This post is sort I started this blog for. I love to talk about the things I love, and I love me a good cheese plate.
If we go to a restaurant and see a cheese or charcuterie or bread platter on the menu, we order it. I love being able to try bites of several different things, to see the combinations that chefs build, and they’re just so pretty.
They’re great for parties, of course, but I also enjoy having a cheese plate for dinner. It makes the whole meal feel fancy with really very little work. There’s no cooking necessary, and all of these things can be had from your local grocery store (everything in these photos came from Publix).
Internet!research produced a few (borrowed) guidelines, which I am calling the Bear and Bug Eats Method to Impressing Your Guests and/or the Best Fancy Dinner For Two.
Building a DIY Cheese Platter
- Choose 3-5 different kinds of cheese. Try: An aged cheese, a hard cheese, a goat cheese, a soft/semi-soft cheese, and a blue cheese.
- Add some non-cheese items. Try: Bread and crackers, grapes or other fruit, pickles or other briny things, charcuterie.
That’s it! Seriously. Does it seem too easy? If you, like me, desire more structure, here’s some explanation.
- The bread and crackers provide a vehicle for the cheese (cheeeese). The other items are for contrast. Briny pickles and spicy mustard provide interest and cut the richness, as do grapes or other fruits. This was the first time I’d had grapes with cheese and I LOVED the combination.
- More is not necessarily better–you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with choices. I had my doubts, but 3-5 cheeses are plenty.
- Go plain cheese, no extra flavors. I accidentally broke this rule with the flavored goat cheese (in the bottom right of the photo), but the reason is that when you’re having this much cheese, you want to really taste and contrast the cheeses themselves, not any additives.
- Prosciutto and other meats are optional, but they’re fun to use for building tiny gourmet sandwiches.
- Depending on how big the cheeses are, you may have leftovers. Darn.
The platter in these photos was actually far more elaborate than it needed to be–I got a bit carried away in the deli aisle–but it was pretty delicious.
Cheeses, clockwise-ish from the center top: Roquefort (the blue), aged cheddar, mozzarella with basil, goat cheese with chives and cucumber, pecorino romano, brie.
Extras, clockwise from the top left: Cuban bread, red grapes, stone-ground Dijon, more bread, soppressata, pepperoni, blueberries, prosciutto.
Bear and Bug recommend: With cheese, one wants wine! The best wine is, of course, one that you love. However, if you don’t know what you want, go for a sparkling white like the Rondel Brut Cava. It’s light, fruity, and has bubbles, which provide another clean, tasty contrast to the richness of all of the cheeeeese.
Go forth! Impress your friends at your next grown-up party. Feel like a queen (or king) while dining in front of the TV. Go cheese!
If serving as an appetizer, use 3-4 ounces of cheese per person. If the platter is the main event, use 6-8 ounces per person.
Choose 3-5 different kinds of cheese. Try: An aged cheese, a hard cheese, a goat cheese, a soft/semi-soft cheese, and a blue cheese.
Add 1-2 types of bread or crackers.
Add 1-2 sweet things. Try: Grapes, preserves, dried fruit, candied nuts, honey.
Add 1-3 salty things. Try: Cornichon pickles, olives, cured meats, spicy mustard.
An hour before serving, take cheese from fridge. Slice any that need to be sliced. Allow cheese to come to room temperature.
Arrange with other items on a large plate or platter.
Accept your due praise. Devour.