I vividly remember my first attempt at a cheese plate. I knew cheese. I liked cheese. But apart from being well versed in the world of cheddar, I was stumped. With so many options, the idea felt overwhelming at best. Which is why we’ve teamed up with Macy’s, who is helping us all by providing real Registry to Reality ideas. And with this, your next small gathering will be picture perfect!
•Keep cheeses at room temperature for at least an hour before serving. This will keep them ready for smooth slicing and spreading, and let the flavors strengthen.
•When choosing accompaniments, opposites attract! Pair a hard cheese with something soft like a baguette, or a soft creamy cheese with a crisp cracker. A salty cheese pairs perfectly with a sweet jam, and dry cheese does well with juicy fruit like grapes.
•Serve at least one familiar cheese! Not everyone’s palate will be adventurous so make sure to have a great old standby for them to enjoy.
•Keep the super pungent cheeses on a plate by themselves, with a little distance from the others so they don’t overpower the milder cheeses.
•Set out a separate knife for each cheese so guests don’t have to worry about flavor-mixing.
•Label each cheese. It’s so much nicer than reciting the names all evening, and a little note about the type of milk and pasteurization can be a time-saver for guests with allergies.
•Plan for about 4 oz of cheese per person, more if cheese will be the only food served.
•Display everything on a beautiful cutting board, or cheese board! This is at the top of our list.
There are several ways to select your cheese, and we’ve broken down a few of our favorites:
•Go for a variety of taste and texture. Use this as a rule of thumb: Something old (like aged Cheddar or Parmesan), something new (think soft & young, like chevre or brie), something firm (like Manchego or Mimolette), and something blue (like Stilton or Gorgonzola dolce).
•Pick a theme based on region (a selection of Spanish cheeses, or local cheeses) or milk type (a selection of Goat’s milk cheese), then go for a variety of textures.
•Don’t be afraid to ask! The people behind the counter at a specialty cheese shop or the cheese department in a grocer like Whole Foods have tried everything and are there to help you pull together a fantastic plate based on your tastes. Also, most places will gladly offer you a taste test of each – making the whole experience significantly more fun.
•Lastly, if you ever find yourself at a party and taste test a cheese you love, ask the host what it’s called. Write it in a note in your phone. Over time, you’ll start to compile a list of cheeses that really suit your tastes, and everything becomes a whole lot easier.
The more, the merrier! Don’t feel like you need to have just one or the other, but here are a few of our go-to’s:
Olive oil tortas
Display them on a pretty surface (like these!) for bonus points
Sweet accents help offset the stronger, more pungent cheeses. New to blue cheese? Top it with something sweet to ease your way into deliciousness. A few of our favorites:
Fruit chutneys or preserves
Fresh pears, apples, grapes, or figs
Dried apricots or dates
Honey- strong blue cheeses or fresh goat cheese
Quince paste- salty or blue cheeses, especially Spanish cheeses like Manchego or Mahón
Aged balsamic (drizzle on hard, aged cheeses)
Tomato chutney- pairs well with sharp cheddar
Prosciutto, sopressatta, or salami
These wooden bowls act as the perfect spot to display your delicious accents. Plus? The wood will help retain all those fabulous flavours.
We fully subscribe to the notion that “you eat with your eyes” – and it’s especially true with a cheese plate. And when it comes to presentation, we like to keep a handful of gems on hand for ease (have a registry? Make sure you include em’!)
Wooden bowls, to help corral your sweet & savory accents
White ceramic ramekins are perfect for your spreads, honeys and dips
Bamboo cutting boards act as the perfect backdrop to your beautiful spread
A board & cheese knife set (we love this and this!) goes a really long way!
And because not only is it helpful to let your guests know what they’re digging into, DIY cheese flags help add that extra special touch. Plus, it plain ol’ looks adorable. Here’s how we usually create our cheese flags. Super easy, super quick and super impactful…
Write the brand and cheese name on the large flags in gold pen. Write the milk type on the small flags. Alternate with caps, cursive, and regular fonts to highlight the different areas of information.
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask! Whether it’s us, your best friend or your local cheese shop, the only way you’ll master your own version of the perfect cheese plate is by trial and error. So don’t be afraid, you’ll be a cheese master in no time flat! For more registry to reality inspiration, head on over here! And don’t forget to check out our Pinterest board – it’s chock full of the loveliest things you ever did see.
Macy’s Products We Used: Dansk Wood Salad Bowl | Martha Stewart Collection Bamboo Cutting Boards | Wusthof Gourmet Cheese & Wine Set | Dansk “Wood Classics” Vivianna Cheese Cutting Board and Knife | Lenox Tuscany Classics Wine Glasses | Photography: Keith Morrison