Cheese: it’s the love language of my stomach. Paired with all sorts of flavors, I think there hasn’t been a cheese I’ve tried and not liked at least a little bit. I think putting together a cheese platter – and I’m not talking about the dried out cubed cheese plates from the grocery store deli – is one of the prettiest and easiest ways to dress up an event.
There are a few guidelines I’ve found that make it easy to assemble a great cheese platter:
- Aim for a variety of cheeses – ½ to ⅔ of the cheeses from cow’s milk and the rest from goats or sheep’s milk
- Include a hard sharp cheese, a soft creamy cheese and a pungent bleu cheese
- Cheeses should be served at room temp – remove them from the fridge about an hour before serving
- When arranging, if space permits, place the cheeses cut side out
- Include several small knives or forks to serve with
- Pair the cheeses with simple fruits: grapes, apricots, thinly sliced pears or apple, plums, figs or berries
- Dried dates, cranberries, and apricots as well as walnuts or cashews are a pleasing counterpoint to the saltiness of cheese
- Avoid citrus fruits
- Group like fruits together
- fill the remaining spaces with crackers or crusty bread
When choosing cheese, there are specific categories to pick from. The best part of a cheese tray is the variety – so including one from each category is ideal. If you’re unfamiliar with a specific type of cheese, head to your nearest cheese shop or grocery store with a dedicated cheese counter and ask to taste the cheeses you see in the case. It’s ok to ask to taste! A great cheese monger knows that there are subtle differences in each variety and can guide you to what tastes good to you and what works well together. The image above is from a fromagerie in Lyon, France I visited – it had over 1000 varieties in the cases!
Our checklist gives you a starting point and some guidance to choosing cheeses – but it is by no means the be-all-end-all authority on cheese plate cheeses.
To download the cheese plate, click here: Handmade Mood Cheese Plate
Our cheese platter includes:
- Vermont Creamery Bijou Aged Goat Cheese “Crottin”
- Santori Balsamic Cheese
- Aged Cheddar
- Vermont Creamery Three Peppercorn Fresh Goat Cheese