I love dinning and entertaining at home. Nothing is more relaxing and fun than popping a bottle of wine, and enjoying simple treats with the company of family or friends. And one thing that’s always a hit with everyone is a cheese platter!
You really can’t go wrong with a cheese plate. While the idea of choosing a cheese from a large selection can seem overwhelming, I assure you it’s quite simple and fun. I’ve broken down the cheese platter technique below. The key is to include a good variety of flavors and textures.
TYPES OF CHEESES
Cheese falls into one of four categories: Soft, Semi-Soft, Semi-Hard and Hard. Below are some examples of popular cheeses I recommend and their flavor descriptions.
- Soft: Brie (buttery, creamy), Goat Cheese (fresh, light)
- Semi-Soft: Gouda (smooth & nutty), Blue Cheese (pungent & salty)
- Semi-Hard: Provolone, Manchego (earthy & robust), Gruyere (salty & sweet)
- Hard: Cheddar (sharp, complex & rich), Parmesan (nutty)
HOW MUCH TO BUY
The golden rule when buying cheese is to buy about 1-2oz of cheese per person if the cheese plate is just an appetizer or 3-4oz per person if cheese is the main focus for the night. Be sure to buy at least 3 types of different cheese no matter the size of your party to allow for a good cheese variety.
I went a little cheese crazy and ended up buying 5 different cheeses (cheddar cheese, brie, gouda, blue cheese & a blueberrie goat cheese for fun), which is too much. But we wanted to go all out and taste-test a good variety. This idea is fine, however please note that if you follow suit you’ll end up having A LOT of left over cheese if you don’t have a rather large party coming over.
When it comes to saving money, I highly recommend buying your cheese at Trader Joe’s – you can’t beat their variety selection, quality of chesse or their awesome price tag. Each cheese we bought was about $3-$5. We spent about $20 on the above cheese. Also, check your pantry and fridge for great sides to serve with your cheese. You may already have fresh fruit, nuts or olives on hand.
DON’T buy accompaniments near the cheese display. Many times grocery stores place expensive cheese accompaniments near the cheese for convenience. Unfortunately they can be twice the price. Walk over to the condiment section of the grocery store and you’ll find inexpensive olive options, ditto with crackers…etc.
Crackers are a must. You can also buy nuts (candied or salted), dried fruit (cranberries or apricots), jams (fig jam or even raspberry jam is a great inexpensive choice), Italian cuts, olives, fresh fruit (strawberries, apples, grapes). The key here is to think about the cheese you’ve selected and what would best accompany the flavor. Example: Jam with Brie cheese, nuts and gouda…etc. We chose to buy dried cranberries, raspberry jam, candied walnuts, olives, hummus and fresh strawberries for our cheeses.
Also the best thing to accompany cheese? WINE! Don’t forget a great red and white bottle. Both will be needed for the different types of cheeses. Designate your top wine-friends to bring a bottle, they won’t disappoint.
CHEESE PLATE STYLING
The great thing about a cheese plate is how effortless it is to put together once you’ve selected your cheeses. Have fun decorating your cheese plate with all the fun accompaniments. Also, don’t forget to have different cheese knife for each cheese.
Cheers! Hope this was helpful!
As always, thanks for reading! xo