If you want to be the host with the most, you can’t beat a ripper of a cheese plate. Make sure there’s a little something for everyone… and plenty of it! You can practically feel a ripple of excitement run through the crowd whenever these bad boys come out. Make sure you get it right with these handy tips.
Let it rest
No point spending a fortune on amazing cheese if you’re going to serve it straight from the fridge! Set a reminder on your phone to take the cheese out at least an hour before serving, so it can come to room temp before being devoured. If you pop a damp tea towel over the top for a few hours, it will minimise the risk of the cheese drying out.
The knives are out
Don’t skimp on cheese knives. You don’t want to risk all the cheeses tasting the same because everyone is using the same utensil to cut each cheese. Use a different knife for every cheese on the plate.
Mix it up
There are no rules around what cheeses to serve, but you can’t go wrong with a good mix of textures. Go for something soft (Brie or Camembert), something slightly harder (Swiss, Gouda), and something hard (Parmesan, Aged Cheddar). You can always throw in a blue for good measure.
Ditch the bikkies
Forget your Jatz, Ritz, Captain’s Table and Savoys. As much as we love them, a bikky changes the texture of the cheese and takes away from the experience. Switch it up and go for a fresh French stick instead.
Alongside your bread, make sure you stock up on seasonal stone fruits and nuts. You can’t go wrong with fresh cherries, dried apricots and figs and a range of nuts such as pecans and walnuts. Forget the sugary quince paste, which will mask the flavour of the cheese, and try a slice of traditional Italian panforte instead.
Quality not quantity
Don’t try and cram your platter with a bunch of basic cheeses. Go all out, and buy three or four really memorable ones instead. Or, take it a step further and just stick with one show-stopping piece, like a whole wheel of triple creme brie. Oh, and if you’re serving the cheese plate on a stinking hot day try to avoid the really stinky cheeses. A washed rind cheese tastes great, but you’ll have your guests holding their nose and the blowflies swarming in no time!
Here are some of the best wines to pair with popular cheeses:
- Camembert and Champagne
- Merlot and Gouda
- Chardonnay and Brie
- Riesling and blue cheese
- Sauvignon Blanc and mozzarella
- Cab Sav and Parmesan
- Port and Gorgonzola
Feature image: Jelly Toast Blog