i love cheese. i love a good cheese plate. sometimes i tend to go way overboard with cheese and cheese plates and sides and relishes and etc. it’s very very easy to get carried away when building a cheese plate. usually because everything looks so good and i can’t decide what direction to go with it.
i found the best way to put together the plate is start with a beverage. this plate was put together this weekend as a pre dinner snack for when joe’s family came over to celebrate his parents birthday. i selected two different types of beverages. i went with a limoncello punch (champagne, lemon, vodka) and a zinfandel that was bourbon barrel aged. so two completely opposite types of drink. since there was going to be 8 adults it was enough for us all to have a taste and a small snack.
anyway back to the beverage. it is a good starting point because then you can go to your local cheese shop or if you are lucky an actual cheese monger and give them the beverages and have them help you with the pairing. i went to the downtown market and hit up appertivo where i sampled a few things before deciding on a cheese for each beverage and a “neutral meat” if you will.
you really only want to stick to about 3 to 5 cheese because let’s be honest you really don’t need anyone passing out from a cheese coma or overwhelming your tastebuds. find about three different textures and varieties (sheep, goat, cow etc) and call it a day. i knew that we had a big dinner ahead so i went a little on the lighter side.
for the love of brie please make sure you slice your cheese before setting it on the plate. it’s so hard when you have a crowd of people around to be waiting (patiently) for the dude in front of you to cut a slice. (notice i did not say “cut the cheese”) (until just now). make sure everything is easily accessible and can keep the line moving and people enjoying their snack and beverage.
finally a little something something for people that can’t inhale cheese like yourself. some people prefer a cheese mover that takes it from the plate down their gullet and into their stomach. a simple cracker or sliced bread will do just fine. try to avoid flavored crackers when serving a variety of cheese because it doesn’t really go with everything. UNLESS it’s the black pepper triskets. those things are fricken magical. a lot of times “artisan crackers” can be big dollar hollar so grab a baguette, slice er up and toast it. call it a day. i picked up this loaf from field and fire (also in the downtown market) and it went perfectly with the cheese and meat.
i hope this is a good starting point for you! of course you can make your own rules as you go but always know there isn’t really anybody who doesn’t love a good cheese plate…at least not any that i know…. 🙂