Cheese plates are like an edible artist's palette. Contrasting colors, textures and flavors allow you to create an edible work of art. Making a cheese plate isn't super complicated, either. Once you know a few basic ground rules, you can take a cheese plate in any direction that you want.

As a college student who's not able to afford high-end, expensive cheeses, I decided to see if I could still create an awesome cheese plate using only ingredients from my local Walmart

I've laid out all of my discoveries below, and guess what? You absolutely CAN make a gourmet cheese plate from Walmart. Better yet, the components that I found were all under $5. #BallinOnABudget

Head on Down to Walmart

tea, beer
Megan Mueller

Go to the deli section of the store. This is where a lot of cheese varieties are located. The cheese section, on the other hand, has mostly blocks of cheddar and bags of shredded cheese. These are great, just not the best for a cheese plate.

ice, tea, beer
Megan Mueller

The key to creating the perfect cheese plate is selecting a variety. Trying out different milk types other than cow, such as goat and sheep's milk, can add lots of flavor to your display. Walmart sells mostly cow's milk cheeses, but they also have chevre (goat's milk cheese) and Manchego (sheep's milk cheese). Props to you, Walmart! I went with an Irish cheddar, fresh mozzarella, brie and an English hard cheese with cranberry bits.

Grab Your Accompaniments

tea, spam, beer
Megan Mueller

Your cheese is obviously going to be the star of the show, but having some good supporting actors is going to make your plate a blockbuster hit. The most obvious addition that comes to mind is crackers. You'll want to select the most flavor neutral crackers you can get so they don't compete with the flavor of the cheese (or the other components, such as fruit or charcuterie).

The cracker is more of canvas and is simply used as a serving vessel in most cases. So, skip the flavored Wheat Thins and Triscuits, and instead opt for water crackers — they go with almost any cheese. Walmart also had small tostinis (which work well for creamy cheeses) so I bought some of those, as well.

coffee, beer
Megan Mueller

Next, you should look to add some other ingredients to go with the cheese and crackers. The tartness of apples and grapes will complement the richness of the cheese. Nuts are great, too! Salted almonds go well with Manchego or other hard and sweet cheeses. If you want to add some meat into the equation (which I think is always a good idea), Walmart has a great selection of charcuterie. Grab some salami or prosciutto to go along with your other ingredients, and prepare to put some magic in your mouth

Finally, put all the ingredients together. Grab a plate or wooden cutting board, spread those crackers out and arrange your cheeses. You can have your cheese pre-cut or leave a knife out for self-serving. Add whatever other fruit, meat or nuts to your plate and you'll have an instant crowd-pleasing, gourmet cheese plate.

#SpoonTip: Consider putting the nuts in a small bowl to separate them from the other ingredients and make your tray more allergy friendly. 

brie, platter, bread, cheese
Megan Mueller

There is no wrong way to make a cheese plate, which makes it super fun and allows for lots of creativity. The next time you are looking to treat yourself or elevate your next wine night, try making a Walmart cheese plate.