That Cheese Plate
Credit: That Cheese Plate

For Instagram-Worthy Charcuterie Spreads This Summer, Check Out These Pro-Approved Picks

Why not make this the season of decorative cheese?
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Those of us who have gazed longingly at gorgeous, intricately-crafted charcuterie spreads on Instagram and then felt a bit lackluster when putting together our own can probably acknowledge that there really is an artform to a perfect cheese board. Sure, any outcome will be delicious, but getting your platter to look worthy of an Insta story is a bit more of a challenge. Not to mention, we all want that perfect picnic- or patio-version of charcuterie this summer, and that comes with its own setup challenges.

It's such an art, in fact, that people have made a career of teaching us charcuterie hopefuls how to do it right. Enter Marissa Mullen, a charcuterie genius who has amassed over 337,000 Instagram followers and went ahead and wrote the literal book on it. If there's anyone who knows the art of a cheese board, it's her. 

And while selecting your perfect combo of ingredients is a key step, getting good at the art of summer cheese plating also involves some tools, all the special pieces to make it a full experience (read: not a hot mess). And this summer, isn't that what your friends — and cheese boards — deserve?

So, here are Mullen's top picks for the tools that'll step up your charcuterie boards in a big way, all summer long.

Trendy cheese board picks for summer
Credit: Courtesy of Target

Oversized Carved Wood Tray

View at Target ($40)

Zeroing in on practical summer serving, it's key to start with the base. And this gorgeous, roomy wooden tray is Mullen's go-to, especially in the warm months. Since you know your cheese boards are likely to make the move to your deck, patio, or picnic blanket these days, it's a logical choice, with high edges that "make for easy transportation so the items don't move around too much."

Trendy cheese board picks for summer
Credit: Courtesy of Cheese Plate

That Cheese Knife Set

View at That Cheese Plate ($40)

"I might be biased because I designed these knives, but this is the best set for all types of cheese cutting! The flat knife is great for soft and semi-soft cheeses like Brie and blue, the fork-tipped spear can be used to slice and pick up cheese with the tip, and the spade knife is great for making rustic crumbles of cheddar or Parmigiano Reggiano." Say no more; it's the set that does it all (and looks cute styled with your tray). 

Trendy cheese board picks for summer
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Ceramic Ramekins Set

View at Amazon ($27)

Keeping it practical yet unexpectedly design-forward, this set of ramekins has a charming farmhouse look and adds pure flair to your plate. Plus, Mullen notes, "It's always helpful to have a few small bowls on hand for your dips (like jam or honey) as well as items in a brine (like olives or cornichons.) I love to use 2-ounce to 4-ounce ramekins for this purpose." Pickled elements should be a staple in summertime charcuterie, so you know these are going to come in handy.

Trendy cheese board picks for summer
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Demitasse Spoons

View at Amazon ($10)

I, too, have always touted these marvelous mini spoons as the underrated serving tool of the kitchen, and it's validating to have an expert agree. Mullen says, "With your dips, you need serving spoons! These coffee spoons can double as small utensils for both jam and honey, making it easy for your guests to craft their own pairings." And wow — she found just about the most adorable set out there, with a perfect summery design.

Trendy cheese board picks for summer
Credit: Courtesy of Etsy

Funky Vases

View at Etsy (from $26)

Taking your plate to the sunny back patio? "Every great tablescape should have flowers! I always like to match my flower arrangements to the cheese plate itself. Pick two to three colors from the plate and choose some blooms that coordinate. I love to find funky vessels for my flowers, and these Scandinavian-inspired glass vases are perfect!"

Trendy cheese board picks for summer
Credit: Courtesy of Food52

Roll-Up Picnic Blanket

View at Food52 ($110)

Picnic season is more than upon us — and combining cheese plates and picnics is suddenly sounding like the best idea in the world. Mullen notes, "I love a sturdy, waterproof picnic blanket that's easy to transport and clean." This pick checks all the boxes: cute, compact, and entirely useful for those cheesy, wine-soaked outings to the park. Stash your wood tray and other accessories so you can pull out your tools and impress your friends on the fly.