The EASIEST way to Delight Your Guests

The Kitchen | August 21, 2016 | By


This is how I have hosted all summer long and it has been the EASIEST and most fulfilling method.  If you, like me, have littles underfoot and a more-than-discriminate aversion to hotdogs, this is a perfect “after bedtime” way to make your tribes-people feel especially loved without causing yourself all the undue stress and preparation of a regular summer get-together.  Let this serve as appetizer, dinner AND dessert.  

Less prep-time equals more face-time!

All you need is a bistro set, a cool night breeze and some creativity.  If you don’t feel like you have the latter, let me show you a few tricks.  It’s cheaper and easier than you think.  YOU are a culinary artist and your trusty old cutting board can be your canvas. 

You will need:

  • 1 hard cheese (like the smoked gouda pictured above)
  • 1 soft cheese (like Boursin pictured above, brie or goats cheese)
  • At least 1 bite-sized cheese (like the bocconcini balls or cubed feta pictured above)
  • 1 sliced meat (like the proscuitto and/or smoked salmon pictured above)
  • 1 hard meat (like the Italian sausage pictured above)
  • Pickles, olives, capers or peppers.
  • 2 or 3 types a fruit.  (Melon and grapes are ideal.)
  • Crackers, bread or nachos
  • Nuts
  • Wine.  
  • More wine.

Step 1: I used my solid cheeses as my focal points.  I spaced them out across my platter.

Step 2: I lined one side of each cheese with meat. 

Step 3: I had my guests fill in all the gaps with whatever contribution they brought. (Not joking.)

Step 4: I did the finishing touches.  (… I corked the wine)

Optional: You can line your platter with colourful lettuce leaves like swiss chard or raddichio.  I topped it off with a sprig of fresh Rosemary.  Or you could tuck fresh leaves of basil in any remaining crevices. Give your guests a pile of tooth picks for easiest self-service. Encourage them to try different concoctions.

YOU can do this! And quite likely on very short notice since most of these are pantry items. Try it out – tonight! And leave me a message in the comments below with some of the different selections you tried!

*Special thanks to my  food good friends over at for the photography.

This platter (and it’s affiliates) served 8… for about 5 hours.