A good cheese plate is the perfect party accessory! Here are some suggestions for building that perfect plate:
A cheese plate should include a variety of tastes, textures, and types. Include a full range: mild to strong; soft to hard; cow, sheep, and goat. Many entertainers like to include one familiar cheese so that every guest will have something to love! Here are some delicious examples…
Aged: Aged Cheddar, Comte, Gouda
Soft: Brie, Constant Bliss, Camembert, Brillat-Savarin
Firm: Manchego, Mimolette, Farmhouse Cheddar, Gruyère
Blue: Gorgonzola Dolce, Valdeón, Stilton, Roquefort
Choose 3-5 cheeses, depending on the size of the party. Provide 1 oz of each cheese, per each guest.
Choose plain, fresh bread and crackers. Flavored breads will often overwhelm the flavors in cheese. However, breads that include olives, walnut, or dried-fruit compliment cheese extremely well! A cheese plate is paired with savory foods when it is served before dinner. Olives, nuts, and cured meats (prosciutto, salami) are all good examples of savory foods. A cheese plate that is served as a dessert course is often paired with preserves, fresh fruit (pears, figs, apples), or dried fruit (apricots, figs, prunes). Condiments and vegetables are easy additions to a cheese plate: artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, caramelized onions, tart chutneys, and honey work well. As for the wine…A fatty cheese goes best with an acidic white wine. A cheese that is higher in protein pairs best with red wine. Beer compliments cheese just as well as wine. The yeasty, fruity, and earthy flavors in beer can also be found in cheese.
The flavors in cheese come out best at room temperature. Remove your cheeses from refrigeration one hour before serving. Plate strong cheeses separately from milder cheeses. Each cheese should have its own knife. By keeping each cheese each on its own plate, you can alleviate party congestion! You may also want to pre-slice your cheese—if so, slice while the cheese is cold.
Store leftovers in parchment paper, or wax paper and plastic wrap. Blue cheeses should be wrapped in foil. Save to enjoy another time!