How to Assemble the Perfect Cheese Plate
Ah, the cheese plate. Arguably the easiest and most popular appetizer around, it’s as simple as choosing a few different cheeses, adding some grapes, and calling it a day. Well, not so fast. The subtle nuances in the differing types of cheeses and the various fruits, compotes, crackers, and accoutrements that go with assembling a cheese board can makes things a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, armed with our below easy tips, you’ll be on your way to creating an appetizer that will knock the socks off of anyone you serve it to.
A serving size would be two to three ounces of cheese per person if served as an appetizer and four to six if it’s the main food for the evening so be sure to purchase enough to satisfy the size of your crowd.
Cheese is at its optimal flavor when served at room temperature. Set a reminder to pull your cheeses out of the refrigerator an hour or so before you plan on serving it to allow them to adjust.
When selecting the cheese to serve, a thoughtful mix is important. Be sure to include cheeses based on a variety of milks like cow, sheep, and goat. Additionally, there should be a variety of texture between soft, firm, and hard. If you aren’t sure which items fall into which category, ask your friendly cheesemonger behind the counter
Spread out your cheeses on a platter or board so there is ample space between them. You’ll fill that space with fruit, spreads, and small snacks. This placement offers a visual treat of color and texture.
When it comes to selecting the fruits, nuts, and spreads to include with your platter, generally, anything goes. When it comes to fruit, select seasonal options in a variety of textures that are easy to eat like grapes, sliced figs, apples, pears, and dates.
You’ll need a way to eat some of the softer varieties so for a textural mix, it’s nice to include hard or crispy items like black pepper water crackers, raisin crisps, and crusty baguette. Throw in some marcona almonds and olives for more crunchy options.
A chunk of honeycomb is an excellent topper to pair with nuttier cheeses. Since opposites attract, it’s also nice to serve some sweet fruit chutneys and jams as complements to salty cheeses.
Set out a different knife for each cheese—this will prevent the dreaded “cross-contamination” that will affect the taste of your differing varieties.
Purchase or make tags or labels for each cheese variety. Not only will it look chic and professional, but you won’t have to repeat yourself every few minutes while you’re busy chatting with guests.
Corral small items like almonds and olives in their own small bowls to keep things reasonably tidy and organized.
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