A well-made cheese platter is a nice way to greet family and friends at holiday gatherings, and give them something to snack on before your holiday meal is ready. Building the perfect cheese board is easier than it seems, says food blogger Claire Matern, better known as A Cheesemonger’s Daughter.

Claire’s top 5 cheese platter tips

Tip #1 – Location, location, location

Face the cheeses outward toward the guests: It looks more inviting and is easier to access with a knife than the back rind.

Tip #2 – Chill with the Cold Cheese

Place the cheeses at room temperature. Cheeses taste best when not cold from the fridge. Set cheeses on the platter at least a half-hour before serving.

Tip #3 – Cut to the Point

Have a few knives on the board. A knife for the soft cheese and a separate one for the harder ones. This reduces any gooey transfer onto the hard cheeses and mixing of the flavors.

Tip #4 – Diversify

Play with cheese texture and taste. For example, have a mix of tastes and textures from mild to strong and soft to hard. Get ahead of the new year with these hottest cheese trends for 2019!

Tip #5 – Accessorize

Introduce other flavors and textures: Using seasonal fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chutney, honey, or salamis and other dried meats as well as bread and crackers to enjoy the cheeses.

Essentially, Claire says, it’s about choosing 3 or 5 (odd numbers always look better than even) cheeses, adding some seasonal fruit, nuts, and a chutney or fruit spread if it seems appropriate, adding some bread or crackers and the all important knife for your guests to go at it all.

Making a cheese board really is simple. And it gives you time to focus on the main meal. Need some ideas? Here are 13 delicious Holiday recipes that can help take a bit of the hassle out of the holidays.