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By Marissa Mullen

After six years of making cheese plates as a hobby-turned-side-hustle, I realized I followed the same order of operations while building any given plate. To this day, the order has never failed me! Don't let cheese plates look overwhelming. It's actually quite simple to create your own board to impress guests right at home. All you need is a cutting board, a ramekin and a short shopping list. Ready to take your appetizers to the next level and become a cheese plate pro? Keep on reading!

As the founder of the popular cheese-focused website and Instagram, That Cheese Plate, I am constantly asked to come up with "accessible" plates with simple items from your local grocery store. We got you covered. I created "That Easy Entertaining Plate" for that exact purpose. Follow our six easy steps and never look back.

STEP 1: BOARDS & RAMEKINS

First, you need something to create the cheese plate on. Household items like cutting boards and cookie trays will do the trick! I typically use an 11-by-13-inch wooden cutting board for my cheese plate, which can feed up to 15 people as an appetizer. You'll also need something to hold your more gooey items. I love using 2-ounce glass ramekins for jams and honey. Keeps the plate looking organized and sleek!

STEP 2: CHEESE

The star of the show! For this plate, I chose three types: a goat milk Brie, a sharp Gruyere and a French Brie. Everyone has their different rule of thumb for choosing cheeses, I typically go with the rule "something hard, something soft, something aged and something blue."

Since this is the "Easy Entertaining" plate, I went with extra Brie (a fan favorite). Cutting cheese is important for easy serving and grazing. On this board, I cut the Gruyere in 1/2-inch-thick slices and cut the goat Brie into 12 triangular slices. I kept the French Brie intact for the shape, and it's easy to cut in the moment. While placing cheese, I like to spread out the different textures across the board. With this plate, I put the two blocks of Brie opposite one another, and fanned out the Gruyere parallel to each.

STEP 3: MEAT

The salami river is the key to a fun cheese plate. In this plate, I replaced my usual salami with prosciutto. Any meat works. Lightly fold the prosciutto in your hand and lay on the board to create a line. It creates a river of flowing meaty goodness.

STEP 4: FRUIT

Typically, I'll put fruit and veggies on a cheese plate and separate them on either sides of the salami (or, in this case, prosciutto) river. I prefer the sweet fruit flavors to stick together in contrast to the more tangy vegetables. This is a fruit-forward plate, so I spread the sliced apples, raspberries, blackberries and pomegranate seeds evenly across the board to create a mirror effect.

STEP 5: CRUNCH

The crunch step consists of crackers, nuts, bread and other crunchy items. In this step, you can fill in the gaps you see left on the plate. We used crackers as the crunch on this plate, and filled in the gaps on the left and right side of the board.

STEP 6: JAMS

Fill in that lone ramekin with a jam or compote! We used a fig jam, which pairs beautifully with Brie and creamy cheese.

STEP 7: GARNISH

My favorite part, the garnish! For "That Easy Entertaining Plate," we used sprigs of rosemary and flowers from the grocery store. The flowers are not edible, so best to remove from the plate before serving. If you're lucky, your grocery story might sell edible flowers. Somehow I can't ever find them. In general, flowers are great for the overall tablescape and photos.

For the best cheese plate picture for the 'gram, take from directly above in indirect sunlight. We used an iPhone for this one, so you can definitely do it at home. Serve with cheese knives, extra crackers on the side and a whole lotta love.

For more inspiration follow That Cheese Plate and Cheese By Numbers! Tag us in your creations — we'd love to see what you come up with.