People often ask me what kind of cheese they should include on a cheese plate for dinner parties. Cheese is a simple item and should be enjoyed in a simple manner. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing more enjoyable after a meal at a fine restaurant than an exquisite cheese cart, but you would never find a grandmother in Savoie, France, serving a full cheese cart to her family after supper. What you would find is a selection of perfectly aged cheeses from farms and creameries from around her home.
Like the French grandmother, you shouldn't be intimidated or worried about what type of cheese is served, so long as it's fresh. However, preparing a cheese board with a theme is always nice. The cheeses you serve should have some kind of progression.
Start your plate with the mildest cheeses. Fresh or very young goat cheeses are usually a good place to start. Then move up to stronger and older cheeses. Always finish with the blues. Blue cheese will overpower most other cheeses and take away from their full potential. My favorite go-to, no-fail cheese plate is as follows:
1) Fresh or young surface ripened goats (Bonne Bouche, Selles-sur-cher, Stackhouse)
2) Bloomy rind cow cheese (Brie, Camembert, Green Hill)
3) Natural rind sheep cheese (Piedmont, Singing Brook, Ossau-Iraty)
4) Washed rind cheese (Époisse, Trefoil, Livarot)
5) Blue (Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola, etc.)
Of course, this is just one example. You and your cheesemonger could come up with a million different ones. Maybe a lateral cheddar tasting, or all goats, French, Spanish or American cheeses on a plate.
Finally, always remember to add in some jams, dried fruits or honey. I prefer chutneys and dried fruits with my plates rather than fresh fruits which, to me, have too much acidity and don't play off the cheese well. So, in short, have fun with it! Don't let the cheese plate be an area of stress in your life. If all else fails, pick one great cheese, a fig jam and some bread and enjoy.
Laugh with your friends, drink plenty of wine, and you and your guests will remember it as the best cheese you've ever had.
Tim is a former cop who now hangs out behind the cheese counter at Star Provisions, where he's the cheese and specialty buyer.
Following up on the PG/FSB thread: First, I'm a native Atlantan, and I loved Chef…
I'm really disappointed at Mr. Bostock's less than fair review of Lips Atlanta. It sounds…
Were there sliders?
Straight people be havin' kids and goin' to church. You seen this, you heard about…
RIP Hollywood HOTS...Backstreet...etc... This town used to swing...and strut...now it shuffles. A 24 hr. moveable…
PG - you could offer to help them instead of critiquing them, since you seem…