Friday, January 28, 2011

Say Cheese!

Here are things we look for in great cheese plate. These are also great tips if youre making your own cheese plate at home:

  • A cheese plate should be diverse, but you don’t need more than a few options.
  • A cheese board should consider factors like the style of cheese, milk source, appearance and flavor profile. There are a million ways you can go about this. One suggestion: I often like when restaurants offer a blue cheese, a hard cheese and a soft cheese. Be sure to please everyone with one of your selections. It’s usually nice to include at least one cheese from each of the three major milk categories: cow, sheep and goat.
  • One thing is for sure: you must try the cheese you are going to serve. Any reputable cheese monger will be more than happy to serve you up a taste.
  • Use a wooden cutting board or a marble or slate cheese platter. These make a good cutting surface and are pleasing to the eye.
  • Allow the cheese to come to room temperature before serving your guests. Cold temperatures mute the flavors of the cheese.
  • Keep the board limited to three to five cheeses. Unless you are feeding 50 people, three cheeses is enough to enjoy. More than five and your guests may lose track of what’s what.
  • If you don’t have the time to discuss each cheese to each guest, label them. A simple white card with the cheese’s name, milk source and country of origin will do.
  • Serve cheese with water crackers, sliced baguette or any type of plain cracker. It allows the flavor of the cheeses to be in the forefront. You don’t want a garlic-and-herb cracker overshadowing your delicate triple crème brie.
  • Dried fruit, olives, chutneys, berries, nuts, honey, pears , etc. accompany cheese very well. They work as a palate cleanser between cheeses, and also taste really good with cheese. It’s a win-win.

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