Kinds of Cheese on an Antipasto Platter

Save

All thoughtful, well-prepared antipasto platters have one thing in common: variety. Different textures, flavors and colors give antipasti personality, and you can determine how much care a restaurant or host puts in their platters by the cheese. Three or four well-chosen cheeses offering contrasts in texture, aging and milk type are far more effective than six or seven unfocused choices. You can break down texture, aging and milk type into several subsets, notably robustness, nuttiness, mildness and suppleness, to create a balanced selection.

Antipasto platter with meats, cheeses, and breads on table.
(Robyn Mackenzie/iStock/Getty Images)

Hard, robust and granular best describe Parmigiano-Reggiano, the godfather of Italian cheese. You should make Parmigiano-Reggiano the anchor of the antipasto cheese; eaten on its own or with salumi, comfiture or vegetables, it ties all the antipasto components together. Parmigiano-Reggiano doesn't have an equal. But if you want an alternative that marries antipasto ingredients, go with Grana Padano, a grainy, nutty cow's milk variety, or a pecorino Romano made with cow's milk.

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on cutting board.
HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

Italian softs and semi-softs are typically a couple months old and have mild to moderately high tanginess; their creaminess lingers on the palate, and sets up the palate for a contrasting follow-up bite of peperoncino or other brined, piquant ingredients. Bel paese, a cow's milk variety regarded for its buttery flavor, doesn't spread easily but pairs comfortably with crisp, tart fruit. If you want something spreadable, look for paglietta piemontese, a mild cow's milk variety, or paglietta osella, its bold, tangy counterpart.

Bel paese cheese round on small plate.
tashka2000/iStock/Getty Images

The taste of cheese made from goat's and sheep's milk differs so remarkably from cow's milk -- and from each other -- that one of them deserves representation in an antipasto. Mild sheep's milk cheeses, such as crotonese and brinata, have a touch of tanginess and a flavor redolent of walnuts. Goat's cheese, known for its musky, gamey flavor and aroma, are well-represented by a hard caprino Aspromonte or caciottona capra, a firm, crumbly variety that has an earthy flavor when young and a complex, piquant flavor when aged.

Fresh goat cheese on cutting board.
vikif/iStock/Getty Images

Serve average-quality wines with antipasto cheeses. Quality cheese overpowers exquisite wine -- the formaggio is mightier than the fermentazione, as it were -- and detracts from the sensory experience of both. Average doesn't mean poor quality, but as a general guideline, don't spend more than $15 on a bottle of wine you plan on serving with cheese. When you pair wine with cheese, go with contrast. For example, pair a crisp, fruity chardonnay with a sharp Asiago, or a robust Bordeaux blend with mild bel paese.

Assortment of cheeses beside glasses of white wine.
Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision/Getty Images

References

Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Related Searches

Check It Out

13 Delicious Thanksgiving Sides That'll Make Turkey Insignificant

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!