post just makes me wish I had beer cheese in my fridge.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Pam Mansveld says

    This is our TGIF dinner with a crackling fire and a bottle of wine – later – drum roll – Netflix! \U0001f618

  2. Shawna M Ore says

    Omg! I see BEER CHEESE! I always have to explain to ppl what beer cheese is! I buy it by the bigger buckets full when I get to the city! Sometimes I wish The Cheese Factory could come out my way! For Deliverys. Yumm

    • Shawna M Ore says

      Yes. I don’t mind it when ppl don’t like the beer cheese I give them to try. Then I don’t have to share \U0001f604

  3. Lois Gabruck says

    Hi just wondering what the darker colored crackers are?

    • Lois Gabruck says

      Ok thanks! Where can I find them? \U0001f642

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Lois Gabruck superstore, Safeway, I think everyone carries them!

    • Lois Gabruck says

      Thanks so much Karlynn! I’ll look for them!

  4. Karlynn says

    Did you two try them at the Taste Alberta launch? That’s where I first sampled them and Mike and I were instantly addicted. They don’t last 24 hours in my fridge when I buy them.

    It’s the chewiness of them, combined with the salty burst… I would even call them a cheese jerky, to put it in perspective. Mmmmmm. I think I know where I am going Saturday morning!

  5. Kerry Powell says

    I’m with Valerie on the cheese sticks! My new favourite is Smoky Valley Goat Cheese, particularly the Valencay. Turns out vegetable ash is my thing.

    I’m glad you made good use of your big prize!


  6. A Canadian Foodie says

    SO, you like the cheese sticks, EH?
    Not me. I love piave vecchio, Bocconcini, young unpasteurized cheese and chevre.
    OK. I confess. I would probably like the cheese sticks, too!

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