Pictured above is a board Elizabeth and I created with some of our favorite cheeses. We used a variety of sheep, cow and goats milk cheeses with quince, honey, figs and grapes to create a real harvest feel for our plate. We served the cheese with a crisp Chardonnay and enjoyed a great day!
A cheese plate is a great way to give your guests a nibble before Thanksgiving Dinner without killing thier appetite. There is nothing worse than putting out too many appetizers and then inviting full guests to sit down for a dinner you slaved over! Since Thanksgiving is an All-American Holiday, select cheese for your plate from a growing number of American Artisan Cheesemakers. Here are some of my favorites:
- Mt Townsend Creamery
- my pick Seastack, award winning with a real salty earthiness.
-Cow Girl Creamery
- my pick Pierce Pt a delicious cheese that is washed in a muscato wine and rolled in dried herbs.
- my pick Humboldt Fog®
, I could take a bath in it and Lamb Chopper which I love with honey.
You can visit a good cheese shop, order online from the cheesemongers above, or I highly recommend the great selections of USA cheese at Murray's Cheese.com
Tips for Creating a Great Cheese Plate:
-When preparing a cheese board, plan on serving from three to five cheeses . Aim for variety. You want to tempt the taste buds with cheeses of distinctly different styles, tastes, and textures.For a simple, but interesting cheese board, start with these three selections: one soft cheese, one firm cheese and one blue vein cheese. To expand your offerings, add a spreadable cheese like fresh chevre, or a “surprise” cheese flavored with wine, spices or herbs.
-For a more creative twist, build your cheese board around a theme. You might offer cheeses from different milks (cow, sheep, goat) or cheeses from a particular region (California or Iowa).
-As an appetizer or course, plan on serving 70g of cheese per person.
-If you’re on a budget, better to buy 2 of good quality rather than many of a lesser quality.Make your cheese board a memorable experience: avoid the common and go for artisan cheeses that are new to your guests.
-Once you have selected your cheeses, choose a tray or platter large enough to keep cheeses of different shapes and sizes from touching.
-Wood boards are my pick, they are traditional and offer a contrasting background color to make your cheeses stand out.
-When arranging your selections, be sure to display them in a manner that makes them most accessible to guests. Put smaller cheeses in the middle, and then place soft cheeses around them.
-Hard cheeses should be arranged around the outside of the cheese board to make them easier to cut.
-To make your cheese board an edible piece of art, garnish it with natural ingredients. Figs, grapes, apples, and pears all add beautiful color and flavor to your board.
-In separate dishes, offer honey, quince, jam or lightly roasted nuts.
-Include a variety of breads and crackers that aren’t too strong or salty. Slices of tangy sourdough or crackers flavored with cracked black pepper pair well with cheese.
-In general, fresh cheeses pair well with Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir, blue cheeses with Sauternes and Port, and aged cheeses with Zinfandel or Burgundy.
-Remove the wrapping from cheeses, but leave on rinds.
-Serve each cheese with its own knife to avoid mixing flavors.
-Bring cheeses to room temperature for optimal flavor – take out of the refrigerator up to two hours before serving.
By Dawn Sandomeno
The Partybluprints Blog
– The Real Girls Resource for Entertaining At Home!