How to make the perfect cheese platter

Hannah Meppem's perfect cheese platter.
Hannah Meppem's perfect cheese platter. Photo: William Meppem

"Summer platters mean lighter style cheeses: think goat's cheeses, local or French Pyrenees soft cheeses. Pair them with white wines, such as a crisp chenin blanc or a chablis and stone fruits. There's nothing like some barbecued, roasted peaches, a little bit of honey and some Holy Goat, for example." – Anthony Femia, Maker & Monger, Melbourne.

"When choosing whole wheels of soft ripened cheeses like brie or camembert, test it like you would an avocado, if it feels slightly soft, it's probably going to be ripe and oozy when you serve it. If it's hard, it probably needs a little longer to mature." – Karen Martini, chef and Dairy Australia ambassador.

"Add a bunch of frozen grapes to the board for a refreshing burst of flavour." – Karen Martini, chef and Dairy Australia ambassador.

"Make sure you provide a knife for each cheese so that you don't get bits of your blue cheese mixed in with your subtle goat's cheese." – Nick Haddow, author Milk Made.

"Serve a range of flavour accompaniments, such as fruits, jams and pastes to allow your cheeses to take on new and interesting flavour profiles." – Brittany Bertschinger, the Vegan Dairy.

"Less is more. Especially when I have a large group of people I often do just two quite big pieces of cheese. Cut into the cheese before people get there because people don't want to be the first ones to touch the cheeseboard. And I also add some rosemary to take away the smell." – Olivia Sutton, Harper and Blohm, Melbourne.

"Make sure your cheese is served at room temperature. A good trick is to place a clean, damp tea towel over the cheese (re-wet if it dries out) and you can do that for three to six hours." – Will Studd, presenter Cheese Slices.

"Pick one cheese and make it a centrepiece. For example, a Locheilan Farmhouse triple cream ring piled with cherries and a glass of champagne at Christmas is stunning." – Sonia Cousins, cheese educator and judge.

Styling tips from Good Food's resident food stylist, Hannah Meppem

"Wooden chopping boards, if they've been used before, can taint or flavour. Something like marble, ceramic or a hard surface would be best. It looks nice and ensures you get the pure taste of the cheese."

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"It is very hard to present fruit pastes. I cut them into little strips and lay them down so people don't have to hack into the whole jelly; they can just get a little portion."

"Some seasonal fresh fruit is a lovely addition – figs, pears, cherries – and adds a bit of freshness to the rich cheese. Berries belong on desserts and breakfast bowls, not on a cheese plate."

"A rectangle conforms really well to the shape of the [sliced] cheese. If you've got a round table, having a big old round board in the middle works. I would tend to have two smaller boards so that people can pass them around, rather than some big massive thing."

"Bowls: only if it's something that needs containing such as olives, marinated feta, or anything that might drip or make a mess on your nice board. Otherwise it's easier if it's all on the flat surface."