I love cheese — the blue ones, the soft ones, the stinky ones. But how to create a cheese plate that’s a real crowd-pleaser?
It’s easier than you think. Here are my recommendations for an impressive presentation mixing five basic types of cheeses:
Something Old. Include a super-aged cheese, which tend to be sharp and nutty. Some of my favorites are Asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano & aged Gouda.
Something New. Soft, creamy, and mild cheeses are generally newer, and need to be eaten 2-3 days after purchase. Good examples are fresh Chevre, Camembert and Brie.
Something Firm. Many semi-firm cheeses have a subtle but rich flavor. Try Fontina, Manchego and cheddar.
Something Stinky. Good pungent cheeses offer a punch. Try some Taleggio or Livarot.
Something Blue. Blue cheeses are intense. Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton are all good choices.
Don’t let the cheese stand alone. Here are some ideal accompaniments to set out with your cheeses:
Breads cut into cubes
Dried sausages or sliced cured meat (such as prosciutto or capicola)
Fresh fruit (grapes, apples, pears and/or figs are classic choices)
Dried fruit (apricots, nectarines or peaches will complement the cheeses well)
The Plate. An actual cheese plate is easy to make out of a piece of slate. Pick one up at any home improvement or tile store. Wash it well and let it air-dry. (Cure it with olive oil if you want a dark, rich finish.) I suggest lining the back with a piece of felt so the slate doesn’t scratch your table. Label your cheeses for guests to easily identify the type.