My idea of the perfect girls’ night is staying in and chatting over wine and cheese, so I decided to throw a little get together at my house last weekend. With so many possible pairings, putting together a great platter can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you create a tasty spread that will have something for everyone.
Anatomy of a Cheese Plate:
- Compliment the spread with something sweet (such as caramel popcorn) and something salty (such as habanero BBQ almonds). Apples, dried apricots and cured meats also make for great extras.
- Serve a variety of vehicles, such as crackers, pita chips and bite-sized bread. I bought an entertainment cracker collection, which consisted of nine different types, including hearty wheat, oyster, cream and water crackers.
When it comes to the cheese, variety is key for both the flavor and texture. To create a well-rounded assortment, there are several categories that should be included:
- Aged: Comté, Gouda, Aged Cheddar
- Firm: Provolone, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Gruyére
- Soft: Brie, Goat
- Blue: Stilton, Gorgonzola
You don’t need to shop at a fancy cheese store or spend a fortune to put together a sophisticated spread. I found these quality cheeses at our local Smith’s grocery store and Trader Joe’s. My favorite picks include:
- Brie, which is typically a crowd favorite (soft, buttery)
- Aged Vermont White Cheddar to offer something familiar (sharp, hard)
- Gouda with Truffles to add a bold flavor (semi-soft, smooth, nutty)
- Creamy Toascano Cheese Soaked in Syrah to add something unique (firm, nutty, hint of blackberry and plum flavors)