Creating a Cheese Platter
When entertaining guests, assembling a cheese platter is simple when you shop by the Artisanal CheeseClock™ pairings and following these guidelines:
Amount to Purchase
Depending on what type of party, or when the cheese will be served, will dictate how much cheese is needed per guest.
- Hors d'Oeuvres (before dinner) 4-6 oz. per person
- Hors d'Oeuvres (cocktail party) 5-6 oz. per personj
- Appetizer Course 3-4 oz. per person
- Main Course 5-6 oz. per person
- Cheese Plate 2-3 oz. per person
Select 3-6 cheeses that vary in shape, size and color for a visually interesting platter. For instance, Selles-sur-Cher, Stella Royale, Epoisses, Gruyï¿½re, and Shropshire Blue create a nice flight.
Choose cheeses from soft and runny to firm and crumbly. For example, a ripe and runny Camembert, Fontina val d'Aosta, Aged Gouda and Gorgonzola Piccante would create nice textural contrast on a cheese platter.
Select cheeses made from the three main milk types: goat, sheep and cow. Bijou, Ocooch Mountain and Berkshire Blue are some great American choices.
Select cheeses that have different flavor profiles from mild to strong.
You might choose to develop a theme around your presentation such as serving all firm mountain cheeses, all goat cheeses, or cheeses from the same region or by the same cheesemaker.
When serving several cheeses at once one wine will rarely complement all of them. I recommend a serving 2 varietals, a sauvignon blanc or pinot gris, and a medium bodied cabernet or pinot noir red wine. For more detailed information, see our information on
Accompaniments and Condiments
When you're in the mood for a more elaborate presentation, add seasonal fruits, nuts, dried fig cake, some membrillo, or perhaps a chutney. The wine gellies that we import from Italy add an elegant accent to any cheese platter or plate. Crusty Bread, fresh figs and medjool dates are simple additions that complement all cheese types. A selection of olives, roasted peppers and tomatoes are a good match for fresh goat's cheeses.
Choose Your Surface
Select a beautiful platter, rustic board, earthy marble or stone plate. Make sure there is enough surface to fit cheeses comfortably with space between them, so your guests can cut them easily. You can also mix up different size platters and surfaces for your display, one plate for each type of milk, for example. Line the platter with greens such as fig, grape or fern leaves. Serve fruit and condiments in separate trays and bowls.
Remove your cheeses from the refrigerator in time for them to come to room temperature (approximately 1 ï¿½ hours before party time) depending on the temperature of your room. Keep the cheeses wrapped until ready to serve.
Use a different knife or spoon (for the runny types!) for each cheese. Butter knives are a good choice because they don't take up a whole lot of space on your platter. Use a sharp chef's knife for semi-soft to hard cheeses. Use a thin utility knife for softer cheeses. Dip it in warm water and wipe before each cut.
Avoid cutting cheeses hours in advance because their flavors are at their peak when they are first sliced.
- Round cheeses, such as Camembert, Schaf Reblochon or Pierre Robert should be cut in half and then into small triangle wedges.
Larger firm cheeses should be cut into wedges and placed on their side to be sliced.
- Square cheeses like Pont L'Eveque, Red Lacaune and Taleggio can be cut diagonally and then into smaller triangle wedges.
- Soft, runny cheeses like Flï¿½da can be left in their box and guests can use a spoon to scoop the soft cheese onto a cocktail plate or a slice of baguette. To serve a whole soft Spanish cheese, make a circular lid by cutting off the top and serving the cheese in its own "bowl" with a spoon. Save the lid and use to cover any left over cheese.
You can also use a traditional tool such as a cheese wire.