How much cheese do you need?
About five different cheeses is ideal for any size gathering. Just remember that you need an ounce of each cheese for every guest. So for eight people, you’re looking at 2½ pounds of cheese. Store the cheese in the refrigerator, wrapped in wax paper, then covered in plastic wrap, to lock in moisture.
How do you plate it?
Take the cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour before guests arrive to let it reach room temperature. Just before serving, unwrap the cheeses and place them on a slate board or a wooden cutting board clockwise from mildest to strongest. Encourage guests to sample the cheeses in this order so they don’t overwhelm their palates from the get-go. Leave about an inch of space between the cheeses and include a knife for each. (You can supplement with butter knives.) I prefer to see big blocks rather than slices, but you can carve a few pieces of each. Finally, write the names of the cheeses in chalk on the board or create toothpick signs to identify them. (See more tips for setting up your cheese board.)
What type of wine do you serve?
Unless you’re having a wine-and-cheese party, it’s fine to serve just two: a white (like Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling) to go with the milder cheeses and a red (like Pinot Noir) for the more intense cheeses. If you’re serving blue cheese, make the white wine sparkling and sweet (Moscato is a good choice).