The cheese platter. It’s one of nature’s essential crowd pleasers. Here’s a classic spread that’s sure to be a hit at your next party, get-together or Friday night dinner substitution.
Step 1: Select the cheeses
When choosing your cheeses, think contrasting textures and flavors, from soft to firm, and sweet to pungent.
- Firm: Cheddar, Manchego, Gruyere, Mimolette, Fontina, Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Semi-Soft: Constant Bliss, Morbier, Taleggio, Vacherin, Reblochon
- Double- or Triple-Cream: Saint-Andre, Camembert, Brie, Brillant-Savarin
- Blue-Veined: Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Bleu de Bresse
- Goats and Sheep’s Milk: Brebis Pyrenees, Humboldt Fog
If you need inspiration, here’s a sampling of some of our favorite:
- Mitica Pecorina Toscano Stagionato (dense, firm sheep’s milk)
- Salvatore Bklyn Smoked Whole Milk Ricotta
- Saint-Andre Triple Creme Cow’s Milk
- Isigny Ste. Mere Brie
- Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue
- Tartufo Truffle Gouda
- Vermont Creamery Bijou (ripened goat)
Step 2: Pick the right amount of cheese
In general, 3 ounces of cheese per person is a good rule of thumb. If you’re throwing a party where cheese plays the starring role, plan on about 3 pounds for 8 people.
Step 3: Add your pairings/condiments
As with your cheeses, a range of textures and flavors in you accompanying nibbles is key. Try a mix of smattering of these:
- Bread: Fresh baguette slices, crostinis, classic water crackers, Parmesan straws
- Jams and spreads: Sweet fig, tart cherry or chutney, honey
- Mustards: Brown spicy, honey, horseradish
- Olives: Kalamata, green, blue cheese stuffed
- Nuts: Marcona almonds, candiend walnuts, pistachios
- Veggies: Cornichons, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, caponata
- Fruit: Slices of tart apple or sweet pears, dried apricots or cranberries, fresh figs
- Charcuterie: Prosciutto, hard salami, pate
Step 4: Pick your board
An attractive serving board is just as important as what’s on it. Choose a rustic butcher board, wooden cutting board or slab of natural stone to make a statement.
Step 5: Serve and say cheese
Give your cheeses time to site at room temperature for approximately 45 minutes before serving to bring out their natural flavors and aromas. Make sure to set out a separate knife for each cheese, and, if you have time, add labels so your guests know what’s what. Eat and enjoy!