I’ve really got a thing for healthy grazing platters, especially since I’m trying to eat better while I attempt to do multiple things at once. A while back, I posted about an easy-to-make veggie platter with figs and melon, and although a vegetable-based platter is nice, this time I wanted refreshing fruit to be the base of the platter and add a little bit of cheese to round out the palate. I prefer to use the cheese as an accent, not as the main feature of the platter.
Additionally, this was my first opportunity at trying an amazing fruit, called abiu. The abiu fruit is originally from South America and it grows very well in Hawaii. It resembles a small mango on the outside, but has a creamy, custardy taste on the inside, quite unlike anything else I’ve ever had. After taking one bite of the chilled abiu’s jelly-textured flesh, I was forever hooked, and I think I might now be addicted.
My platter in the above picture included: one very, juicy orange, a Granny Smith apple, a Fuji apple, one Meyer lemon, two star fruit, 16oz of mild cheddar cheese cubes, and one abiu fruit. This fruit-based platter was thrown together with complementary fruit flavors in mind, and balanced out with cubes of mild cheddar. It keeps things interesting to have different textured fruits like dense, crisp apples and creamy abiu, and juicier ones like star fruits and oranges.
A few suggestions when making a fruit and cheese platter:
- Prep, Prep, Prep– Certain fruits like oranges, lemons and other citrus can be sliced ahead of time without compromising the integrity of the fruit. Slice a day ahead and keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Other fruits, such as bananas, should be prepared at the very end and I do not recommend cutting them ahead of time.
- Consider what type of cheese will pair well with your fruit– Do you want chunky kid-friendly cubes, or would pre-sliced cheese be easier to prepare? How about adding a creamy French brie to spread on the apple slices?
- Choose local fruits if at all possible– This is not just better for supporting the local economy, it will ensure optimal flavor as well. If fruit is picked locally, it will likely remain on the vine or tree longer, developing the natural taste of the fruit, as opposed to being picked early and shipped from somewhere else in the world.
- Try to find locally produced cheese– Many locally made cheeses come from animals that graze on the same land that grows the fruit. Our local favorite, ‘Lava Rocks Puna Goat Cheese‘, is amazing for this reason, because the volcanic soil underneath the grass which the goats graze upon, give the tangy cheese a balanced acidity. It pairs excellently with locally grown papaya, which grows in the volcanic soil as well.
- Remember– After preparing and chopping, finish up with a generous squeeze of the juice of a whole lemon all over the platter to keep the fruit from browning. It also adds another layer of vibrant flavor to the fruit and additional zing to the cheese.
You can also serve this type of platter at your next holiday party instead of a dense, weird-tasting fruitcake. It could even be a refreshing change from the usually heavy, meat, cheese and cracker type platters. A tropical themed platter goes over well at baby showers and summer solstice celebrations, and fall/winter picked fruit platters are good for family gatherings and holiday celebrations. Presentation of your platter can be as rustic as a long slab of wood, or an oversized cutting board, or more elegant like an elongated silver or crystal platter. You can tailor the taste and presentation to suit whatever theme you wish.
If you want more ideas, you can check out my Pinterest board for more inspiration!