If there is one thing that I always have at every gathering it’s a delicious, rich, cheese platter. I am not talking about the mixed cheese cubes you buy at the grocery, heavens no! For a couple of bucks more I like to wow my guests with a variety of cheeses that are gone before we get to the appetizers.
What types of cheese do I serve? Here is the low down on the types, costs and the reasons I think you should serve a cheese platter too.
Goat Cheese: This is a simple cheese that has a rich and tangy taste with a smooth crumbly texture. It pairs well with crackers and preserves. My favorite way to pair goat cheese is with raspberry preserves. You’ll find it wrapped in a 4-8oz log and it is very affordable. Look for a pristine white color when buying your goat cheese.
Cheddar Cheese: You won’t find soft mild cheddar meant for sandwiches on my platter. Cheddar is everyone’s favorite cheese, so why not move on up to something fancier? A nice aged cheddar will bring plenty of flavor to your platter. I also like an English-style cheddar but if you don’t find it you can get the Vermont aged. Cheddar goes great with apple slices.
Blue Cheese: Embrace the funk. The “moldy” blues might scare some people but if it wasn’t good they wouldn’t make an entire dressing to celebrate it! Oh how I love blue cheese. My grandmother used to cook it with so many things! I love blue cheese paired with cherry tomatoes. If you want something milder and sweeter try Gorgonzola cheese.
Sheep Cheese: Haven’t heard of it? You are really missing out! Being that I am from Spain I grew up with Manchego cheese on every sandwich, salad, cheese platter… Manchego everywhere! Look for “curado” or “aged” for a stronger sharper cheese. Aged Manchego is firm and salty while the young milder Manchego is softer and sweeter (great for grilled cheese sandwiches).
Triple Creme Cheese: Say hello to my favorite cheese! Brie! This cheese is ultra rich and its triple cream cousins will melt in your mouth they are so delicious! Triple cream usually means around 75% butterfat but the Brie comes in at a leaner 45%. Do yourself a favor and don’t get reduced fat versions; they are rubbery and not as decadent.
How to put together a good platter? Grab a variety of each cheese and find something to pair it with. Not every cheese should be eaten with crackers so it’s ok to serve alongside fruit (grapes), bread, or nuts.