Preparing a delicious cheese platter may just be the perfect snack or appetizer to serve at your next lunch or dinner party, or it might just be the perfect excuse to try different cheeses and new varieties that you and your family hadn’t tried before. There is a cheese for all different tastes and it is such a versatile food with a wide variety of flavours, textures, and shapes it’s almost unbelievable. But, you may be wondering, what is the best cheese plate selection? And what should I accompany my cheese with? At the Green Suites Restaurant, we’ll let you in on the secrets to a delicious and varied cheese platter that will be a sure success for any event.
Among the abundance of cheeses…
Keep in mind, cheese was not created to simply be part of a cheese platter, which means there is no “perfect selection”, but rather, one that is well thought out can become something quite tasty. First, it is important to think of your criteria for choosing your selection that you’ll then buy at the supermarket.
Regarding the number of varieties to serve, the most common is between five and eight different types on your platter, as that will offer a wide variety of tastes to experience the different flavours. Any more than that may seem a bit excessive. Although, it is also important to keep the occasion in mind and whether the platter will be served on its own, as an appetizer, or if it will be served with the meal as a part of the menu.
But, which should you choose? Almost certainly, this answer will have as many responses as people asking. Really, the selection of cheese should be aligned with the tastes of those who will be enjoying it. However, preparing a cheese platter is the ideal occasion to discover new flavours and different textures of greater or lesser intensities… overall, to experience and enjoy the many characteristics that each cheeses offers.
Key Criteria to Consider
Almost like a gastronomic game, cheese tasting should be surprising and fun, along with the nuances and combinations of pairings. The goal is to serve something that is neither boring nor repetitive. For a delicious and varied result, you’ll need to keep a few of the following criteria in mind:
- Origin: the animal of origin such as goat, sheep, cow, or if it is a blend.
- Texture: if it is hard, soft or spreadable.
- Type of rind: If it is made with mould, herbs or spices, compressed or washed.
- Maturity: If the cheese is cured, semi-cured, aged cheese or other.
- Intensity: If it is fresh, sweet, pronounced, strong or very strong.
- Area of origin: Region where it originates
A practical example of a cheese plate may include a soft cheese, followed by a softer cut like camembert or brie and then an aged cheese like Gruyere or Edam. Ideally, the plate should finish off with a cured and aromatic cheese or something strong like blue cheese.
It is important to remember that, when preparing and serving the plate, keeping your variety in the fridge might lessen the flavour and texture of your cheese, as it does with other foods. For this reason, the recommendation is to remove your cheese varieties from the fridge at least an hour before serving so that they are able to reach the perfect room temperature to enjoy.
What about the pairings?
Cheese truly has the ability to offer a gastronomic experience on its own, but if we accompany it with other foods, the cheese itself may produce new and tasty sensations depending on what it is paired with. It is worth it to try a variety of quality pairings, as the standard salty cracker may be a little redundant. Once the cheese platter has been prepared, we are able to choose different pairings:
- Bread selection: You may want to include a rustic white aromatic variety and crispy crust, a good rye and a multigrain bread with seeds or nuts.
- Marmalades and jams: If they’re homemade, the better. Feel free to include any of your favourites, but the most acidic and textured jams, such as those made with berries, raspberries, redcurrants and blackberries, or those made with bitter oranges, make for great combinations.
- Dried fruits: Dried fruits are simple to find and always make for great cheese pairings.
- Fresh Fruits: Especially grapes, blueberries or figs, although according to the season, you can play around with sweet and juicy or sour and crunchy fruits.
- Honey: In small quantities, honey gives the cheese that final sweet touch that will make the combination a delight.
The world of cheese is as wide as it is wonderful and there is so much to discover and most importantly, taste. Try putting your own cheese platter together at home and open up your palate to all the different nuances that they have to offer, you won’t regret it!