wine education

The Perfect Cheese Plate

Ever wondered how to impress with the perfect cheese plate?

When it comes to presenting a cheese plate, many entertainers stick to the rule of “one hard / one soft”. But depending on your occasion, whether it be a quick snack with drinks, to accompany antipasto or in place of dessert, we’ve pulled together some ideas to impress your guests.

Consider 100g of cheese per person

3 to 5 types of cheese make a really good board. You may want to consider more if cheese is its own course but as a general rule of thumb 100g for adults will keep guests happy.

When picking your cheese look for a good balance of flavours and consistency.

Aged cheese tend to be saltier, harder and crumblier. They are also full of flavour and a little will go a long way. Cut these cheeses into wedges, to encourage people to try them.

Consider: Cheddar, Parmigiano, Reggiano, Gruyere and Gouda.

Fresh cheeses are those that haven’t been left to age and are generally milky white, with a mild taste and soft texture. Soft fresh cheeses made from sheep or goats milk tend to have a strong flavour, when compared to cows milk.

Consider: Mozzarella, ricotta and Chevre

Most rinds (unless there are words or wax) are edible.

Soft, aged cheeses are usually creamy and the longer they are aged, the more flavoursome the centre becomes. The rinds on these cheeses are created by rubbing fungi on their surfaces which give the cheese its flavour. Cut these cheeses into half wedges so that people can see the beautiful soft inside.

Consider: Brie, Camembert.

Cheese should be served at room temperature

Allow your cheese to breathe before you serve it. And to serve it at a beautiful temperature take it from the fridge 30 – 60 minutes before you plan to serve it.

Arrange your cheese in order

Place your cheese by flavour; from mild to stronger in a clockwork order. This will keep really strong smelling cheeses from more mild ones, preventing the transfer of the odor. Leave space around each cheese so that it can be cut easily.

Each cheese should have it’s own knife

Soft cheeses need a knife with lots of holes. Hard cheeses are easiest cut with a two-prong knife and a short strong knife is best for cheeses like parmesan.

Label your cheese

Given most people will ask, this is something extra that will show your guests you care.

Fruit, charcuterie and accoutrements

Depending on the size of your board, it’s ok to consider placing accompaniments for your cheese on a side plate. This will prevent fruits from leaking juices onto the cheese, allow guests to pick and mix their own flavours and will help with the overall presentation of your plate.

Consider: seeded and herbed crackers, nut studded bread, sweet fruit, pickles, olives and marmalades.

Tip: Use what’s in the pantry and the fridge. There’s no hard and fast rules here.

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