Saturday, June 9, 2007

Suggestions on Serving Cheese

Here are some suggestions that can make serving cheese a more enjoyable experience:

1. Serve a cheese plate to your guests. Instead of placing a few large wedges of cheese on a platter that everyone must hack away at, provide your guests with pre-cut servings of cheese on plates of their own. Although the French traditionally serve a cheese plate at the end of a meal, I think it works much better as an appetizer course.

2. Select cheeses with contrasting flavors. One kind of contrast can be effected by serving cheeses made from the milk of different animals--e.g., sheep, goats and cows. You might also consider some combination of the following: (i) one blue cheese, (ii) one hard, dry cheese (e.g., Parmigiano-Reggiano), (iii) one flavored cheese (i.e., a cheese to which something like fruit, herbs or beer has been added) and/or (iv) one soft-ripened cheese (i.e., a mushy cheese with a fuzzy, white rind like Camembert or Brie). Arrange the cheeses from mildest to strongest and instruct your guests to enjoy them in this order.

3. Offer a selection of fruit and nuts on your cheese plate. You can include fresh fruit (e.g., pears, apples, honeydew melons, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries), dried fruit (e.g., dates, figs, cranberries, cherries, raisins, prunes), and/or toasted nuts (e.g., black walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pecans). The Lexington Co-Op has an interesting selection of dried fruit. I especially enjoy their dried figs on a cheese plate.

4. Other items. Olives, roasted sweet red peppers, and paperthin slices of prosciutto can also go well on a cheese plate. Serve your cheese with warm, fresh bread instead of crackers.

No comments: