When I plan appetizers for the holidays I always include a holiday cheese platter.
I never really thought about how cheese should be plated and served. Cut some cheese in cubes, poke in a few toothpicks and it’s ready.
That’s easy enough, but when planning a holiday menu it’s worth the time and effort to make it special. Cheese needs to be the star and each style of cheese has a special place on the plate.
Sounds odd but here’s the scoop for preparing a specialty cheese platter.
Cheeses come in many different styles, i.e., soft, semi-soft or hard with flavors that vary from mild to pungent. They are also made from cow’s milk, sheep’s milk and goat milk.
You will need about 2 ounces of cheese per person so keep this in mind when shopping. You will want to have enough and yet you don’t want to over-buy.
To prepare the platter the cheese should be placed clockwise from the mildest to the strongest with a serving knife placed next to each cheese selection.
You can prepare this in advance and keep it refrigerated. Remove the plate about 30 minutes before serving to bring the cheese to room temperature.
To accompany the cheese serve small rounds of artisanal bread, olives, honey and fruit preserves. Also serve with fresh sliced apples, pears and figs.
The wines to serve with cheese is varied. For milder, less sharp Gouda and Cheddar and soft Brie and Camembert serve a Chardonnay from a cooler climate, Cabernet Sauvignon or a sparkling wine such as a Spanish Cava.
For an assorted goat cheese platter choose a wine that can match the tanginess of the goat cheese. Try an Albarino from Spain; a Malbec; or choose a dry spicy rose.