After a cheese board she made on board an overnight flight went viral on Instagram and Tik-Tok, we decided to ask its creator, Marissa Mullen, for advice on how to make a great in-flight cheese board. After all, if she could create a masterpiece at 30,000 feet while sitting in a middle seat, she's the perfect person to help us upgrade our own flight snacks.
Brooklyn-based Marissa is an expert at making beautiful charcuterie boards, and her debut book, That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life, will shortly be released. Her website, That Cheese Plate, was founded in 2013 as a way for her to share her creations and to provide a centralized hub for cheese plate inspiration.
"Crafting an in-flight cheese plate takes a slightly different approach than the plates you'd make at home," Marissa tells Lonely Planet. "Pack all of your items in a cooler bag to ensure freshness. First, make sure you do not bring a stinky cheese on board. Stay away from cheese like camembert or taleggio. I like to use a harder cheese, like Gruyère or manchego."
"For meat, I like to pack slices of salami in a plastic bag and fold to create my "salami river" once on board," she continues. "You might think that charcuterie would smell on a plane, but it's really not bad. Next, add your produce. For flying, I like using dried fruits. You don't want any berries getting smooshed in the process. Dried figs and apricots are a great addition. Make sure you have crackers to eat alongside your creation, and if you want to be fancy for the photo, add a sprig of rosemary to garnish.
While one would imagine that creating such fabulous plates in the air might cause some curious looks, Marissa says that the first time she created an in-flight cheese plate, she had a whole row to herself. "The flight attendants had so much fun watching me build the plate and they gave me free wine," she recalls. "On my most recent flight, my seatmate was passed out with a face mask on, so he didn't even know what was happening. Most of the time, people are in their own world and don't really want to ask what's going on."
Marissa says that traveling gives her inspiration for curating her cheese plates. "Traveling is such an amazing way to experience food from different cities and cultures," she says. "My favorite country to shop for cheese has to be France or Italy."