How to make a cheese platter

Commonly you would use three different cheeses. Try to mix it up a bit: soft cheeses and firm, mild and strong flavoured. Perhaps a goat cheese, a cheese made with cow’s milk and a firm pecorino or aged cheddar.  Plan on 1 to 2 ounces of EACH cheese per guest, if your cheese platter is the only or the main appetizer.

Offer a variety of breads and crackers to accompany the cheese. Ciabatta, baguette, bread with dried fruits and nuts baked into it, can add a lot of interest and enjoyment. Plus the carbs fill your guests up so they will eat less cheese.  Good cheese is always expensive.

 Set the cheese out a half hour before serving to bring it to room temperature. Ideally, have a separate knife for each cheese, or at least, separate knives for soft and firm cheese.

 Nuts The crunch of nuts is a great accompaniment to the creaminess of cheese. Scatter nuts around the platter, or serve them in a separate dish. Pecans go beautifully with all cheeses.  Walnuts are especially good with sheeps’ milk cheeses. Drizzle walnuts with honey to serve them with blue cheese or cambazola. Almonds are great with harder, aged cheeses such as Asiago.  For feta, fresh goat cheese and triple cream cheeses, think pistachios.

Fruit The classic cheese plate includes red and green grapes.  But consider including seasonal fruits, such as sliced peaches and apples (brushed with lemon juice to prevent browning) and figs and mango.  Also, dried  fruits are great too, because they are available all year round.

Little Kitchen Gourmet Jams and Jellies  And the icing on the…platter:  Little Kitchen Gourmet Jams and Jellies!  Try the savoury ones, for sure, but experiment with sweet varieties such as Rhubarb Nectarine Ginger.  It is a lovely accompaniment to mild and stronger cheeses. For visual interest, set the jellies out in espresso cups, with espresso spoons for serving.

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