One of the most popular foods being served in events and parties are different kinds of cheeses. More than its popularity, it has also become a centerpiece for conversations. Whenever there’s a platter of cheese, the people who taste them tend to start conversations about their own favorite kinds of cheeses.
A cheese platter can be many things like a party platter, a snack, a meal, and more. Creating a cheese platter does not require any cooking, but it requires creativity, because creating a perfect cheese platter is a delicate balancing act. But you don’t have to worry because it’s not that difficult. If you’ll be hosting an event or party soon and you’d like to create the perfect cheese platter for your guests, here are some tips and guidelines that may help you.
Important Things to Consider
Before you can create your perfect cheese platter, there are some important things you should consider. First is the number of guests you will be serving. Second is the time you’re going to serve the cheese platter. Will it be before dinner or after dinner? Third is the kind of cheeses you will include in the platter. And lastly, you should know your budget. Once you figure out all of these, you’ll be able to decide the quantity and the types of cheeses you need.
If you plan to serve the cheese platter as an appetizer before dinner, you can have 1 to 2 ounces of each cheese per person. If you will serve it after dinner, each person can have one to one and a half ounce of each cheese.
Choosing Your Cheeses
Once you figured out the quantity of cheeses you need, it’s now time to decide on what kinds of cheeses you’ll be including in your cheese platter. When it comes to selecting cheeses, you should think of color, shape, and texture. There are many kinds of cheeses out there and it can be overwhelming. The technique is to choose at least 3 to 5 different cheeses and choose cheese from each type. It can be one aged cheese, one soft cheese, one firm cheese, and one blue cheese. Aside from the cheese type, you can also choose based on the milk used, whether it’s from a cow, a goat, or a sheep. It’s also important to always have a mild cheese or one familiar cheese in your selection for some of your guests who are not that adventurous.
Some of the best cheeses we can suggest for your cheese platter are fresh goat cheese, coupole, parmesan, blue cheese, honey comb, and fontina. But aside from these, there are still a lot to choose from, so your choices will be based on your taste and preference.
Once you’ve chosen the types of cheese you’ll be including in your cheese platter, you should now decide about your cheese pairings. Your cheese accompaniments should complement the flavor of the cheese and not compete with it. Here are some of the cheese pairings you might want to try.
- Breads: Some of the breads that can go well with cheese are sliced baguette, bread sticks, and crackers. Choose breads and crackers with different shapes and sizes because it’s great if there are varieties of taste and texture on your cheese platter.
- Jarred Condiments and Vegetables: You can also pair your cheeses with some sweet preserves and honey, spicy mustards and tart chutneys. Then add some roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts on the side. Caramelized onions also complement most cheese plates, however, it may take some time to prepare.
- Sweet and Salty Foods: You can also try cured meats like salami and prosciutto as cheese pairings. Candied nuts, pistachio, assorted and seasonal dried fruits like cherries, apples, and pears will work great, too.
- Wine: Wine can also be a perfect accompaniment for cheeses. It’s because cheese can bring out the best in a wine. When you taste cheese and then wine, you will have the best taste experience. For tangy cheeses like goat cheese, fresh wines are the best. Strong and hard cheeses on the other hand go well with a glass of port.
Setting Up and Serving Your Cheese Platter
When all your cheeses and cheese accompaniments are ready, it’s time to set up and serve your cheese platter. If your cheeses are refrigerated, remember to remove them in the fridge 30 minutes before serving. This will help bring out the full flavor of the cheese.
In setting up or arranging a cheese platter, creativity is the key. You can use different plates or surfaces such as a wooden cutting board, rustic tiles, or a dark dish which contrast the bright colors of the cheeses. Also, it’s important to arrange the cheeses from mild to strong. Here are other guidelines to remember for you to create and serve the perfect cheese platter.
- Separate Strong Smelling Cheeses: If you’re serving a strong smelling cheese, it’s better to place it on a separate plate or surface. It’s because placing it with other cheeses can overpower those delicate ones.
- Cheese Cuts: You can pre-cut the cheeses when you place them on the platter. This will help your guests to easily get them. You can cut yellow cheeses and hard ones into triangles, bricks, or sticks. The brie ones can be cut into wedges, while blue molds can be cut into squares or wedges. Blue cheese can be difficult to cut, so the secret is by heating the knife first before cutting.
- Put a Separate Knife for Each Cheese: Cheeses have different tastes and texture therefore, it’s important to have a separate knife for each. You wouldn’t want your cheeses to be mixing their flavors with one another. For soft varieties of cheese, you can set out a butter knife. For firm cheeses, you can set out a paring knife. And for aged cheeses, a cheese plane would work best.
- Label Each Kind of Cheese: This will help your guests know what kind of cheeses you are serving. Aside from the name of each cheese, you can also include descriptions of their flavors. This will also help you as you won’t need to recite the names of the cheeses all throughout the event or party.
Aside from choosing delicious cheeses, having a well-arranged cheese platter will make it look more enticing for your guests. We hope these tips and guidelines will be able to help you create the perfect cheese platter.